Sources of “Public Reason” in Europe: Perspectives from Theological Ethics

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Welcoming the turn toward including normative conceptions of the human into the remit of economics, this paper compares philosophical frameworks that guide principles such as dignity and justice as one source of theological ethics. Recent political crises show the importance of analyzing the public sphere with which Christian ethics in its various approaches interacts. The place given to religions in Rawls’s and Habermas’s concepts of “public reason” is compared with Ricoeur’s understanding of religions as cofounding traditions. They can contribute to a necessary exchange of memories, also of conflict and conquest, inspired by the undelivered hopes of their own founding memories, precluding triumphalism and fostering “intellectual solidarity” (Hollenbach).

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