Philosophy of Harmonizing

That’s how I’ll briefly describe Charles Taylor’s enormous efforts that are rewarded here by 50 million Yen. Congrats Charles! You’ve earned around $2 million in prize money in the last year (including the the Templeton Prize). I think that puts you among the leaders. But how are your endorsements coming? (Hat Tip: Jacob Levy)

From the citation:

Dr. Charles Taylor is an outstanding philosopher who advocates “communitarianism” and “multiculturalism” from the perspective of “holistic individualism.”

He has constructed and endeavored to put into practice a social philosophy that allows human beings with different historical, traditional, and cultural backgrounds to retain their multiple identities and to live in happiness with each other.

He has criticized the atomistic view of the self, the conception of the human being grounded in the human sciences of naturalistic tendency such as methodological individualism and behaviorism, and tried to establish a “philosophical anthropology” on a foundation of phenomenology, hermeneutics, and language-game theory.

The citation continues:

In his native Canada, Dr. Taylor is also involved in political activities campaigning for the recognition of collective rights of minority groups to preserve their cultural identities. He has been seeking a way to overcome Eurocentrism and to reach for genuinely global values, paying due attention to the specific conditions of non-Western societies.

I would add that to accomplish this task Taylor uses and clarifies (harmonizes?) the best of the Western tradition, including elements of Hegel and Gadamer — a sifting of Greek and Christian traditions which historically sustains the tradition amidst the tides of history.

Does this effort to include non-western elements of society unduly weaken the glue of the West? I suggest Taylor seeks to maintain deep respect for rule of law against radical multiculturalists who would denounce all Western thought and institutions. His is a generous Western tradition capable of expanding. Is it strong enough? McIntyre would suggest not.

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