Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Sam Fleischacker"

Titel: Making Secular Sense of the Sacred
Autor: Sam Fleischacker
Seite: 25-29

From the earliest days of social science, in the writings of David Hume and Adam Smith, it has been difficult to make secular sense of the notion of sacredness in terms that believers in that notion can recognize as what they mean by it - social scientists instead tend almost universally to treat it as the consequence of an illusion of some kind. This paper explores the sources of that difficulty, arguing that it is built into the assumptions that make social science a science at all. It also argues that treating a category so central to the moral thinking of millions of people as resulting from an illusion breeds attitudes of condescension that are morally problematic. Using themes to be found especially in Kant, the paper proposes a way for social scientists to treat the category of sacredness with respect for moral purposes even while maintaining the presuppositions, for the purposes of their scientific work, that lead them to try to explain it away.

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Sacred Values Today
2017 (39) Heft 1

Religion captures our attention nearly every day, even if more often now in the form of religious terrorism. Christians are struck by the difference in belief and attitudes manifested in Islamic cultures and politics. Observers also are speechless how the Jewish religion is used to instigate and justify, within a democratic society, the aggressive occupation of foreign land. And even among the core countries of ’Western secularist enlightenment’ in Europe and the US, religion seems to underg...

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