This interview with Charles Taylor explores a central concern throughout his work, viz., his concern to confront the challenges presented by the process of ‘disenchantment’ in the modern world. It focuses especially on what is involved in seeking a kind of ‘re-enchantment.' A key issue that is discussed is the relationship of Taylor’s theism to his effort of seeking re-enchantment. Some other related issues that are explored pertain to questions surrounding Taylor’s argument against the standard secularization thesis that views (...) secularization as a process involving the ineluctable fading away of religion. Additionally, the relationship between Taylor’s religious views and his philosophical work is discussed. (shrink)
In this dissertation I examine the topics of ethics, religion, and their relationship in the work of Charles Taylor. I take Taylor's attempt to confront modern disenchantment by seeking a kind of re-enchantment as my guiding thread. Seeking re-enchantment means, first of all, defending an `engaged realist' account of strong evaluation, i.e., qualitative distinctions of value that are seen as normative for our desires. Secondly, it means overcoming self-enclosure and achieving self-transcendence, which I argue should be understood in terms (...) of transcending a `lower' mode of selfhood for a `higher' one in concern for `strong goods'. One of the main issues that Taylor raises is whether re-enchantment requires theism for its full adequacy. He advances - often as `hunches' - controversial claims regarding the significance of theism for defending strong evaluative realism and for motivating an ethic of universal human concern. I seek to fill out his hunches in terms of a theistic teleological perspective that is centered on the `telos of communion'. I argue that such a view is important for overcoming the problem of what Bernard Williams calls the `radical contingency' of ethical beliefs, which seems to undermine their normative authority. However, I argue that if a non-theistic view of cosmic purpose can be regarded as a viable option, then it could also help to address this problem and support a kind of re-enchantment. Taylor also advances the controversial view that there is an ineradicable draw to `transcendence' in human life in connection to the quest for the meaning of life. Here he opposes certain mainstream theories of secularization that see it as a process involving the ineluctable fading away of the relevance of religion. I seek to fill out and defend Taylor's view in this matter. Besides providing a reading of Taylor's work as a whole and advancing further some of the issues he raises, I also examine his general evaluative framework based on his account of strong evaluation. In doing so I show how he provides a distinct and important perspective among contemporary moral philosophers. (shrink)
Explorer les conditions d'une émancipation authentique, aujourd'hui. Depuis la Leçon d'Althusser, qui refuse d'opposer science et idéologie, jusqu'à ses derniers ouvrages sur l'égalité esthétique de nos "temps modernes", Rancière fait de l'égalité des intelligences la condition d'une émancipation politique et existentielle dans laquelle, comme dans un roman, les vies de tous sont ouvertes à chacun.
The aim of this article is to compare the theories of Isaiah Berlin and Charles Taylor with regard to the topic of freedom. I will argue that Berlin’s famous positive-negative distinction still serves an important purpose by maintaining a crucial tension within the concept of liberty. This tension allows ethical pluralism to be taken seriously instead of being covered up by ideological retorics. Berlin held that the implementation of positive liberty – defining the boundaries of true liberty – is (...) always problematic. Taylor, however, tries to by-pass the gap between negative and positive liberty by means of his concept of authenticity. I will argue that this notion is a sound descriptive term for an individual’s entrenchment in community, but that the normative appeal from authenticity amounts to a project of ‘re-sourcing the self’ which is ultimately rooted in an optimist perspective on pluralism and multiculturalism. However, to the extent that there are indeed different communities with different values and different ways of being authentic, it is worthwhile to repeat the Berlinian Grundgedanke that human beings should cope with the inexorable and irreducible tragedy in moral life. (shrink)
Traditionally, the exploration of the impact of trauma on trauma survivors in South Africa has been focused mainly on the bio-psychosocial aspects. The bio-psychosocial approach recognises that trauma affects people biologically, socially and psychologically. In this article, the author explores a holistic understanding of the effects of trauma on people from communities historically affected by political violence in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Using a participatory action research design as a way of working through trauma, a longitudinal study was conducted in Pietermaritzburg (...) from 2009-2013. At the end of the study, life narratives were documented and published. The textual analysis of these life narratives reveals that, besides the bio-psychosocial effects that research participants experienced during and after the trauma, they also sustained moral and spiritual injuries. Trauma took its toll in their lives emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, morally and in their relationships with themselves, others and God. From these findings, the author argues that the bio-psychosocial approach is incomplete for understanding the holistic effects of trauma on the whole person. Therefore, he recommends the integration of the moral and spiritual aspects of trauma to come up with a holistic model of understanding the effects of trauma on traumatised individuals. The holistic model will enhance the treatment, healing and recovery of trauma survivors. This, in turn, will alleviate the severe disruption of many aspects of psychological functioning and well-being of trauma survivors caused by the effects of trauma. (shrink)
Does the practice of psychology make a significant and positive contribution to human welfare and the struggle for a good society? This book presents a reinvigorating look at psychology and its societal purpose, offering a bold new philosophical foundation from which professionals in the field can deeply examine their work.
