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The malaise of modernity

I was delighted to discover that one of my all time favourite lectures has been uploaded to YouTube in its original form. The 1991 Tanner Lectures by Charles Taylor were the basis for his Ethics of Authenticity, in which he investigates those “features of our contemporary culture which people feel very very worried about even as they seem to flow from the development of our civilisation”.

The intellectual legacy of Charles Taylor: securing the vantage point of (historical) philosophical anthropology

My notes on MacIntyre, A. (2018). Charles Taylor and dramatic narrative: Argument and genre. Philosophy & Social Criticism, 44(7), 761-763. This short reflection by Alasdair MacIntyre, one of my favourite philosophers, concerns the intellectual legacy of Charles Taylor, undoubtedly my favourite. He stresses how the reputation of Taylor would have been ensured by his […]

Subtraction stories and social change

The closest thing I have to an historiographical principle is to always be suspicious of what Charles Taylor calls ‘subtraction stories’. While he uses the concept to refer to congratulatory stories of rational emancipation in which human beings have gradually dispensed with myths and illusions that served to limit them, it […]

Some notes on naturalism

Much of Charles Taylor’s work has, in effect, been variations upon a theme. This was an overriding concern to argue against the understanding of “human life and action” implicit in an influential “family of theories in the sciences of man” as he puts it in the Philosophical Papers volume 2 (all references […]

Poetry and resonance

In his recent book of essays Charles Taylor discusses poetry and resonance. This reflects his long standing interest in how “speech, linguistic expression, makes things exist for us in a new mode, one of awareness or reflection” (pg 56). What does this mean? It is a rejection of the view that […]

The Reflexive Imperative and Shaping a Life

In the previous post of this series I explored Archer’s arguments about relational reflexivity: on this view the socialisation process should be understood as an active and ongoing engagement by a individual that is profoundly shaped by the matrix of relations within which they were embedded at any given point in time. There are […]