An Inquiry into Habermas’ Institutional Translation Proviso


The task of this paper is to argue against the opponents of Habermas’ institutional translation proviso. The opponents argue against Habermas on the grounds that 1) religious utterances are like cultural differences, ethnic differences and philosophical differences, 2) there are numerous cultures with their distinct religious potential truth contents that are not scientifically demonstrable. The latter argument is based on Occult/Paranormal experiences which are realities of life, hence should be allowed into the public sphere. However, this paper argues that religious utterances as Habermas articulates them are not equiparable to cultural, ethnic and philosophical differences and also that, Occult/Paranormal experiences are restricted to few adepts in it, hence, lacking general accessibility. In mind of our increasingly pluralistic society, there is need for common understanding of religious potential truth contents for general agreement and unity of purpose. Hence, we say that anyone who wants to bring religious potential truth contents into the public sphere seems to have no option other than to translate them into secular language for common understanding. It is based on common understanding that participants in the public sphere enter into a meaningful rational-critical debate resulting in mutual agreement.

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Nweke, C. and Nwoye, C. (2015) An Inquiry into Habermas’ Institutional Translation Proviso. Open Journal of Philosophy, 5, 43-53. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2015.51006.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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