This is the first comprehensive evaluation of Charles Taylor's work and a major contribution to leading questions in philosophy and the human sciences as they face an increasingly pluralistic age. Charles Taylor is one of the most influential contemporary moral and political philosophers: in an era of specialisation he is one of the few thinkers who has developed a comprehensive philosophy which speaks to the conditions of the modern world in a way that is compelling to specialists in (...) various disciplines. This collection of specially commissioned essays brings together twelve distinguished scholars from a variety of fields to discuss critically Taylor's work. The topics range from the history of philosophy, to truth, modernity and postmodernity, theism, interpretation, the human sciences, liberalism, pluralism and difference. Taylor responds to all the contributions and re-articulates his own views. (shrink)
: Responding to the paper by Miller and Joffe, we review the development of the concept of therapeutic misconception (TM). Our concerns about TM's impact on informed consent do not derive from the belief that research subjects have poorer outcomes than persons receiving ordinary clinical care. Rather, we believe that subjects with TM cannot give an adequate informed consent to research participation, which harms their dignitary interests and their abilities to make meaningful decisions. Ironically, Miller and Joffe's approach ends up (...) largely embracing the very position that they inaccurately attribute to us: the belief that, with some exceptions, it is only the prospect of poorer outcomes that should motivate efforts to dispel TM. In the absence of empirical studies on the steps required to dispel TM and the impact of such procedures on subject recruitment, it is premature to surrender to the belief that TM must be widely tolerated in clinical research. (shrink)
Duhem is known for his criticism of induction and especially of the way Ampère pretends founding electrodynamics. Despite this criticism, they share philosophical commitments: an attempt to destroy essentialism, a renewal of the link between metaphysics and physics, the use of the concept of “natural classification”. Thanks to this concept of “natural classification”, they are both led to a similar structural realism. In their opinion, if metaphysics should not determine physics, there is still room for it. Actually, the hope of (...) a progress toward a natural classification expressing truth may imply – in Duhem’s and Ampère’s works – a kind of providentialism. (shrink)
La philosophie des sciences n'est pas en reste dans la postérité de Kant à laquelle de nombreux savants français ont participé. Tout au long du XIXe siècle, Kant est utilisé pour accentuer le problème de la réalité de nos représentations et pour questionner le fondement des sciences.
In this essay I note some surprisingly deep parallels between the accounts of technology offered by Martin Heidegger and by Kevin Kelly. While Heidegger's insight is panoramic and almost prophetic, and grounded in his reading of the history of philosophy, Kelly's account is grounded in empirical and historical data, driven by a naturalistic and scientific understanding of our world. The similarities between these two authors are surprising in light of their different methodological frameworks and theu antithetical attitudes about the benefits (...) and dangers of technology. After setting them in conversation, I ask: "Who has the correct methodological approach and evaluative attitude toward technology"? With some hesitation, I side with Kelly's more hopeful outlook. (shrink)
Often portrayed as a period bound by the dogma of slavish obedience to the diktats of reason and progress, the Age of Enlightenment is revealed by this profound analysis to have been riddled with skeptical attitudes and characters, even in the Enlightenment's most codified locations, such as Germany. Most philosophers of the period are still widely regarded today as having been dominated by a core triple nexus of optimism, dogmatism and rationalism, and despite a growing body of literature exploring the (...) features of their work that could be regarded as informed by skepticism, this unrivaled survey points up the deficiencies of the former. This volume, then, offers an exploration of the impact of skepticism in both its historic and geographic dimensions, providing readers with a reevaluation of the role played by skepticism itself. The detailed narrative covers every identifiable instance of skepticism in the Eighteenth Century, tracing its influence of thought on major British, French and German philosophers, and including lesser-known figures whose contemporary influence requires their inclusion in a comprehensive study such as this. This volume, then, offers an exploration of the impact of skepticism in both its historic and geographic dimensions, providing readers with a reevaluation of the role played by skepticism itself. The detailed narrative covers every identifiable instance of skepticism in the Eighteenth Century, tracing its influen ce of thought on major British, French and German philosophers, and including lesser-known figures whose contemporary influence requires their inclusion in a comprehensive study such as this. (shrink)
