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Title: Fides and secularity : an analysis of Charles Taylor and beyond
Author: Di Somma, Emilio
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 4958
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2016
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The focus of this thesis is demonstrating how the conceptual difference between secularity and religion is a foundational presupposition of the modern academic and political discourse. The thesis will focus on a critical analysis of Charles Taylor's philosophical work, particularly A Secular Age. Taylor's work is a telling example of how the current academic discourse about religion and secularity describes the two phenomena as radically different, two different “states of existence” that appeal to different contents of human consciousness. Taylor's philosophy has to rely on a fundamental presupposition of reality, so that he can describe the history of Western civilization as an unavoidable epistemic gain that has reached its peak with the development of the modern understanding of the world. Despite his attempt to develop a “positive” story to explain the development of secularity, Taylor has to rely on a moment of “loss” to make sense of his historical narrative. In the second part of thesis, I will present the argument that the concept of “faith” can be understood as a fundamental form of relation that connects individuals and societies to an ontology of the world. In pre-modern societies, the concept was understood as a normative source for the ethical and existential understanding of a society in both religious and nonreligious contexts, not just as a mystical connection to a transcendental source of truth. With modernity, the understanding of the concept has changed. However, this different understanding has not been followed by a disappearance of the attitude of “faith” in non-religious contexts. The “attitude of faith” can be understood as the fundamental connection a society/civilization establishes with its Weltaanschauung, its metaphysical world-view. More than being a “religious” connection to the transcendent, faith would be the form of connection through which human beings substantiate the ultimate nature of their claims.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Secularism ; Faith