Sharing Jonathan Sheehan’s aversion to discourse that perpetuates the “ideological conflict” between secular and religious teleology, Vincent Pecora, in “A brief note on teleology,” offers two major observations in connection with the “post secularization” discussion:
First, by insisting that I do not regard a “fully secularized world” as a telos worth pursuing, I am hardly throwing out the baby of teleology with the bathwater of secularism. I believe, as I think Kant did, that our brains are hard-wired to think in terms of purposes, goals, ends, and (even on occasion) final ends—though, as I have observed elsewhere, Kracauer’s late notion of “the last things before the last” is for me a preferable formulation. . . . But the second point I want to make is that, pace Reynolds and his Straussian-Lillaesque line of reasoning, I wonder about the consequences of concluding that any human telos must come from outside human being and human history, as some of his scholarly subjects once claimed.
In particular, Pecora argues that our “perennial dissatisfactions with civilization”—and especially with purely economic answers to the question of “what ends we mean”—inevitably keeps teleology rooted in the debate. To conclude, Pecora cautions that attaching any notion of “secularism fulfilled” to prevailing ideologies would simply (and more aptly) indicate “hubris fulfilled.”