La derni re dition des Lettres sur les animaux, ouvrage de l'encyclop diste mineur Charles-George Le Roy, date de 1896. Cette nouvelle dition propose une pr sentation tr s respecteuse de la pens e originale de l'auteur, elle pr cise dans quelles circonstances les divers l ments du livre furent successivement publi s et retrace son volution depuis les articles HOMME (Morale) et INSTINCT de l'Encyclop die jusqu' l' dition compl te de 1802. L'introduction situe les Lettresdans l'uvre de (...) Le Roy qui, comptant l' criture parmi ses activit s, fut d'autant plus m l aux conflits d'id es de l' poque. Des documents in dits permettent d' tablir avec exactitude combien Le Roy a su mettre profit ses fonctions de lieutenant des chasses des Parcs de Versailles pour exercer ses talents d'auteur. A la lumi re de divers autres documents, et parmi eux des in dits, il appara t que Le Roy fr quentait quelques-uns des penseurs les plus connus de l' poque (Condillac, Buffon, Diderot, Helv tius, d'Holbach), ainsi que des personnalit s de la haute soci t (en particulier Mme de Marchais), deux mondes don't l'influence est perceptible dans les Lettres sur les animaux. Celles-ci font cho non seulement aux crivains que leur auteur connaissit personnellement, mais aussi aux nombreux autres qu'il avait lus, notamment Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau. Inspir et nourri de ces contacts scientifiques, litt raires et philosophiques, Le Roy a su s'en d gager pour d velopper sa propre pens e et, l'image de l'excellent accueil que les contemporains et la post rit ont r serv l'ouvrage, ses id es ne peuvent qu' veiller un vif int r t. (shrink)
Beauchamp and Childress’ biomedical principlism is nearly synonymous with medical ethics for most clinicians. Their four principles are theoretically derived from the “common morality”, a universal cache of moral beliefs and claims shared by all morally serious humans. Others have challenged the viability of the common morality, but none have attempted to explain why the common morality makes intuitive sense to Western ethicists. Here I use the work of Charles Taylor to trace how events in the Western history of (...) ideas made the common morality seem plausible and yet, ironically, underscore the cultural particularity of the so-called common morality. I conclude that the supposedly universal common morality is actually quite culturally contained. Importantly, this should give us pause about the global authority of principlism and Beauchamp and Childress’ claim to a global bioethics project. (shrink)
Why? is a book about the explanations we give and how we give them--a fascinating look at the way the reasons we offer every day are dictated by, and help constitute, social relationships. Written in an easy-to-read style by distinguished social historian Charles Tilly, the book explores the manner in which people claim, establish, negotiate, repair, rework, or terminate relations with others through the reasons they give. Tilly examines a number of different types of reason giving. For example, he (...) shows how an air traffic controller would explain the near miss of two aircraft in several different ways, depending upon the intended audience: for an acquaintance at a cocktail party, he might shrug it off by saying "This happens all the time," or offer a chatty, colloquial rendition of what transpired; for a colleague at work, he would venture a longer, more technical explanation, and for a formal report for his division head he would provide an exhaustive, detailed account. Tilly demonstrates that reasons fall into four different categories:Convention: "I'm sorry I spilled my coffee; I'm such a klutz." Narratives: "My friend betrayed me because she was jealous of my sister." Technical cause-effect accounts: "A short circuit in the ignition system caused the engine rotors to fail." Codes or workplace jargon: "We can't turn over the records. We're bound by statute 369." Tilly illustrates his topic by showing how a variety of people gave reasons for the 9/11 attacks. He also demonstrates how those who work with one sort of reason frequently convert it into another sort. For example, a doctor might understand an illness using the technical language of biochemistry, but explain it to his patient, who knows nothing of biochemistry, by using conventions and stories. Replete with sparkling anecdotes about everyday social experiences, Why? makes the case for stories as one of the great human inventions. (shrink)
How might we mend the world? Charles Blattberg suggests a "new patriotism," one that reconciles conflict through a form of dialogue that prioritizes conversation over negotiation and the common good over victory. This patriotism can be global as well as local, left as well as right. Blattberg's is a genuinely original philosophical voice. The essays collected here discuss how to re-conceive the political spectrum, where "deliberative deomocrats" go wrong, why human rights language is tragically counterproductive, how nationalism is not (...) really secular, how many nations should share a single state, a new approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and why Canada might have something to teach about the "war on terror." We also learn about the right way to deny a role to principles in ethics, how to distinguish between the good and the beautiful, the way humor works, the rabbinic nature of modernism, the difference between good, bad, great, and evil, why Plato's dialogues are not really dialogues, and why most philosophers are actually artists. (shrink)
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Iris Murdoch and moral philosophy -- Understanding the other: a Gadamerian view on conceptual schemes -- Language not mysterious? -- Celan and the recovery of language -- Nationalism and modernity -- Conditions of an unforced consensus on human rights -- Democratic exclusion (and its remedies?) -- Religious mobilizations -- Themes from a secular age -- The immanent counter-enlightenment -- Notes on the sources of violence: perennial and modern -- The future of the religious past -- Disenchantment-re-enchantment -- What does secularism (...) mean? -- Die blosse Vernunft ("reason alone") -- Perils of moralism -- What was the Axial revolution? (shrink)
