A Phenomenological Challenge to 'Enlightened Secularism'

Religious Studies 49 (3):377-398 (2013)
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This article challenges Philip Kitcher’s recent proposals for an ‘enlightened secularism’. I use William James’s theory of the emotions and his related discussion of ‘temperaments’ to argue that religious and naturalistic commitments are grounded in tacit, inarticulate ways that one finds oneself in a world. This indicates that, in many cases, religiosity and naturalism are grounded not in rational and evidential considerations, but in a tacit and implicit sense of reality which is disclosed through phenomenological enquiry. Once the foundational role of these temperaments is appreciated, it emerges that enlightened secularism relies upon a facile conception of the nature of religious belief – one that lessens its chances for success. The article ends with some positive proposals for incorporating phenomenological insights into debates about science, religion, and secularism.



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Ian James Kidd
Nottingham University

Citations of this work

Charging Others With Epistemic Vice.Ian James Kidd - 2016 - The Monist 99 (3):181-197.
Late Feyerabend on materialism, mysticism, and religion.Eric C. Martin - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 57:129-136.
Is Naturalism Bleak? A Reply to Holland and Cottingham.Ian James Kidd - 2013 - Environmental Values 22 (6):689-702.

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