I’d like to clue those of you who are interested in secularization into a website that’s extremely informative. It’s a site recording a recent gathering of famous philosophers, including Juergan Habermas, Charles Taylor, Judith Butler, and Cornel West. I can’t remeber the occasion of this conference (all that information is on the first recording with Habermas), but it’s a great resource, whatever the occassion was.
I’d like to eventually add some commentary on the whole conference, especially Taylor and Habermas’ ideas. Other than a couple introductory comments below, I’d say simply listen to these people for yourself. I personally think that, as always, Charles Taylor and Cornel West are the most immediately accessible speakers, so perhaps listen to them first.
With regard to Taylor (always my favorite on this subject), he especially is interested in re-defining secularization. He wants to forget about that understanding of the concept that holds that secularization is an, if not the, anti-religion. Rather, as a good Democratic ethicist, he’s interested in breaking the external control of any power-structure, including anti-religions, and trying to give persons the rights and abilities to think by themselves for the common good. This last point is especially important, not necessarily for this particular conversation, but for Taylor in general; his dedication to the common good and what it means to live the good life separate him always from the rest of the Democratic pack.