Habermas on Social Integration

I furthermore regard the function of self-understanding as vital, for this was always coupled with a socially integrative function. This was the case as long as religious world views and metaphysical doctrines stabilized the collective identities of religious communities. But even after the end of the ‘Age of World-Views,’ the pluralized and individualized self-understanding of citizens retains an integrative element in modern societies. Since the secularization of state authority, religion can no longer meet the requirement of legitimizing political rule. As a result, the burden of integrating citizens shifts from the level of social to the level of political integration, and this means: from religion to the fundamental norms of the constitutional state, which are rooted in a shared political culture. These constitutional norms, which secure the remainder of collective background consent, draw their persuasive power from the repeatedly renewed philosophical argumentation of the rational law tradition and political theory.

"Critique and Communication: Philosophy's Missions - a Conversation with Jürgen Habermas," Eurozine - http://bit.ly/1OazFb2. An insightful interview that provides a concise summary of Habermas's conception of the philosophical task today. An open set of questions arises from the integrative capacity of his account of hermeneutics. Moreover, part of the difficulty arises from his oversimplified opposition between religious and philosophical systems of thought.