Is the Modern Age a New Axial Age?

Tuesday, 11 June 2013, 4:30pm - 6:00pm, IWM library
Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age and Robert Bellah’s Religion in Human Evolution have fostered the revival of metanarratives or Master Narratives after the post-modern disillusionment with metarécits and the too hasty statements about the alleged End of History. Behind this revival, one can detect the wish to reawaken the discussion on the meaning of great historical transitions (such as secularization or modernization), whose sense appears much more obscure and uncertain today than it did only few decades ago. Given that a renewal of the old unilinear and teleological philosophies of history seems implausible and not particularly promising nowadays, how can this return to macro-history be justified and would this lead to a radical change in our understanding of the historical significance of the modern Western project?

Paolo Costa is Director of the CSSR (Higher Institute for Religious Studies) and Permanent Researcher at the Fondazione Bruno Kessler in Trento; currently he is Visiting Fellow at the IWM.

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