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)
William Norris Clarke, S.J., one of the leading Thomist scholars in the United States, came to the Philippines recently and delivered a series of lectures in the Ateneo de Manila University and the University of Santo Tomas on various philosophical topics inspired by the thought of St. Thomas. Fr. Clarke is now a Professor Emeritus of Philosophy in Fordham University. He was co-founder and editor (l961-85) of the International Philosophical Quarterly and is the author of some 60 articles, plus the (...) following books: The Philosophical Approach to God, The Universe as Journey, Person and Being, Explorations in Metaphysics: Being—God—Person, and The One and the Many: A Contemporary Thomistic Metaphysics (Fall, 2000).He continues to fulfill his mission of propagating the thoughts of St. Thomas—-the “creative retrieval of St. Thomas,” as he puts it—-in and out of the U.S.An brief excerpt from this interview was originally published in Budhi: A Journal of Ideas and Culture1/3, 1997. (shrink)
Charles Taylor is one of the most distinctive figures in the landscape of contemporary philosophy. His ability to contribute to philosophical conversations across a wide spectrum of ideas is especially impressive in a time of increasing specialization. These areas include moral theory, theories of subjectivity, political theory, epistemology, hermeneutics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language and aesthetics. Most recently, Taylor has branched into the study of religion. Written by a team of international authorities, this collection will be read primarily by (...) students and academic professionals in philosophy, political science, and religious studies, and will also appeal to a broad swathe of professionals across the humanities and social sciences. Ruth Abbey is Senior Lecturer in Political Theory at University of Kent at Canterbury. She has published numerous articles and is author of Nietzsche's Middle Period (Oxford University Press, 2000) and Philosophy Now: Charles Taylor (Princeton University Press, 2000). (shrink)
W. Norris Clarke's metaphysics of the universe as a journey rests on six major positions: the unrestricted dynamism of the mind, the primacy of the act of existence, the participation structure of reality, and the person, considered as both the starting point of philosophy and the source of the categories needed for a flexible contemporary metaphysics. Reflecting on his conscious life and the universe around him, the finite person mounts by a two-fold path to its Infinite source, who, though immutable (...) in His natural being, is mutable in the intentional being of His personal knowledge and love. The personal God is the efficient cause from whom the universe comes and the final cause to whom it returns.Less optimistic than Norris Clarke, John Caputo wonders about his metaphysics of the person. In a hermeneutical interpretation of the human face, the person through whom Being "sounds" discloses an ambiguous Being that both reveals and conceals itself. Far from grounding a casual ascent to God, hermeneutical phenomenology allows us no more than the right to interpret the world and its transcendent source through our own free decision.Although impressed by Norris Clarke's attempt to introduce mutability into God, Lewis Ford still finds Clarke's Thomistic God unacceptable. As a Whiteheadian, he proposes in place of Thomas' God, whose perfection consists in static unity, a God whose perfection consists in a never-ending process of unification. John Smith argues against the traditional dichotomy made between the ontological and cosmological arguments. Rather than opposed methods of proving God's existence, they should be taken as complementary journeys to the divine presence which discloses itself, although diversely, in the soul and in the world. There are parallels between Smith's historical study of two arguments and Clarke's two-fold path to God. Yet Smith is critical of Thomas' cosmological journey to God and does not share Clarke's confidence in its validity. Significant studies in their own right, the three essays as a group challenge Clarke's whole metaphysics of the universe as a journey. Meeting the challenge, Clarke clarifies and refines his own thought.An account of Clarke's philosophy by Gerald A. McCool, S.J. preceds this unified and stimulating philosophical discussion. (shrink)
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)
Thomas Taylor in England, by K. Raine.--Thomas Taylor in America, by G. M. Harper.--Biographical accounts of Thomas Taylor.--Concerning the beautiful.--The hymns of Orpheus.--Concerning the cave of the nymphs.--A dissertation on the Eleusinian and Bacchic mysteries.--Introduction to The fable of Cupid and Psyche.--The Platonic philosopher's creed.--An apology for the fables of Homer.--Bibliography (p. -538).
