Wednesday, 15 June 2011, 6pm

Campus Westend, Hörsaalzentrum HZ2

Prof. Dr. Charles Taylor (McGill University Montreal)

The Meaning of ,Post-Secular'


The advance of secularity, in the three dimensions which are discussed in Taylor’s book “A Secular Age”, has not been reversed. There is no “postsecular age” in this sense. But what has decisively changed is that the earlier “secularization” narrative, to the effect that modernity must lead to a decline of religion, to the point even possibly of disappearance, has been discredited. The “postsecular” doesn’t refer to a new social condition, but to a changed understanding of our present condition, and even a changed understanding mainly on the part of academics and intellectuals. This changed understanding, however, makes us aware that we need new policies in many areas. So the interesting topic is the changed understanding we need of our secularist regimes which are just as clearly necessary as they always were, but we have
to see them in a new light.



Charles Taylor is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at McGill University, Montreal. Born in 1931 in Canada, he studied at McGill University in Montreal and at Oxford University, where he acquired his Ph.D. in 1961. Charles Taylor taught political philosophy at McGill University from 1961 to 1997. During his academic career, he held several guest professorships, among others at the universities in Oxford and Princeton and at the Goethe University Frankfurt and the Hebrew University Jerusalem.
– Selected recent publications: Dilemmas and Connections: Selected Essays (Harvard University Press, 2011); A Secular Age (Harvard University Press, 2007); Modern Social Imaginaries (Duke University Press, 2004); Varieties of Religion Today: William James Revisited (Harvard University Press, 2002).

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