Home > No 0 (2012): January-June: 97-119 > Davis

Habermas's Expressivist Theology: Chalice Half-Full?

Felmon John Davis


The article addresses the question of the respect owed to believers and their faiths and states that a demand for respect for the person of the believer does not imply a demand for respect for their faith. However, being 'respect' a complex and ambiguous notion, the article studies some arguments that go in the direction of justifying the move from respect for persons to respect for their beliefs. According to Habermas, there is a respect citizens of a democracy owe each other that requires taking each other's opinions seriously, including their religiously motivated opinions. What is more, Habermas claims that we all have something to learn from each other. The articles argues against this line of thought and states there is no obligation to respect anything about people's moral claims except their right to make them. The article argues against Habermas's approach by showing its epistemological and ontological inconsistency and concludes that respect for persons as moral reason-givers or as fellow-citizens does not lead to any substantial respect for the contents of their claims.


respect, secular citizens vs. religious citizens, Habermas, religion

Full Text:



Blackburn, Simon (2007), “Religion and Respect”, Philosophers Without Gods, edited by Louise Antony. OUP.

Berlin, Isaiah (1969), Four Essays on Liberty, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Bloomfield, Paul (2001), Moral Reality, New York, NY, Oxford UP.

Craig, W. L. (2009), “Opening Statement by William Lane Craig”, Is Goodness Without God Good Enough?, Garcia and King, eds. Rowan and Littlefield, Lanham, Md.

Darwall, Stephen (2004), “Respect and the Second-Person Standpoint”, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Association, American Philosophical Association, pp. 43-59.

Forst, R. (2002), Contexts of Justice, tr. J. Farrell, Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press.

Forst, R. (2007), “Toleration”, Online Standard Encyclopedia of Philosophy , original version of February 23, 2007.

Habermas, Jürgen (1995), Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns, Suhrkamp Verlag.

Habermas, Jürgen (1999), “Richtigkeit Versus Wahrheit. Zum Sinn der Sollgeltung moralischer Urteile und Normen”, Wahrheit und Rechtfertigung, Suhrkamp Verlag, pp. 271-319.

Habermas, Jürgen (2001), Glauben und Wissen. Suhrkamp Verlag.

Habermas, Jürgen (2005 a), “Religion in der Öffentlichkeit. Kognitive Voraussetzungen für den 'öffentlichen Vernunftsgebrauch' religiöser und säkularer Bürger”, Zwischen Naturalismus und Religion, Suhrkamp, pp. 119-155.

Habermas, Jürgen (2005 b) Die Zukunft der menschlichen Natur: Auf dem Weg zu einer liberalen Eugenik?, Suhrkamp Verlag, 2005.

Rey, Georges (2001), Meta-atheism: Reasons for Thinking Few People Actually Believe in God, Experience of Philosophy. Eds. Raymond Martin and Daniel Kolak, OUP.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Bookmark and Share

Copyright (c) 2012 Felmon John Davis

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Las Torres de Lucca. Revista Internacional de Filosofía Política

© 2016. Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Biblioteca Complutense | Ediciones Complutense