For Ulrich Beck, the Enlightenment project aimed to subordinate religious truth to the authority of reason in questions of the true and the good, and thus to replace religious conflict with peace. Although the ‘First Modernity’ delivered risks like climate change rather than progress like peace, Beck discerns signs of hope for the Enlightenment project in the processes of individualisation and cosmopolitanisation. I argue, first, that Beck exaggerates his claims about the relative influence of tradition on religion and reason; second, that his cosmopolitanisation thesis fails to identify triggers for a paradigm conversion; third, that the thesis relies upon essentialist commitments of the kind he condemns; and finally, that only the classicist view of essentialism is vulnerable to his attack.
Field of Research
229999 Philosophy and Religious Studies not elsewhere classified