Las Torres de Lucca. International Journal of Political Philosophy, No 0 (2012): January-June

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.