Return of the Spirit and the Demise of Politics

Erdogan Yildirim


After Kant’s strict separation of the fields of pure reason and practical reason and his demonstration that reason cannot know anything apart from phenomena including the existence of God there was a continuous desire to reestablish the unity of both. The most successful attempt in that direction so far was Hegel’s phenomenology of the Spirit where he claimed he succeeded to establish the unity of the two as the Absolute. Yet, even this was problematic for it was the faith itself which supplied the basis of unity while the character of reason (pure insight) was particularity of the self-consciousness. In the late modernity where everything has imploded postmodern theory have successfully destroyed the metanarratives that hold the modernist ideals together. Under these conditions in which the assertion of any kind of subjectivity is impossible there is now a growing interest again in the theories trying to establish the basis of a post-secular society where finally faith and knowledge are hoped to be reconciled and supply a new meaning instead of the lost ones. Particularly the theories developed by Jacques Derrida and Jürgen Habermas try to legitimize the return of the spirit or the ‘religious’ under the aegis of a still secular state. However, such a desire remains problematical as in Hegel’s case for with its totalizing tendency the return of the spirit would tend to eradicate all difference as the basis of conflict and render the effective political action impossible.


return of the religious, secular thinking, post-secular society, faith, reason, politics, enlightenment, subjectivity, the spirit, totality

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