Charles Taylor's attempt to map the complexity and fullness of the modern identity has led him to recuperate its moral sources. This paper explores the zone of ontological contestation Taylor has engaged by defending a notion of the self that does not succumb to a narrowing or partiality of vision. Taylor's criticisms of Michel Foucault and Jürgen Habermas are examined to draw out the features of his project and its own limitations.
In May 2009 the World Health Assembly passed a resolution on reducing health inequities through action on the social determinants of health, based on the work of the global Commission on Social Determinants of Health, 2005–2008. The Commission's genesis and findings raise some important questions for global health governance. We draw out some of the essential elements, themes, and mechanisms that shaped the Commission. We start by examining the evolving nature of global health and the Commission's foundational inspiration – the (...) universal pattern of health inequity and the imperative, driven by a sense of social justice, to make better and more equal health a global goal. We look at how the Commission was established, how it was structured internally, and how it developed external relationships – with the World Health Organization, with global networks of academics and practitioners, with country governments eager to spearhead action on health equity, and with civil society. We outline the Commission's recommendations as they relate to the architecture of global health governance. Finally, we look at how the Commission is catalyzing a movement to bring social determinants of health to the forefront of international and national policy discourse. (shrink)
On August 28, 2008, Michael Marmot, Chair of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health, formally handed over the Commission’s Final Report to Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. It was a significant moment. Dr. Chan addressed a hall packed with representatives of the world’s communications media in a speech that was remarkably direct. Dr. Chan reiterated the Commission’s position that to improve health and health equity action needs to be (...) taken not just across the health sector but across all social and economic policy areas, and stated, “Social deprivation is not a matter of fate. It is a marker of policy failure.” This was a bold statement from one of the world’s leading diplomats. Policy failure! The phrase echoes the Commission’s assertion that “a toxic combination of poor social policies, unfair economic arrangements and bad politics is killing people on a grand scale.” The Commission’s messages are far reaching. (shrink)
SEBASTIÁN RUDAS | : Moralized secularism is the view that “secularism” is defined in relation to certain moral values. Jocelyn Maclure and Charles Taylor’s “liberal pluralism” is an influential version of moralized secularism, for it states that freedom of conscience and equal respect are the fundamental moral values of secularism. I present the objection that secularism is a redundant category because it carries no distinctive normative content that cannot be found in the more general, and less divisive, terminology of (...) liberalism and democracy. In order to avoid this objection, I argue for conceiving secularism in a nonmoralized way. According to my view, secularism refers solely to the institutional arrangements that a state can put in place in order to address conflicts with organized religion that might emerge at the moment of advancing its ideological political project. Through this interpretation, it is possible to conceptualize expressions of secularism that are either not liberal or not motivated by the acknowledgment of new forms of pluralism as being the prime challenge a state faces for advancing its political project. As the redundancy objection shows, this is a possibility that moralized accounts of secularism preclude. | : Les versions moralisées de la laïcité définissent la « laïcité » par rapport à des valeurs morales. Le « pluralisme libéral » de Jocelyn Maclure et Charles Taylor est un exemple influent de la laïcité moralisée, car il affirme que la liberté de conscience et l’égal respect sont les valeurs morales fondamentales de la laïcité. Je propose l’objection selon laquelle la laïcité est une catégorie redondante, car elle ne comporte aucun contenu normatif distinctif qui ne peut être trouvé dans la terminologie plus générale et moins controversée du libéralisme et de la démocratie. Pour répondre à cette objection, je soutiens qu’il faut concevoir la laïcité de manière non moralisée. Selon moi, la laïcité se réfère seulement aux arrangements institutionnels qu’un État peut mettre en place pour répondre aux conflits avec les religions organisées qui pourraient surgir au moment de faire avancer son projet politique idéologique. Dans cette interprétation, il est possible de conceptualiser des expressions de laïcité qui sont non libérales, ou qui ne sont pas motivées par la reconnaissance de nouvelles formes de pluralisme à titre de principal défi auquel un État est confronté pour faire avancer son projet politique. Comme le montre l’objection de redondance, c’est une possibilité que la laïcité moralisée exclut. (shrink)
