Philosophical arguments

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Harvard University Press, Mar 25, 1997 - Philosophy - 318 pages
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Charles Taylor is one of the most important English-language philosophers at work today; he is also unique in the philosophical community in applying his ideas on language and epistemology to social theory and political problems. In this book Taylor brings together some of his best essays, including "Overcoming Epistemology," "The Validity of Transcendental Argument," "Irreducibly Social Goods," and "The Politics of Recognition." As usual, his arguments are trenchant, straddling the length and breadth of contemporary philosophy and public discourse.

The strongest theme running through the book is Taylor's critique of disengagement, instrumental reason, and atomism: that individual instances of knowledge, judgment, discourse, or action cannot be intelligible in abstraction from the outside world. By developing his arguments about the importance of "engaged agency," Taylor simultaneously addresses themes in philosophical debate and in a broader discourse of political theory and cultural studies. The thirteen essays in this collection reflect most of the concerns with which he has been involved throughout his career--language, ideas of the self, political participation, the nature of modernity. His intellectual range is extraordinary, as is his ability to clarify what is at stake in difficult philosophical disputes. Taylor's analyses of liberal democracy, welfare economics, and multiculturalism have real political significance, and his voice is distinctive and wise.

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Philosophical arguments

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The title of this book is somewhat of a misnomer, since only a few of the 13 essays collected here deal with philosophical arguments in the strict sense. The book is really a showcase for Taylor's ... Read full review

Contents

Overcoming Epistemology
1
The Validity of Transcendental Arguments
20
Explanation and Practical Reason
34
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Charles Taylor works creatively with material drawn from both analytical and Continental sources. He was born in Montreal, educated at McGill and Oxford universities, and has taught political science and philosophy at McGill since 1961. He describes himself as a social democrat, and he was a founder and editor of the New Left Review. Taylor's work is an example of renewed interest in the great traditional questions of philosophy. It is informed by a vast scope of literature, ranging from Plato to Jacques Derrida. More accessible to the average reader than most recent original work in philosophy, Taylor's oeuvre centers on questions on philosophical anthropology, that is, on how human nature relates to ethics and society. Taylor develops his themes with an engaging, historically accurate insight.

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