This paper explores a remarkable convergence of ideas and evidence, previously presented in separate places by its authors. That convergence has now become so persuasive that we believe we are working within substantially the same broad framework. Taylor's mathematical papers on neuronal systems involved in consciousness dovetail well with work by Newman and Baars on the thalamocortical system, suggesting a brain mechanism much like the global workspace architecture developed by Baars (see references below). This architecture is relational, in the sense (...) that it continuously mediates the interaction of input with memory. While our approaches overlap in a number of ways, each of us tends to focus on different areas of detail. What is most striking, and we believe significant, is the extent of consensus, which we believe to be consistent with other contemporary approaches by Weiskrantz, Gray, Crick and Koch, Edelman, Gazzaniga, Newell and colleagues, Posner, Baddeley, and a number of others. We suggest that cognitive neuroscience is moving toward a shared understanding of consciousness in the brain. (shrink)
Abstract Following Clarke (2002), a Lakatosian approach is used to account for the epistemic development of conspiracy theories. It is then argued that the hypercritical atmosphere of the internet has slowed down the development of conspiracy theories, discouraging conspiracy theorists from articulating explicit versions of their favoured theories, which could form the hard core of Lakatosian research pro grammes. The argument is illustrated with a study of the “controlled demolition” theory of the collapse of three towers at the World Trade (...) Center on September 11, 2001. (shrink)
There is no doctrine about determinism and freedom that has proved to be as resilient over the past century as that of Compatibilism. It is, of course, the doctrine that we can be both free and also subject to a real determinism. If it goes back at least to Hobbes and Hume, it was strengthened and refurbished throughout the 1900's. Part of its strength has been the extent to which it has satisfied theses that in fact seem to be the (...) very substance of the doctrine opposed to it. This is Incompatibilism. What follows here is the most recent and the very best attempt to steal what has appeared to be the thunder of Incompatibilism. Professors Taylor and Dennett make use of a certain amount of technicality in giving sense, on the assumption of determinism, to the ideas that we can nevertheless do otherwise than we actually do and we can also really take credit for things. It is not my own view, but it is one that must be reckoned with by all who struggle with the problem. Put in some effort with the formalism if you have to, find out a little about possible worlds. It is certainly worth the effort. (shrink)
Barry Taylor's book mounts a major new argument against one of the fundamental tenets of much contemporary philosophy, the idea that we can make sense of reality as existing objectively, independently of our capacities to come to know it. He concludes that there is no defensible notion of truth which preserves the theses of traditional realism, nor any extant position sufficiently true to the ideals of that doctrine to inherit its title. In presenting his case Taylor engages with many key (...) works of contemporary metaphysics, semantics, and philosophical logic, so his book will be of interest to a broad spectrum of scholars and students. (shrink)
Gabriele Taylor presents a philosophical investigation of the "ordinary" vices traditionally seen as "death to the soul": sloth, envy, avarice, pride, anger, lust, and gluttony. In the course of a richly detailed discussion of individual and interrelated vices, which complements recent work by moral philosophers on virtue, she shows why these "deadly sins" are correctly so named and grouped together.
Part I: Reprinted articles -- Twenty-fourth award of Aquinas medal by the American Catholic Philosophical Association to W. Norris Clarke, SJ -- Interpersonal dialogue : key to realism -- Causality and time -- System : a new category of being -- A curious blind spot in the Anglo American tradition of antitheistic argument -- The problem of the reality and multiplicity of divine ideas in Christian neoplatonism -- Is the ethical eudaimonism of Saint Thomas too self-centered? -- Conscience and the (...) person -- Democracy, ethics, religion : an intrinsic connection -- What cannot be said in Saint Thomas's essence-existence doctrine -- Living on the edge : the human person as frontier being and microcosm -- The metaphysics of religious art : reflections on a text of Saint Thomas -- Part II: New articles -- The immediate creation of the human soul by God and some contemporary -- Challenges -- The creative imagination : unique expression of our soul-body unity -- The creative imagination as treated in western thought -- The integration of personalism and thomistic metaphysics in twenty-first-century Thomism. (shrink)
Descartes is possibly the most famous of all writers on the mind, but his theory of mind has been almost universally misunderstood, because his philosophy has not been seen in the context of his scientific work. Desmond Clarke offers a radical and convincing rereading, undoing the received perception of Descartes as the chief defender of mind/body dualism. For Clarke, the key is to interpret his philosophical efforts as an attempt to reconcile his scientific pursuits with the theologically orthodox views of (...) his time. (shrink)
The West has long had an ambivalent attitude toward the philosophical traditions of the East. Voltaire claimed that the East is the civilization "to which the West owes everything", yet C.S. Peirce was contemptuous of the "monstrous mysticism of the East". And despite the current trend toward globalizations, there is still a reluctance to take seriously the intellectual inheritance of South and East Asia. Oriental Enlightenment challenges this Eurocentric prejudice. J. J. Clarke examines the role played by the ideas of (...) Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism in the intellectual life of the West and how these ideas, far more than exotic distractions, or even instruments of colonial domination, have been the means towards serious self-questioning and self-renewal, used to dispute and even to undermine Western orthodoxies. (shrink)
This is a major and comprehensive study of the philosophy of Hegel, his place in the history of ideas, and his continuing relevance and importance. Professor Taylor relates Hegel to the earlier history of philosophy and, more particularly, to the central intellectual and spiritual issues of his own time. He engages with Hegel sympathetically, on Hegel's own terms and, as the subject demands, in detail. This important book is now reissued with a fresh new cover.