[Sebastian Gardner] German idealism has been pictured as an unwarranted deviation from the central epistemological orientation of modern philosophy, and its close historical association with German romanticism is adduced in support of this verdict. This paper proposes an interpretation of German idealism which seeks to grant key importance to its connection with romanticism without thereby undermining its philosophical rationality. I suggest that the fundamental motivation of German idealism is axiological, and that its augment of Kant's idealism is intelligible in (...) terms of its combined aim of consolidating the transcendental turn and legitimating the kind of relation to value articulated in German romanticism. /// [Paul Franks] German idealists regard Spinozism as both the realism that outflanks Kant's idealism and the source of the conception of systematicity with which to fortify idealism. But they offer little argument for this view. To fill the gap, I reconstruct arguments that could underlie Jacobi's and Pistorius's tentative but influential suggestions that Kant is or should be a Spinozist. Kant is indeed a monist about phenomena, but, unlike Spinoza, a pluralist about noumena. Nevertheless, it is arguable that the Third Antinomy can be solved by a more thoroughgoing Spinozistic monism. The resulting Spinozism outflanks Kant by acknowledging Jacobi's charge that philosophy annihilates immediacy and individuality, whereas Kant's commitment to things in themselves can seem a half-hearted attempt to avoid the charge. However, the German idealist contention is that only a synthesis of such a Spinozism with Kantian idealism can retrieve immediacy and individuality, thus overcoming nihilism. (shrink)
This instructional case explores ethical and leadership issues within the context of public accounting. The case examines one senior manager in a public accounting firm who failed to receive an anticipated promotion to partner and the resulting discussions and actions that follow. The primary objectives of the case are to increase students’ awareness of select ethical issues commonly faced by auditors as they attempt to serve the public trust, their clients, and their firms, and to consider their own value system (...) in relation to the issues identified in this case. The secondary learning objectives are to increase students’ knowledge of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct / IESBA Code of Ethics, encourage consideration of the impact of ethical and unethical behaviors by auditors on others within the profession, and illustrate how leadership within an organization influences the behaviors of others. (shrink)
This interview with Charles Taylor explores a central concern throughout his work, namely, his concern to ‘reenchant’ self and world through a careful examination of value as emanating from the world rather than from ourselves. It focuses especially on the status of his central doctrine of ‘strong evaluation’ against the background of mainstream meta-ethical theories, such as neo-Kantian constructivism and robust realist non-naturalism. Additionally, the relationship between Taylor’s theism and his moral–political philosophy is discussed. A key issue that (...) is examined is what ontological background picture can make sense of the strong evaluative experience of higher worth. Some other related issues that are explored revolve around Taylor’s papers ‘Disenchantment-Reenchantment’ and ‘Recovering the Sacred’, which tentatively explore the meaning of reenchantment. (shrink)
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)
'Most of us are still groping for answers about what makes life worth living, or what confers meaning on individual lives', writes Charles Taylor in Sources of the Self. 'This is an essentially modern predicament.' Charles Taylor's latest book sets out to define the modern identity by tracing its genesis, analysing the writings of such thinkers as Augustine, Descartes, Montaigne, Luther, and many others. This then serves as a starting point for a renewed understanding of modernity. Taylor (...) argues that modern subjectivity has its roots in ideas of human good, and is in fact the result of our long efforts to define and attain the good. The modern turn inwards is far from being a disastrous rejection of rationality, as its critics contend, but has at its heart what Taylor calls the affirmation of ordinary life. He concludes that the modern identity, and its attendant rejection of an objective order of reason, is far richer in moral sources that its detractors allow. Sources of the Self provides a decisive defence of the modern order and a sharp rebuff to its critics. (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 ...
We thank the commentators for their thoughtful engagement with our paper.1 In different ways, they make the same substantial point: our suggested interventions are not enough to solve the problems of organisational failure. On this we wholeheartedly agree. Organisational failure in healthcare is complex and multifaceted, it cannot be solved by one intervention in medical education. We did not intend to imply that our proposals alone would solve organisational failure, and this positioning misconstrues the aims of our paper. We had (...) more modest ambitions, we wanted to shift the analytical emphasis away from the individual and explore the implications raised by our analysis for our piece of the jigsaw—medical education. Having stepped away from such grand claims, the commentators make some valid points to which we would like to respond more specifically. Jesudason makes the distinction that normalisation of deviance (NoD) is well suited to understand institutional misfeasance but not malfeasance.2 We are inclined to agree; NoD can do some things but not all. Likewise, …. (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).
