Charles Taylor on art and moral sources : a pragmatist re-evaluation


The thesis examines Charles Taylor's theory of agency and the moral sources that he believes inform our modern notion of the self. Taylor's concept of the strong evaluator is outlined and brought to bear on post-structuralist and postmodernist literary-theoretical positions that attempt to reconcile amoral positions and nonagency with multicultural political demands and the demands of what Taylor calls a "culture of authenticity". In order to do full justice to a theory of art that would incorporate Taylor's concept of agency, however, it becomes necessary to critique the philosopher's account of art, which he derives from widely held doctrines of Romanticism and aesthetic autonomy found in the Western tradition. The concept of a pragmatist approach to art serves as the main argument against Taylor's views, which exclude certain agents and their social experiences. Those agents who do not subscribe to Romantic and high Modernist ideas about art's function can often be said to adopt a pragmatic critique, which takes into account the uses of art in defining modern identities, and exposes the social privilege that has typically accompanied the autonomy that art has been awarded.

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,855

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.


Added to PP

15 (#704,280)

6 months
1 (#386,031)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry Frankfurt - 2004 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.
Interpretation and the Sciences of Man.Charles Taylor - 1971 - Review of Metaphysics 25 (1):3 - 51.
Interpretation and the Sciences of Man.Charles Taylor - 1971 - Review of Metaphysics 25 (1):3-51.
Form and Funk: The Aesthetic Challenge of Popular Art.Richard Shusterman - 1991 - British Journal of Aesthetics 31 (3):213-213.

View all 13 references / Add more references

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Critique of Charles Taylor's Notions of “Moral Sources” and “Constitutive Goods”.Arto Laitinen - 2004 - In Jussi Kotkavirta & Michael Quante (eds.), Moral Realism. Acta Philosophica Fennica. pp. 73-104.
Informed Consent and Relational Conceptions of Autonomy.N. Stoljar - 2011 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 36 (4):375-384.
The Ethics of Authenticity.Charles Taylor - 1992 - Harvard University Press.
Who Are We?: Modern Identities Between Taylor and Foucault.Allison Weir - 2009 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (5):533-553.
The Ethics of Inarticulacy.Will Kymlicka - 1991 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 34 (2):155 – 182.
Pluralism in Practice: The Political Thought of Charles Taylor.Ruth Abbey - 2002 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 5 (3):98-123.