Rethinking Conflict and Consensus: Habermas and Rawls on Religion

GT 1.7 Política, agonismo y deliberación : el lugar del conflicto y el consenso en las democracias contemporáneas

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Sesión 1
Día: jueves,19 de septiembre de 2013
Hora: 11:45 a 14:15
Lugar: E10SEM04

This paper examines the resources provided by Habermas’s and Rawls’s own political theories for rethinking their senses of political conflict and its liberal, consensual resolution. It does so by focusing on neglected themes in their treatments of religious conflict. That is, rather than considering their much-discussed attempts to accommodate religions within a secular consensus, the paper shows how the neglected notions of ‘translation’ in Habermas and ‘conjecture’ in Rawls imply radical revisions to the consensus-based frameworks for managing conflict that they both otherwise envision. For, crucially, both notions attribute to citizens of modern liberal societies the peculiar task of transforming religious into shareable terms of political justification, a task that – in contrast with Habermas’s and Rawls’s claims elsewhere – treats religions as forms of political reasoning that can engage with other, non-religious forms. The paper argues that this task not only implies a more substantial role for religions in political deliberations than Habermas’s and Rawls’s secular frameworks allow, but also introduces significant tensions into their understandings of political conflict and its justificatory resolution in consensus. Most notably, it implies that the form and content of political consensus are dynamic and contingent, not predetermined or constrained by ‘liberal’ presuppositions, and that any political deliberation has a certain ‘religious’ character, in its ‘faith’ in the prospect of consensual conflict resolution. By analyzing and developing these implications, then, the paper will show how they can be used to formulate a sense of political conflict and consensus distinct from the secular, formal and circumscribed ones that Habermas and Rawls otherwise endorse.

Palabras clave: Conflict, consensus, religion, democracy, Habermas, Rawls