Communication and Eschatology: The Work of Waiting, an Ethics of Relief, and Areligious Religiosity


  • Ramsey Eric Ramsey

    1. Ramsey Eric Ramsey is author of The Long Path to Nearness and teaches courses in the philosophy of communication and ethics at Arizona State University West in Phoenix.
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  • The aurhor's first attempts to fbcus the ideas for this essay occurred while on an invited visit uirh the Faculty (1.t Philosophy at the University ojSeville, Seville, Spain. The author uwukd like to thank all those at the University of Seville who discussed these ideas with him, and in particular, his host, Professor Maria Avelina Cecilia. The author also acknowledges the insights of Diane Gruber.


This article begins from an understanding of critical theory as being in need of something. The arguments made here develop a series of related concepts — the work of waiting, an ethics of relief, and areligious religiosity — that begin to address this need at the heart of critical theory. Built around a series of philosophical circumscriptions that sketch the outlines of these concepts, I argue that to participate in the radical continuation of the Enlightenment we need to return to an unlikely place — religion. To achieve this return, I offer an explication of Heidegger's address, The Principle of Reason (1996), focusing on his discussion of calculative reason, and Freud's Future of an lllusion (1961). This gives the vital context for understanding the various meanings comported by the metaphor of an ethics of relief. In light of this, I demonstrate that there is a space reserved for these ideas within contemporary critical theory as represented by the discourse ethics of Habermas. By intersecting the position I develop with two points in Habermas's work, I show that the concepts of the work of waiting, an ethics of relief, and areligious religiosity can begin a response to the need identified at the heart of critical theory.