What is attention? How does attention shape consciousness? In an approach that engages with foundational topics in the philosophy of mind, the theory of action, psychology, and the neurosciences this book provides a unified and comprehensive answer to both questions. Sebastian Watzl shows that attention is a central structural feature of the mind. The first half of the book provides an account of the nature of attention. Attention is prioritizing, it consists in regulating priority structures. Attention is not another (...) element of the mind, but constituted by structures that organize, integrate, and coordinate the parts of our mind. Attention thus integrates the perceptual and intellectual, the cognitive and motivational, and the epistemic and practical. The second half of the book concerns the relationship between attention and consciousness. Watzl argues that attentional structure shapes consciousness into what is central and what is peripheral. The center-periphery structure of consciousness cannot be reduced to the structure of how the world appears to the subject. What it is like for us thus goes beyond the way the world appears to us. On this basis, a new view of consciousness is offered. In each conscious experience we actively take a stance on the world we appear to encounter. It is in this sense that our conscious experience is our subjective perspective. (shrink)
Charles Taylor is one of the most influential and prolific philosophers in the English-speaking world today. The breadth of his writings is unique, ranging from reflections on artificial intelligence to analyses of contemporary multicultural societies. This thought-provoking introduction to Taylor's work outlines his ideas in a coherent and accessible way without reducing their richness and depth. His contribution to many of the enduring debates within Western philosophy is examined and the arguments of his critics assessed. Taylor's reflections (...) on the topics of moral theory, selfhood, political theory and epistemology form the core chapters within the book. Ruth Abbey engages with the secondary literature on Taylor's work and suggests that some criticisms by contemporaries have been based on misinterpretations and suggests ways in which a better understanding of Taylor's work leads to different criticisms of it. The book serves as an ideal companion to Taylor's ideas for students of philosophy and political theory, and will be welcomed by the non-specialist looking for an authoritative guide to Taylor's large and challenging body of work. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss whether it is ever morally permissible to diminish the cognitive abilities or capacities of some cognitively gifted offenders whose ability to commit their crimes successfully relies on them possessing these abilities or capacities. I suggest that, given such cognitive diminishments may prevent such offenders from re-offending and causing others considerable harm, this provides us with at least one good moral reason in favour of employing them. After setting out more clearly what cognitive diminishment may consist (...) of, I then critically discuss variations of four plausible arguments against a proposal of using them on cognitive gifted offenders related to autonomy, harm, narrative identity, and a right to mental self-determination. I argue that none of these concerns should have us reject the use of cognitive diminishments. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This article responds to the contributors to this special issue. I clarify my views on critical theory, capitalism, morality, sociality, secularity, subjectivity, and childhood. I close with some general remarks about the necessity for a hermeneutical approach to social, ethical, and political questions.
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)
The development of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine raises fundamental ethical issues. As one example, AI systems in the field of mental health successfully detect signs of mental disorders, such as depression, by using data from social media. These AI depression detectors (AIDDs) identify users who are at risk of depression prior to any contact with the healthcare system. The article focuses on the ethical implications of AIDDs regarding affected users’ health-related autonomy. Firstly, it presents the (ethical) discussion of AI (...) in medicine and, specifically, in mental health. Secondly, two models of AIDDs using social media data and different usage scenarios are introduced. Thirdly, the concept of patient autonomy, according to Beauchamp and Childress, is critically discussed. Since this concept does not encompass the specific challenges linked with the digital context of AIDDs in social media sufficiently, the current analysis suggests, finally, an extended concept of health-related digital autonomy. (shrink)
