Symposium 20 (1):32-51 (2016)

Taylor’s landmark work, A Secular Age, tells a complex story about the fate of religion in the West over the past 500 years. Taking issue with an overly-simplistic secularization theory, Taylor portrays a cultural landscape that, rather than speeding the withering of religion, has instead proliferated a dizzying array of spiritual options. This pluralistic reality places “cross-pressure” on those who inhabit these spiritual positions, fragilizing them through exposure to other lived possibilities. The widely adopted modern value of authenticity increases this pressure, encouraging people to carve out their own unique spiritual path and to eschew traditional, ‘spoon-fed’ answers to life’s existential questions. Yet what remains throughout these modern challenges to religion, says Taylor, is the quintessentially human quest for meaning, and the struggle against a modern nihilism that threatens to deny it. In this contested space, he suggests, humanity’s religious past is being called into an as yet unimagined future.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  Continental Philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 1917-9685
DOI 10.5840/symposium20162013
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,784
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Authenticity: Existential Virtue Or Platonic Ideal?Mindi Torrey - 2007 - Florida Philosophical Review 7 (1):16-26.
Charles Taylor, a Secular Age. [REVIEW]Arto Laitinen - 2010 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (3):353-355.
Authentic Identities.Andrew J. Pierce - 2015 - Social Theory and Practice 41 (3):435-457.
Who Are We?: Modern Identities Between Taylor and Foucault.Allison Weir - 2009 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (5):533-553.
Authenticity and Constructivism in Education.Laurance J. Splitter - 2009 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 28 (2):135-151.


Added to PP index

Total views
15 ( #683,604 of 2,463,157 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #179,109 of 2,463,157 )

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes