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The Future of Religion

The Future of Religion

Richard Rorty
Gianni Vattimo
Edited by Santiago Zabala
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    The Future of Religion
    Book Description:

    Though coming from different and distinct intellectual traditions, Richard Rorty and Gianni Vattimo are united in their criticism of the metaphysical tradition. The challenges they put forward extend beyond philosophy and entail a reconsideration of the foundations of belief in God and the religious life. They urge that the rejection of metaphysical truth does not necessitate the death of religion; instead it opens new ways of imagining what it is to be religious -- ways that emphasize charity, solidarity, and irony. This unique collaboration, which includes a dialogue between the two philosophers, is notable not only for its fusion of pragmatism (Rorty) and hermeneutics (Vattimo) but also for its recognition of the limits of both traditional religious belief and modern secularism.

    In "Anticlericalism and Atheism" Rorty discusses Vattimo's work Belief and argues that the end of metaphysics paves the way for an anti-essentialist religion. Rorty's conception of religion, determined by private motives, is designed to produce the gospel's promise that henceforth God will not consider humanity as a servant but as a friend. In "The Age of Interpretation," Vattimo, who is both a devout Catholic and a frequent critic of the church, explores the surprising congruence between Christianity and hermeneutics in light of the dissolution of metaphysical truth. As in hermeneutics, interpretation is central to Christianity, which introduced the world to the principle of interiority, dissolving the experience of objective reality into "listening to and interpreting messages."

    The lively dialogue that concludes this volume, moderated and edited by Santiago Zabala, analyzes the future of religion together with the political, social, and historical aspects that characterize our contemporary postmodern, postmetaphysical, and post-Christian world.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50910-7
    Subjects: Philosophy, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Santiago Zabala
  4. Introduction A Religion Without Theists or Atheists
    (pp. 1-28)
    Santiago Zabala

    Contrary to the polytheism of antiquity, when gods did not manifest themselves without mediators, the Christian God donated his word directly to the community of the believers, instituting not only the “Age of the World-Picture” but also that of “two cultures,” the quarrel between science and religion that divided the culture of the West into opposing sides: the natural and human sciences, atheism and theism, analytic and continental philosophy. Today, at the end of this epoch, we are witnessing the dissolution of philosophical theories such as positivist scientism and marxism that thought they had definitively liquidated religion. After modernity, there...

  5. 1 Anticlericalism and Atheism
    (pp. 29-42)
    Richard Rorty

    Some day, intellectual historians may remark that the twentieth century was the one in which the philosophy professors began to stop asking bad questions—questions like “What really exists?” “What are the scope and limits of human knowledge?” and “How does language hook up with reality?” These questions assume that philosophy can be done ahistorically. They presuppose the bad idea that inspection of our present practices can give us an understanding of the “structure” of all possible human practices.

    “Structure” is just another word for “essence.” The most important movements in twentieth-century philosophy have been anti-essentialist. These movements have mocked...

  6. 2 The Age of Interpretation
    (pp. 43-54)
    Gianni Vattimo

    The philosophical truth of hermeneutics, namely its claim to be a more “valid” thought than other philosophies—for example, to be a more “truthful” philosophy than neo-empiricism or historical materialism, et cetera—evidently cannot be maintained on the basis of a description of what, according to it, the state of affairs really is. That, as Nietzsche writes, “there are no facts, only interpretations,” is not an objective, metaphysical proposition. This proposition too is “only” an interpretation. If one reflects on the meaning of this statement, one realizes how much hermeneutics has (in deed) changed the reality of things and transformed...

  7. Dialogue What is Religion’s Future After Metaphysics?
    (pp. 55-82)
    Richard Rorty, Gianni Vattimo and Santiago Zabala
  8. List of Contributors
    (pp. 83-84)
  9. Index
    (pp. 85-92)