" The Moment of Complexity is a profoundly original work. In remarkable and insightful ways, Mark Taylor traces an entirely new way to view the evolution of our culture, detailing how information theory and the scientific concept of complexity can be used to understand recent developments in the arts and humanities. This book will ultimately be seen as a classic."-John L. Casti, Santa Fe Institute, author of Godel: A Life of Logic, the Mind, and Mathematics The science of complexity accounts (...) for that inscrutable mix of chaos and order that governs our natural world. Complexity explains how networks emerge and function, how species organize into ecosystems, how stars form into galaxies, and how just a few sequences of DNA can account for so many different life forms. Recently, the idea of complexity has taken the worlds of business and politics by storm. The concept is used to account for phenomena as varied as the behavior of the stock market, the response of voting populations, and the effects of risk management. Even Disney has used complexity theory to manage crowd control at its theme parks. Given the startling development of new information technologies, we now live in a moment of unprecedented complexity, an era in which change occurs faster than our ability to comprehend it. With The Moment of Complexity , Mark C. Taylor offers a timely map for this unfamiliar terrain opening in our midst, unfolding an original philosophy through a remarkable synthesis of science and culture. According to Taylor, complexity is not just a breakthrough scientific concept, but the defining quality of the post-Cold War era. The flux of digital currents swirling around us, he argues, has created a new network culture with its own distinctive logic and dynamic. Drawing on resources from information theory and evolutionary biology, Taylor explains the operation of complex adaptive systems in social and cultural processes and captures a whole new zeitgeist in the making. To appreciate the significance of our emerging network culture, he claims, we need not only to understand contemporary scientific and technological transformations, but also to explore the subtle influences of art, architecture, philosophy, religion, and higher education. The Moment of Complexity , then, is a remarkable work of cultural analysis on a scale rarely seen today. To follow its trajectory is to learn how we arrived at this critical moment in our culture, and to know where we might head in the twenty-first century. (shrink)
Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KR&R) is based on the idea that propositional content can be rigorously represented in formal languages long the province of logic, in such a way that these representations can be productively reasoned over by humans and machines; and that this reasoning can be used to produce knowledge-based systems (KBSs). As such, KR&R is a discipline conventionally regarded to range across parts of artificial intelligence (AI), computer science, and especially logic. This standard view of KR&R’s participating fields (...) is correct — but dangerously incomplete. The view is incomplete because, as we explain herein, sophisticated KR&R must rely heavily upon philosophy. Encapsulated, the reason is actually quite straightforward: Sophisticated KR&R must include the representation of not only simple properties, but also concepts that are routine in the formal sciences (theoretical computer science, mathematics, logic, game theory, etc.), and everyday socio-cognitive concepts like mendacity, deception, betrayal, and evil. Because in KR&R the representation of such concepts must be rigorous in order to enable machine reasoning (e.g., machine-generated and machine-checked proofs that a is lying to b) over them, philosophy, devoted as it is in no small part to supplying analyses of such concepts, is a crucial partner in the overall enterprise. To put the point another way: When the knowledge to be represented is such as to require lengthy formulas in expressive formal languages for that representation, philosophy must be involved in the game. In addition, insofar as the advance of KR&R must allow formalisms and processes for representing and reasoning over visual propositional content, philosophy will be a key contributor into the future. (shrink)
With fundamentalists dominating the headlines and scientists arguing about the biological and neurological basis of faith, religion is the topic of the day. But religion, Mark C. Taylor shows, is more complicated than either its defenders or critics think and, indeed, is much more influential than any of us realize. Our world, Taylor maintains, is shaped by religion even when it is least obvious. Faith and value, he insists, are unavoidable and inextricably interrelated for believers and nonbelievers alike. Using scientific (...) theories of dynamical systems and complex adaptive networks for cultural and theological analysis, After God redefines religion for our contemporary age. Taylor begins by asking a critical question: What is religion? He then proceeds to explain how Protestant ideas in particular undergird the character and structure of our global information society—the Reformation, Taylor argues, was an information and communications revolution that effectively prepared the way for the media revolution at the end of the twentieth century. Taylor’s breathtaking account of religious ideas allows us to understand for the first time that contemporary notions of atheism and the secular are already implicit in classical Christology and Trinitarian theology. Weaving together theoretical analysis and historical interpretation, Taylor demonstrates the codependence and coevolution of traditional religious beliefs and practices with modern literature, art, architecture, information technologies, media, financial markets, and theoretical biology. After God concludes with prescriptions for new ways of thinking and acting. If we are to negotiate the perils of the twenty-first century, Taylor contends, we must refigure the symbolic networks that inform our policies and guide our actions. A religion without God creates the possibility of an ethics without absolutes that leads to the promotion of creativity and life in an ever more fragile world. The first comprehensive theology of culture since the pioneering work of Paul Tillich, After God is a radical reconceptualization of religion and Taylor’s most pathbreaking work yet, bringing together various strands of theological argument and cultural analysis four decades in the making. (shrink)
