green numbers give full details.     |    back to list of philosophers     |     unexpand these ideas

Ideas of Charles Taylor, by Text

[Canadian, b.1931, Formerly at All Soul's in Oxford, then in at McGill University, Canada.]

1989 Sources of the Self
1.1 p.3 Selfhood and moral values are inextricably intertwined
     Full Idea: Selfhood and the good, or in another way selfhood and morality, turn out to be inextricably intertwined.
     From: Charles Taylor (Sources of the Self [1989], 1.1)
     A reaction: This seems an inevitable convergence of three centuries of thought about personal identity and morality.
1.1 p.7 Consistency presupposes intrinsic description
     Full Idea: The issue of consistency presupposes intrinsic description.
     From: Charles Taylor (Sources of the Self [1989], 1.1)
     A reaction: This may be the key criticism of Kant. The so-called 'maxim' of an action can be almost infinitely re-expressed to suit the agent.
1.1 p.8 To have respect for people, you must feel their claims, or their injustices, or hold them in awe
     Full Idea: If you want to discriminate more finely what makes humans worthy of respect, you must call to mind the claim of human suffering, or what is repugnant about justice, or the awe you feel about human life.
     From: Charles Taylor (Sources of the Self [1989], 1.1)
     A reaction: A persuasive part of the claim that such feelings are inseparable from thinking about people in any way at all.
2.3 p.50 I can only be aware of myself as a person who changes by means of my personal history
     Full Idea: As a being who grows and becomes I can only know myself through the history of my maturations and regressions, overcomings and defeats.
     From: Charles Taylor (Sources of the Self [1989], 2.3)
     A reaction: An important insight. My immediate sense of self makes my personal history central, not an extra. But a history must be a history OF something.
3.3 p.82 In later utilitarianism the modern stress on freedom leads to the rejection of paternalism
     Full Idea: In mature utilitarianism , the stress on modern freedom emerges in the rejection of paternalism.
     From: Charles Taylor (Sources of the Self [1989], 3.3)
     A reaction: This seems good; it is the beginnings of a rejection of paternalism. What is better, happiness or freedom? What is the value of freedom?
3.3 p.82 Nominalists defended the sovereignty of God against the idea of natural existing good and evil
     Full Idea: Late medieval nominalism defended the sovereignty of God as incompatible with there being an order in nature which by itself defined good and bad.
     From: Charles Taylor (Sources of the Self [1989], 3.3)
     A reaction: Part of their attack on Platonism. But what made them place such a high value on the sovereignty of God?
Pref p.-3 My aim is to map the connections between our sense of self and our moral understanding
     Full Idea: My entire way of proceeding involves mapping connections between the sense of the self and moral visions, between identity and the good.
     From: Charles Taylor (Sources of the Self [1989], Pref)
     A reaction: An interesting project. Modern brain research supports the idea that emotions and values are tightly integrated into al thought.
13.1 p.211 The modern self has disengaged reason, self-exploration, and personal commitment
     Full Idea: The modern notion of the self is defined by disengaged reason (with its associated freedom and dignity), by self-exploration, and by personal commitment.
     From: Charles Taylor (Sources of the Self [1989], 13.1)
     A reaction: Taylor makes a good case that this broader view of how the self is seen is as important as narrow debates about personal identity.
13.1 p.212 Willingness to risk life was the constitutive quality of the man of honour
     Full Idea: Willingness to risk life was the constitutive quality of the man of honour.
     From: Charles Taylor (Sources of the Self [1989], 13.1)
     A reaction: Which is why war is required. The growth of civil society meant the inevitable rise of other virtues.