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Moderate Inclusivism and the Conversational Translation Proviso: Revising Habermas' Ethics of Citizenship

Jonas Jakobsen

Abstract

Habermas’ ‘ethics of citizenship’ raises a number of relevant concerns about the dangers of a secularistic exclusion of religious contributions to public deliberation, on the one hand, and the dangers of religious conflict and sectarianism in politics, on the other. Agreeing largely with these concerns, the paper identities four problems with Habermas’ approach, and attempts to overcome them: (a) the full exclusion of religious reasons from parliamentary debate; (b) the full inclusion of religious reasons in the informal public sphere; (c) the philosophical distinction between secular and religious reasons; and (d) the sociological distinction between ‘Western’ and ‘non-Western’ religions. The result is a revised version of the ethics of citizenship, which I call moderate inclusivism. Most notably, moderate inclusivism implies a replacement of Habermas’ ‘institutional translation proviso’ with a more flexible ‘conversational translation proviso’.   

Keywords

Habermas; Religion in the Public Sphere; The Ethics of Citizenship; Deliberative democracy

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