The Meaning of Evil is one of the most profound yet accessible books written on this immensely important, (and never more timely) topic. Deeply immersed in the highest traditions of realist philosophy and theology, Journet addresses the truly important issues surrouding the nature of evil and the burning questions demanded of us by its existence and (on occasion) seeming dominance in our world. Topics addressed include: definitions of evil throughout history; the actual forms of evil?including the two forms of evil (...) in man; and the inescapeable questions: ?Does evil come from God?? ?Is God responsible for Sin?? and ?What is God bound to do in his infinit goodness? as a consequence? Journet also discusses the temptation to suicide and the right attitude toward evil; and, finally, why the existence of evil actually proves, not disproves, the existence of an all-good God.This republication of "The Meaning of Evil" (first published in English in 1963) also contains, as an extended introduction, a major re-assessment of Journet and his impressive corpus of work, as well as a theoretical treatment of Journet?s concept of evil in the universe and as an ever-present element in the human condition. (shrink)
In debates between holism and reductionism in biology, from the early 20th century to more recent re-enactments involving genetic reductionism, developmental systems theory, or systems biology, the role of chance – the presence of theories invoking chance as a strong explanatory principle – is hardly ever acknowledged. Conversely, Darwinian models of chance and selection (Dennett 1995, Kupiec 1996, Kupiec 2009) sit awkwardly with reductionist and holistic concepts, which they alternately challenge or approve of. I suggest that the juxtaposition of chance (...) and the holism-reductionism pair (at multiple levels, ontological and methodological, pertaining to the vision of scientific practice as well as to the foundations of a vision of Nature, implicit or explicit) allows the theorist to shed some new light on these perennial tensions in the conceptualisation of Life. (shrink)
This work provides the means for re-establishing the unity of science by interpreting the whole of modern experimental science from the perspective of analogous transfer of the metaphysical principle of unity rather than in terms of efficient causality.
L’objection la plus ancienne et la plus redoutable à la démocratie fait valoir que le gouvernement par le peuple dessert le gouvernement pour le peuple. Les citoyens manquant pour la plupart de sagesse ou de compétence, le bien commun serait mieux assuré en confiant le pouvoir à un individu éclairé ou à une élite experte. Une réponse commune à cette objection concède la prémisse mais affirme la priorité au gouvernement par le peuple sur le gouvernement pour le peuple : le (...) droit égal à la participation devrait l’emporter sur la promotion de la compétence, même si celle-ci est requise par le bon gouvernement. La démocratie se trouve alors réduite à un ensemble de procédures équitables, traitant les citoyens en égaux ; elle ne se définit plus par la poursuite du bien commun. Il est toutefois une autre réponse à l’objection, qui évite cette dérive vers un procéduralisme étroit. Elle consiste à nier la prémisse et à affirmer la sagesse politique du peuple. Il n’est pas vrai que le gouvernement pour le peuple serait mieux assuré en confiant le pouvoir à un petit nombre de sages ou d’experts, fussent-ils les meilleurs parmi les citoyens. Cette thèse remarquable peut paraître improbable. Sa défense peut pourtant s’appuyer sur l’un des arguments les plus intrigants élaborés par la philosophie politique aristotélicienne, qui inspire et éclaire les controverses philosophiques contemporaines sur la valeur du régime démocratique : l’argument de la sagesse de la multitude. (shrink)
Taking my cue from Michael Smith, I try to extract a decent argument for non-cognitivism from the text of the Treatise. I argue that the premises are false and that the whole thing rests on a petitio principi. I then re-jig the argument so as to support that conclusion that Hume actually believed (namely that an action is virtuous if it would excite the approbation of a suitably qualified spectator). This argument too rests on false premises and a begged question. (...) Thus the Motivation Argument fails BOTH as an argument for noncognitivism AND as an argument for what Hume actually believed, that moral distinctions are not derived from reason and that moral properties are akin to secondary qualities. So far as the Motivation Argument is concerned, both cognitivists and rationalists can rest easy. Themes: 1) Hume’s Slavery of Reason thesis is only defensible if passions are not only desires but sometimes dispositions to acquire desires (DTADs). 2) A desire for our good on the whole, which Humeans need to posit to fend off apparent counterexamples to the Slavery of Reason Thesis, does not sit well with the Humean theory of how novel desires arise (an objection due originally to Reid). 3) Hume is wrong to suppose that ‘abstract or demonstrative reasoning never influences any of our actions, but only as it directs our judgment concerning causes and effects’ as the examples of Russell and Hobbes convincingly demonstrate. This ironic as both Russell and Hobbes subscribed to the Slavery of Reason Thesis. 4) I critique Michael Smith’s critique of motivational externalism. (shrink)