Freedom and Reason: Habermas' Critique of KierkegaardMaeve Cooke (University College Dublin), Maeve Cooke (University College Dublin)
Online Lecture: 'Freedom and Reason: Habermas' Critique of Kierkegaard
In his recent, two volume book Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie, Habermas engages critically with Kierkegaard’s view of reason. Kierkegaard sees reason as operating within human history, while at the same time possessing a transcending power that intervenes into the historical process. This power enables human subjects to act autonomously, liberating them to a mode of freedom that consists in ‘being-able-to-be-oneself’. Habermas endorses Kierkegaard’s concern to maintain the transcending power of reason, as experienced by finite subjects within human history. However, he distances himself from his interpretation of existentially experienced truth as the authenticity of a life of religious faith lived in passionate devotion. Rejecting his interpretation of the transcending power of reason as the power of a personal God, Habermas offers a secular, linguistified reading of reason. On his secular reading, the ethical individual is offered not redemption but a postmetaphysical way out of its despairing isolation in self-referential inwardness. I reject both Habermas’ secular interpretation of the transcending power that liberates humans to be-able-to-be-themselves and Kierkegaard’s religious one.
January 12, 2021, 6:45pm CET
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