While maintaining a stance of "methodical atheism," Habermas' work also exhibits a positive appreciation for many dimensions of the Judeo-Christian religious heritage, especially its moral and ethical dimensions. Habermas' critical appreciation of religious tradition is in continuity with his "Frankfurt School" forebears, who took religion to be integral to modern social and cultural evolution. Religion must be studied, they felt, because it can both display forms of pathological socialization and yet be a resource for a critique of, and eventual emancipation from, such a repressive reality. After exploring key writings of the first generation of critical theorists on the social relevance of religion, the seminar will culminate in an in-depth study of Jurgen Habermas' contribution to this discussion.
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