In light of ubiquitous states of conflict and crisis in pluralistic societies, academic debates of philosophy have mostly agreed on the conviction that questions of “the right way of life” belong to the sphere of private decisions and, hence, are unsolvablein principle. By now it is a central feature of modern ethics, that there are no objective standards for the assessment of individual ways of life. To come up with such standards is widely considered to be a first step towards an oppressive understanding of general rules of conduct. Therefore, the factual diversity of forms of life is handled by a deliberate pragmatistic-agnostic restraint.
However, considering the fact that in public dialog many conflicts of society are indeed understood as conflicts of different forms of life, philosophy – by adopting such a neutrality – might lose its relevance as a participant in processes of cultural self-reflection. These conflicts are quite often understood as conflicts between religious and non-religious forms of life. The main goal of this research project is to contribute to understanding these conflicts by developing a new approach to the critique of religious forms of life. Central to our research is the current debate on the very concept of forms of life. By providing a solution to the problem of individuation and evaluation of forms of life, the aim of the project will be to assess forms of life on specific standards of rationality. Whether these standards of critique of forms of life should be of internal or of external nature, remains to be seen.