The Unprecedented Return of Saint Paul in Contemporary Philosophy
The conceptual relationship between crisis (krisis) and critique (krinein) in post-Kantian philosophy, pronounced most forcefully by Husserl in the opening lectures of The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, is well known to most readers of contemporary philosophy. ‘The difficulty that has plagued human psychology’, Husserl writes, ‘[and] not just in our time but for centuries — its own peculiar ‘crisis’ —… leads [us] back to the enigma of subjectivity itself and thus is inseparably bound to the enigma of psychological subject matter and method ’ (Husserl, 1970). The question I will turn to in this discussion is whether the contemporary crisis announced under the term of the ‘post-secular’, referring in this sense to the decline of scientific method and the return of something akin to a ‘faith position’ expressed by certain contemporary philosophies, is remarkably different than the earlier crisis between the humanistic disciplines — including modern philosophy (Geisteswissenschaften) — and the positivistic sciences announced by Husserl in 1936 and, even earlier, the crisis between faith and reason during the period of the Enlightenment? In taking up this question — What’s this postsecular crisis all about? — I will turn to examine the writings of the contemporary French philosopher Alain Badiou around the somewhat emblematic figure of Saint Paul.
KeywordsPure Element Subjective Form Contemporary Philosophy Transcendental Phenomenology Humanistic Discipline
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