The Principle of Sufficient Reason —the principle that everything has a reason—plays a central role in Leibniz’s philosophical system. It is rather difficult, however, to determine what Leibniz’s attitude towards the modal status of the PSR is. The prevailing view is that Leibniz takes the PSR to be true necessarily. This paper develops a novel interpretation and argues that Leibniz’s PSR is a contingent principle. It also discusses whether a merely contingent PSR can do the metaphysical heavy lifting that Leibniz (...) aims for. The paper shows that, despite appearance to the contrary, this is possible. In a nutshell, the argument is that the only possible PSR violation Leibniz allows for is God’s creation of a suboptimal world; there is no Leibnizian possible world, though, which intrinsically violates the PSR. Despite its contingency, then, Leibniz’s PSR is modally robust enough to serve as a foundational principle of his metaphysics. (shrink)
Sebastian Schmidt (Zürich) fragt in seinem Beitrag »Wie vernünftig sind Verschwörungstheoretiker?«, wie es um die Vernunft derjenigen steht, die einer Verschwörungstheorie über die Corona-Pandemie anhängen. Im Umgang mit Corona scheint sich zu bestätigen, was die Psychologie seit Jahrzehnten lehrt: Menschen unterliegen in ihrem Denken kognitiven Fehlern und Verzerrungen. Doch ist verschwörungstheoretisches Denken, das solche Fehler ebenfalls begeht, deshalb irrational? Schmidt warnt davor, einander zu leichtfertig als irrational zu betrachten, und verweist auf die wichtige Rolle, die intellektuelles Vertrauen in Wissensgemeinschaften (...) spielt. Am Beispiel des sogenannten Bestätigungsfehlers führt er aus, dass Menschen, die ihre Überzeugungen nicht fortwährend kritisch prüfen, in diesem Verhalten durchaus rational sein können. (shrink)
This paper argues for the normative significance of attention. Attention plays an important role when describing an individual’s mind and agency, and in explaining many central facts about that individual. In addition, many in the public want answers and guidance with regard to normative questions about attention. Given that attention is both descriptively central and the public cares about normative guidance with regard to it, attention should be central also in normative philosophy. We need an ethics of attention: a field (...) of study of which normative pressures, if any, govern attention. Like the ethics of belief, the ethics of attention will connect those normative questions to issues regarding the nature of attention, i.e. to what is subject to such normative pressures. Philosophers should develop an ethics of attention that helps to provide normative guidance and that is commensurate in its richness to the descriptive significance of attention. The second half of the paper sketches a framework that may help us to get started at developing the ethics of attention. (shrink)
This paper defends and develops the structuring account of conscious attention: attention is the conscious mental process of structuring one’s stream of consciousness so that some parts of it are more central than others. In the first part of the paper, I motivate the structuring account. Drawing on a variety of resources I argue that the phenomenology of attention cannot be fully captured in terms of how the world appears to the subject, as well as against an atomistic conception of (...) attention. In the second part of the paper, I show how the structuring account can be made precise: attention causes and causally sustains phenomenal relations to hold between the parts of the stream of consciousness; most importantly the relation of one part being peripheral to another. I end by pointing out consequences for both the scientific study of attention as well as for several areas of central philosophical interest. (shrink)
The present paper is an attempt at the investigation of the nature of polarity contrast in natural languages. Truth conditions for natural language sentences are incomplete unless they include a proper definition of the conditions under which they are false. It is argued that the tertium non datur principle of classical bivalent logical systems is empirically invalid for natural languages: falsity cannot be equated with non-truth. Lacking a direct intuition about the conditions under which a sentence is false, we need (...) an independent foundation of the concept of falsity. The solution I offer is a definition of falsity in terms of the truth of a syntactic negation of the sentence. A definition of syntactic negation is proposed for English. (shrink)
Im Alltag äußern wir nicht nur Aussagen darüber, wie die Welt tatsächlich beschaffen ist, sondern auch darüber, was notwendigerweise oder möglicherweise der Fall ist. Doch worin ist die Wahrheit solcher sogenannten Modalaussagen fundiert? Auf diese Frage gibt Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz bereits in der Frühen Neuzeit eine höchst interessante Antwort: Für ihn sind modale Wahrheiten im Intellekt Gottes fundiert. Diese Modalitätskonzeption analysiert Sebastian Bender in der vorliegenden Studie auf systematisch informierte Weise. Dabei kommt er zu folgenden Ergebnissen: Erstens vertritt Leibniz, (...) anders als häufig angenommen, eine nicht-reduktionistische Metaphysik der Modalität– Modales wird von ihm also nicht auf etwas Nicht-Modales reduziert. Zweitens ist Leibniz' Theorie der Modalität kombinatorisch geprägt. Drittens repräsentieren mögliche Welten für Leibniz nicht alles metaphysisch Mögliche. Gott kann im Prinzip auch Ansammlungen von Substanzen erschaffen, die keine Welten konstituieren. Viertens schließlich ist das für Leibniz zentrale Prinzip des zureichenden Grundes kontingent und nicht, wie häufig vorausgesetzt, notwendig. Auf diese Weise gelingt es Leibniz, seinen Rationalismus mit seinem Theismus zu verbinden. (shrink)