Religious Moral Languages, Secularity, and Hermeneutical Injustice

Gorazd Andrejc*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    As a philosophical approach to public moral discourse in a religiously plural society, Jeffrey Stout’s “modest pragmatism” has received a mixed response from the opposite sides of the secularism debate. While many political theologians and communitarians claim that Stout concedes too much to the secularists, some secularists, on the other hand, find Stout’s inclusive approach towards religious reasonings in public discourse all too “theological.” This essay offers a re-examination and further analysis of modest pragmatism in the light of recent work in epistemology of democracy (especially Anderson’s interpretation of Dewey’s inclusive and experimental democracy), and discourse ethics based on Jose Medina’s theory of hermeneutical (in)justice. I argue that Stout’s normative vision of public moral discourse is persuasive only if certain principles which Stout either affirms or presupposes – a strong principle of religious freedom, a democratic principle of inclusion and a principle to settle disputes discursively and not violently – are placed in its center and developed further than they have been in Stout’s own work. This also means that I apply Medina’s theory of hermeneutical (in)justice to the question which it does not address, namely: how can and should different religious languages be included in public moral deliberation? The result is a new and stronger variant of the modest pragmatist vision of public moral discourse, and a renewed argument for a qualified secularity of such discourse.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPast and Present Political Theology
    Subtitle of host publicationExpanding the Canon
    EditorsDennis Vanden Auweele, Miklos Vassányi
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)9780367808907
    ISBN (Print)9780367407551
    Publication statusPublished - 24-Apr-2020

    Publication series

    Name Routledge New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology and Biblical Studies


    • Religious Plurality
    • Democracy
    • Hermeneutical Injustice
    • pragmatism
    • Philosophy of Religion
    • secularity
    • secularisation
    • Religion

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