Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain Large Grant: 'Educational Philosophy for a Post-secular Age

Project: Research Fellowship

Project Details


This research project involves the completion of a monograph entitled ‘Educational Philosophy for a Post-secular Age’. The book explores the significance of the post-secular turn in philosophy, theology, and religious studies for educational theory. Like the term ‘postmodern’, there are many conceptual issues with the framing of the ‘post-secular’. Firstly, have we ever really been secular? Some philosophers suggest that the secular and the emergence of the post-secular reflect a rather Western Christian conception of being religious, a conception that too readily allows for the division of the public and private. Some religious cultures would find this distinction problematic or even meaningless. This conceptual confusion arises in part because we have a view of religion as having faith in a set of doctrines or truth claims. Again this is a rather limited view of what it means to be religious.
The post-secular age acknowledges that religion has an ongoing important influence on culture and on education particularly. Straightforward secularization theories have to be reexamined in light of what some scholars have called the ‘return of religion’. Furthermore, critical thinking itself must be uncoupled from assumptions around secularization. I will suggest that the post-secular gives form to the spaces between the secular and the confessional, avoiding any simplistic notion of a return of traditional patterns of religious life. As Habermas put it, “a postsecular self-understanding of society as a whole (is one) in which the vigorous continuation of religion in a continually secularizing environment must be reckoned with.” Post-secularism complicates rather than denies the secularization thesis.
The grant runs from 1st October until Christmas 2015. I would like to express my thanks to PESGB and Liverpool Hope University for the generous support for this project.
Short titlePESGB
Effective start/end date1/10/1518/12/15


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