In this essay I raise the problem of how Critical Theory can deal with the antimundane. To do so, in part one, I discuss the theological aesthetics of the Swiss German theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar and suggest that, despite its confessional and hieratic features, it can be read as an entry into a postreligious aesthetics. In part two, I consider what such a postreligious aesthetics might involve. In part three I explore the challenges that such aesthetics poses for the work of Jurgen Habermas and draw some possible implications for future forms of Critical Theory. Specifically, I argue that Habermas cannot deal with the sensuous experiences of the antimundane that human beings actually have and that future forms of Critical Theory will need to do so. Whether they can do so using any form of Kantian philosophy is open to serious doubt. But if so, then Critical Theory in the future may need to explore alternatives to Kantianism.
|Title of host publication||Critical theory after Habermas|
|Subtitle of host publication||encounters and departures|
|Place of Publication||Leiden, Netherlands|
|Number of pages||22|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|