Thursday, July 24, 2003

Immanuel Kant's notion of "True Liberty" in a Secular State (2)

A gradual transformation, Kant argues, would be achieved through "the will of the world ruler." He states that, "this ruler invisibly binds all together, under a common government, in a state inadequately represented and prepared for in the past through the visible church." Under this condition of "true freedom," he believes that, equality springs up and the degrading distinction between laity and clergy ceases.
To recapitulate, Kant believes that the embedded power of "reason" in individuals within a condition of "true freedom" would make salvation accessible to all. Also, that there should not be any visible church vested with the power over individuals since it violates the requirement of salvation as an inner journey. Accordingly, the state must become merely that invisible power which binds all together to provide the necessary sphere within which individuals would have a chance to flourish: the condition of true freedom.
Kant's assumptions, concerning the existence of a "pure religion" and "moral law," also the ability of individuals to access and discover them through the power of "reason," qualifies him to define an abstract sphere detached from the society within an imaginary vacuum and utopian condition of "true liberty." It is not my goal, however, to challenge these assumptions, but rather to engage the concept of "true liberty" and demonstrate the merits of this secularism's promise.
This condition of true liberty, that is to be established through an invisible force of government, accordingly has to have two main characteristics. First, it needs to be devoid of any predetermined values, including religious ones. Second, no external forces within this sphere should interfere with the inner journey of individuals. Here, I will challenge these two promises of secularism. First, I will historicize the processes through which the concept of public sphere, a sphere in which individual has to be able to experience the condition of "true liberty," has been produced. Second, I will demonstrate the mechanism with which the external power of the secular state interferes with the inner journey of individuals.

(written by Navid)
(posted by Farid)

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