Sarah Allen

Sarah Allen teaches philosophy at Concordia University. She is the author of, most recently, The Philosophical Sense of Transcendence: Levinas and Plato on Loving Beyond Being (Duquesne University Press, forthcoming), Levinas: Philosophy and Responsibility (Zeta Books, 2007), and "Loving the Good Beyond Being: The Paradoxical Sense of Levinas's 'Return' to Platonism," in Studia Phenomenologica (2007).

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Friday, May 7th, 2010

Casting away our crutches

The various essays on A Secular Age gathered in Michael Warner, Jonathan VanAntwerpen and Craig Calhoun’s Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age raise a host of important and interesting questions with respect to Taylor’s account of secularism: Do we really need recourse to a notion of transcendence that takes us beyond the immanence of natural and human life in order to re-enchant our world? What kind of history—or, perhaps better put, story or narrative—of secularism is Taylor offering us? Can one properly define Western secularism in isolation from explicit consideration of the West’s encounters and intertwining with non-Western cultures?

What I think is most intriguing, however, about this book is how it unfolds as a dialogue between various visions of secularism informed by different background beliefs, thus illustrating the very kind of interaction between different options of belief and non-belief that characterizes secularism itself according to Taylor.

Read the rest of Casting away our crutches.