Diagrams refer to the phenomena overtly represented, to analogous phenomena, and to previous pictures and their graphic conventions. The diagrams of ecologists Clarke, Hutchinson, and H.T. Odum reveal their search for physical analogies, building on the success of World War II science and the promise of cybernetics. H.T. Odum's energy circuit diagrams reveal also his aspirations for a universal and natural means of reducing complexity to guide the management of diverse ecological and social systems. Graphic conventions concerning framing and translation (...) of ecological processes onto the flat printed page facilitate Odum's ability to act as if ecological relations were decomposable into systems and could be managed by analysts external to the system. (shrink)
This article considers the various suggestions that have been put forward by German scholars to replace the traditional concept of intention, which the author has criticized elsewhere (Taylor 2004). The debate on this topic has become a minor academic industry in Germany, and should be better known as the English-speaking world struggles with its own concepts of intention. Despite the great amount of effort and ingenuity devoted to this topic in Germany, however, the author concludes that only one theory of (...) intention, that put forward by Professor Wolfgang Frisch, shows any substantial degree of promise. (shrink)
The age of information, media, and virtuality is transforming every aspect of human experience. Questions that have long haunted the philosophical imagination are becoming urgent practical concerns: Where does the natural end and the artificial begin? Is there a difference between the material and the immaterial? In his new work, Mark C. Taylor extends his ongoing investigation of postmodern worlds by critically examining a wide range of contemporary cultural practices. Nothing defines postmodernism so well as its refusal of depth, its (...) emphasis on appearance and spectacle, its tendency to collapse a three-dimensional world in which image and reality are distinct into a two-dimensional world in which they merge. The postmodern world, Taylor argues, is a world of surfaces, and the postmodern condition is one of profound superficiality. For many cultural commentators, postmodernism's inescapable play of surfaces is cause for despair. Taylor, on the other hand, shows that the disappearance of depth in postmodern culture is actually a liberation repleat with creative possibilities. Taylor introduces readers to a popular culture in which detectives--the postmodern heroes of Paul Auster and Dennis Potter--lift surfaces only to find more surfaces, and in which fashion advertising plays transparency against hiding. Taylor looks at the contemporary preoccupation with body piercing and tattooing, and asks whether these practices actually reveal or conceal. Phrenology and skin diseases, the "religious" architecture of Las Vegas, the limitless spread of computer networks--all are brought within the scope of Taylor's brilliant analysis. Postmodernism, he shows, has given us a new sense of the superficial, one in which the issue is not the absence of meaning but its uncontrollable, ecstatic proliferation. Embodying the very tendencies it analyzes, Hiding is unique. Conceived and developed with well-known designers Michael Rock and Susan Sellars, this work transgresses the boundary that customarily separates graphic design from the story within a text. The product of nearly three decades of reflection and writing, Hiding opens a window on contemporary culture. To follow the remarkable course Taylor charts is to see both our present and past differently and to encounter a future as disorienting as it is alluring. (shrink)
Nots is a virtuoso exploration of negation and negativity in theology, philosophy, art, architecture, postmodern culture, and medicine. In nine essays that range from nihility in Buddhism to the embodiment of negativity in disease, Mark C. Taylor looks at the surprising ways in which contrasting concepts of negativity intersect. In the first section of this book, Taylor discusses the question of the "not" in the religious thought of Anselm, Hegel, Derrida, and Nishitani. In the second part, he analyzes artistic (...) efforts "to figure not" in the work of artists Arakawa and Madeline Gins, architect Daniel Libeskind, pop artist David Sallee, and pop icon Madonna. The final section consists of a deeply personal and scientifically informed chapter that discusses the workings of negativity in immunology and illness. Taylor's essays work toward a sense of the not as unnameable as it is irrepressible--an "unthinkable third" that falls between being and nonbeing. Bringing together concerns that span Taylor's early investigations of Hegel and Kierkegaard and recent studies of art and architecture, Nots is an important contribution by one of the most original and distinctive voices now writing on the American scene. Religion and Postmodernism series. (shrink)
While some lament the slide of Western culture into relativism and nihilism and others celebrate the trend as a liberating sort of progress, Charles Taylor calls on us to face the moral and political crises of our time, and to make the most ...
