Post-Christian ignorance – Hermeneutical injustice in secular society

À l’occasion de ce premier séminaire de la Chaire pour l’automne 2022, Gilles Beauchamp, candidat au doctorat en philosophie à l’Université McGill, nous présentera une communication intitulée Post-Christian ignorance – Hermeneutical injustice in secular society. Ce séminaire sera utilisé en préparation à la présentation de cette même communication à la conférence Knowledge, Belief and Faith organisé par la British Society for the Philosophy of Religion tenu à l’université d’Oxford du 1er au 3 septembre.

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Voici le résumé de la présentation

In addition to addressing fundamental questions regarding justification, knowledge and disagreement in the religious domain, religious epistemology should also investigate how religions, religious persons and religious beliefs are received and assessed in the public sphere. More precisely, are religious persons received with proper credibility and intelligibility in secular society? Could religious persons be suffering epistemic injustices?

In this talk, I argue that there exists a kind of active ignorance about religion – that I name post-Christian ignorance – that renders the dominant post-Christian subjects in secular societies insensible to alternative understandings of religious experience that does not fit their narrow conceptual resources. Active ignorance is understood here as a kind of hermeneutical injustice that combines inadequate hermeneutical, i.e. conceptual, resources and a vitiated epistemic character. That active ignorance, in blocking proper understanding, is used to maintain privilege and powerful positionality over the religious others through allegedly neutral laws.

In more detail, in the context of Québec laicity law[1], I first argue that conceiving the invisibility of religious identity as an appearance of neutrality and the visibility of religious identity as a failure of an appearance of neutrality is a secular bias that results from inadequate hermeneutical resources and social scripts. Secondly, I argue that failing to see that, by prohibiting (1) objects (2) that are worn by individuals, the law disproportionately burdens religious minorities and gives a structural privilege to the majority whose religious identity is or can be invisible shows vitiated epistemic habits; in particular, it shows closed-mindedness or resistance to new meanings in the religious domain.

[1] I situate my analysis in the context of Québec’s Act respecting the laicity of the state adopted in 2019, but many shared features of secular societies make my analysis transposable, at least partly, to other secular societies.

Ce contenu a été mis à jour le 24 août 2022 à 10 h 14 min.