‘The Resurgence of Religion’ To Be Explored in Castle Lectures

“The Resurgence of Religion: A Challenge to the Secular Self-Under­standing of Modernity” is the theme of the 2008 Castle Lectures being presented by Juergen Habermas, professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Frankfurt, under the auspices of the Program in Ethics, Politics and Economics.

Habermas will deliver three lectures: “The Controversy Over the Secularization Hypothesis and the Role of Religion in a Post-Secular Society,” on Monday, Oct. 6; “The Secular Level of Intercultural Communication in an Emergent, Multicultural World Society,” on Tuesday, Oct. 7; and “On the Self-Understanding of Secular Reason,” on Monday, Oct. 13. The lectures, which are free and open to the public, will take place 4-5:30 p.m. in the Law School auditorium, 127 Wall St. A reception will follow each talk.

Habermas will explore the scope and meaning of “secularization” in a contemporary world still largely influenced by enduring religious commitments. In his lectures, Habermas will argue that in an emerging multicultural global society, the encounter with religion as a contemporary intellectual formation requires secular thought to engage in a serious reflection on its own origins.

Widely regarded as one of the most influential thinkers alive today, Habermas became professor of philosophy and sociology at the University of Frankfurt in 1964. He served as director of the Max Planck Institute for Social Research in Starnberg 1971-1983, and then returned to Frankfurt to resume his chair in philosophy. Since gaining emeritus status at Frankfurt in 1993, Habermas has continued to be a prolific writer and dedicated teacher.

Among his numerous academic distinctions, Habermas has received the Hegel Prize, the Sigmund Freud Prize, the Kyoto Prize for Lifetime Achievement and the Holberg International Memorial Prize. He is doctor honoris causa at the Universities of Jerusalem, Buenos Aires, Hamburg, Utrecht, Tel Aviv, Athens, Northwestern University and the New School for Social Research. He is a member of the German Academy of Language and Poetry.

The Castle Lectures are sponsored by Yale’s Program in Ethics, Politics and Economics. They were endowed by John K. Castle to honor one of his ancestors, the Reverend James Pierpont, who was one of Yale’s original founders. The lectures are intended to promote an awareness of and sensitivity to ethical issues facing individuals in modern American society. The Castle Lectures are published in book form by the Yale University Press.

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