Chicago: McGill-Queen's University Press (2020)
There are few philosophical questions to which Charles Taylor has not devoted his attention. His work has made powerful contributions to our understanding of action, language, and mind. He has had a lasting impact on our understanding of the way in which the social sciences should be practised, taking an interpretive stance in opposition to dominant positivist methodologies. Taylor's powerful critiques of atomist versions of liberalism have redefined the agenda of political philosophers. He has produced prodigious intellectual histories aiming to excavate the origins of the way in which we have construed the modern self, and of the complex intellectual and spiritual trajectories that have culminated in modern secularism. Despite the apparent diversity of Taylor's work, it is driven by a unified vision. Throughout his writings, Taylor opposes reductive conceptions of the human and of human societies that empiricist and positivist thinkers from David Hume to B.F. Skinner believed would lend rigour to the human sciences. In their place, Taylor has articulated a vision of humans as interpretive beings who can be understood neither individually nor collectively without reference to the fundamental goods and values through which they make sense of their lives. The contributors to this volume, all distinguished philosophers and social theorists in their own right, offer critical assessments of Taylor's writings. Taken together, they provide the reader with an unrivalled perspective on the full extent of Charles Taylor's contribution to modern philosophy.