Secular Imaginaries: Introduction

Author: José Casanova

November 27, 2008

In "Secular Imaginaries: Introduction" José Casanova introduces a series of articles on the writings of sociologist Charles Taylor, specifically A Secular Age. Casanova argues that Taylor's book crafts a secular narrative, dwelling on the changes between 1500 CE and now, where believers must now defend and look beyond their belief in a higher being or transcendence. Taylor argues that modern human society functions so that moving back to our previous beliefs would be considered dangerous and foolhardy. Casanova argues that Taylor provides a coherent secular narrative, tying different views together, but that Taylor's finest work lies in his last chapter, where he reveals the flaws of exclusive humanism, suggesting that humanity will thus turn to some form of transcendence. Casanova also mentions various articles engaging, critiquing, or further developing parts of Taylor's work, with some focusing on case studies, like the United States, India, or Israel, while others look at sociological theories. This article was published in the International Journal ofPolitics, Culture, and Society.

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