Socrates has a unique position in the history of philosophy. It is no exaggeration to say that had it not been for his influence on Plato, the whole development of Western philosophy might have bee unimaginably different. Yet Socrates wrote nothing himself, and our knowledge of him is derived primarily from the engaging and infuriating figure who appears in Plato's dialogues. In this book, Christopher Taylor explores the relationship between the historical Socrates and the Platonic character, and examines the enduring (...) image of Socrates as the ideal exemplar of the philosophic life - a thinker whose moral and intellectual integrity permeated every detail of his life, even in the face of betrayal and execution by his fellow Athenians. (shrink)
Telliamed in its time Content Type Journal Article Category Survey Review Pages 1-7 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9638-x Authors Kenneth L. Taylor, Department of the History of Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019-3106, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Throughout history, humans have attempted to influence and control the thoughts of others. Since the word 'brainwashing' was coined in the aftermath of the Korean War, it has become part of the popular culture, served as a topic for jokes, and been exploited to create sensational headlines. It has also been the subject of learned discussion from many disciplines: including history, sociology, psychology, and psychotherapy. But until now, a crucial part of the debate has been missing: that of any serious (...) reference to the science of the human brain. Descriptions of how opinions can be changed, whether by persuasion, deceit, or force, have been almost entirely psychological. -/- In Brainwashing, Kathleen Taylor brings the worlds of neuroscience and social psychology together for the first time. In elegant and accessible prose, and with abundant use of anecdotes and case-studies, she examines the ethical problems involved in carrying out the required experiments on humans, the limitations of animal models, and the frightening implications of such research. She also explores the history of thought-control and shows how it still exists all around us, from marketing and television, to politics and education. (shrink)
Ambitiously identifying fresh issues in the study of complex systems, Peter J. Taylor, in a model of interdisciplinary exploration, makes these concerns accessible to scholars in the fields of ecology, environmental science, and science studies. Unruly Complexity explores concepts used to deal with complexity in three realms: ecology and socio-environmental change; the collective constitution of knowledge; and the interpretations of science as they influence subsequent research. For each realm Taylor shows that unruly complexity-situations that lack definite boundaries, where what (...) goes on "outside" continually restructures what is "inside," and where diverse processes come together to produce change-should not be suppressed by partitioning complexity into well-bounded systems that can be studied or managed from an outside vantage point. Using case studies from Australia, North America, and Africa, he encourages readers to be troubled by conventional boundaries-especially between science and the interpretation of science-and to reflect more self-consciously on the conceptual and practical choices researchers make. (shrink)
Victorian bodies in heat Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9489-x Authors Bruce Clarke, Department of English, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409-3091, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
In this thoughtful exploration of a painful subject, Kathleen Taylor seeks to bring together the fruits of work in psychology, sociology, and her own field of neuroscience to shed light on the nature of cruelty and what makes human beings cruel. The question of cruelty is inevitably tied to questions of moral philosophy, the nature of evil, free will and responsibility. Taylor's approach is ambitious, but little work has been done in this area and this wide-ranging discussion, considering the roles (...) of emotion, belief, identity and 'otherizing'; evolved instincts and differences in brains; callousness and sadism; seeks to begin to identify how we might reduce or limit cruelty in our societies by a greater understanding of its causes, and the circumstances in which it can grow. -/- As with her highly regarded previous book, Brainwashing, Taylor draws in examples from history and literature in her study, making this a rich and multifaceted analysis that should be of interest to a wide readership, and provoke much thought, debate, and further research. (shrink)
This essay is the journal editor's introduction to part 3 of an ongoing symposium on quietism. With reference to writings of James Joyce, Francis Picabia, J. M. Coetzee, Charles Taylor, Alasdair MacIntyre, Elaine Pagels, and Karen King—and with extended reference to Jonathan Lear's study of “cultural devastation,” Radical Hope—Jeffrey Perl explores the possibility that the fear of anomie (“anomiphobia”) is misplaced. He argues that, in comparison with the violence and narrowness of any given social order, anomie may well be preferable, (...) and, in any case, may be no more than another name for quietism. (shrink)