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Jonathan Lear, 19 September 1985

Human Agency and Language. Philosophical Papers: Vol I 
by Charles Taylor.
Cambridge, 294 pp., £25, March 1985, 0 521 26752 8
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Philosophy and the Human Science. Philosophical Papers: Vol II 
by Charles Taylor.
Cambridge, 340 pp., £25, March 1985, 0 521 26753 6
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... Charles Taylor is, by his own admission, a hedgehog. Though the essays in these two volumes range over a variety of topics – the concept of a person, meaning, the value of cognitive psychology, sexuality as a mode of political control – they all argue for one basic idea: that the conceptions of objectivity and scientific method which we have inherited from the 17th century are unable to give us an account of ourselves ...

In a flattened world

Richard Rorty, 8 April 1993

The Ethics of Authenticity 
by Charles Taylor.
Harvard, 142 pp., £13.95, November 1992, 0 674 26863 6
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... it as a culture of tolerance. If you have mixed feelings, you might settle for the description Charles Taylor suggests: it is a culture of authenticity. Taylor says that we ought neither to boost this culture (in the manner of the truly dreadful books produced by representatives of ‘the human potential ...


Rose George: A report from post-civil war Liberia, 2 June 2005

... still doesn’t have electricity or running water. It hasn’t had any since February 1990, when Charles Taylor – former warlord, later president, currently in exile in Nigeria, where he’s still causing trouble, according to the Coalition for International Justice, funding armed groups and political parties across West Africa – sent his militia to ...

Small America

Michael Peel: A report from Liberia, 7 August 2003

... Liberia had just emerged from another devastating civil conflict, in which the current President, Charles Taylor, played a leading role. A former Government minister who fell out with the military regime of Samuel Doe, Taylor managed to escape from a Massachusetts jail in 1985: he was being held pending extradition on ...

The Partisan Coffee House

Nicholas Faith, 1 June 2017

... which involved not only Thompson, Saville and Samuel, but also Stuart Hall and the philosopher Charles Taylor. The two merged in 1960 to become the still thriving New Left Review, and for more than ten years after the Partisan’s closure the NLR enjoyed rent-free ...

Liberation Philosophy

Hilary Putnam, 20 March 1986

Philosophy in History: Essays in the Historiography of Philosophy 
edited by Richard Rorty, J.B. Schneewind and Quentin Skinner.
Cambridge, 403 pp., £27.50, November 1984, 0 521 25352 7
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... powerful statements, and the points of view they express clash head-on. The lectures were given by Charles Taylor (‘Philosophy and its History’ and by Richard Rorty (‘The Historiography of Philosophy: Four Genres’). They disagree not just over the ‘relation of philosophy to its history’ but in their conception of the kind of society we live in ...


Stanley Uys: Bush’s Bag, 7 August 2003

... she failed to ‘understand what they’re waiting for’. But it was plain enough – Bush wanted Charles Taylor to pack his bags and the whole Liberian mess to go away. The fighting was already intense when Bush embarked on an African tour, committing the United States to what could become a long drawn-out campaign against terrorism on the ...

Ayer, Anscombe and Empiricism

Alasdair MacIntyre, 17 April 1980

Perception and Identity: Essays presented to A.J. Ayer with his replies to them 
edited by G.E. MacDonald.
Macmillan, 358 pp., £15, December 1979, 0 333 27182 3
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Intention and Intentionality: Essays in Honour of G.E.M. Anscombe 
edited by Cora Diamond and Jenny Teichmann.
Harvester, 205 pp., £16.95, December 1979, 0 85527 985 0
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... Five of the 12 essayists – Michael Dummett, P.F. Strawson, David Pears, D.M. Armstrong and Charles Taylor – are concerned with these or with closely related questions. Collectively – taken together with those earlier writings of Ayer on which these essays are a commentary and with Ayer’s reply at the end of this book – they constitute an ...

God loveth adverbs

Jonathan Glover, 22 November 1990

Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity 
by Charles Taylor.
Cambridge, 601 pp., £25.95, November 1989, 0 521 38331 5
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... not ruined by redevelopment, or having friends with a sense of humor? One great virtue of Charles Taylor’s discussion of our values is that it escapes the narrowness of what is conventionally thought to be moral, and looks much more broadly. Another notable advance is that he goes beyond merely stating intuitions, and both shows how they used ...

On and off the page

Thomas Nagel, 25 July 1991

Isaiah Berlin: A Celebration 
by Edna Margalit and Avishai Margalit.
Hogarth, 224 pp., £25, June 1991, 0 7012 0925 9
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... evokes the early days of Oxford analytic philosophy and Berlin’s perceptive involvement with it; Charles Taylor discusses the legacy of Herder to contemporary philosophy, particularly the philosophy of language. I wish there had been more reminiscence and personal response from some of the contributors. Berlin’s pervasive sense of the comic and absurd ...

What Philosophers Dream Of

Geoffrey Hawthorn: Bernard Williams, 2 July 2015

Essays and Reviews 1959-2002 
by Bernard Williams.
Princeton, 435 pp., £24.95, January 2014, 978 0 691 15985 0
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... events don’t explain why Rawls and Dworkin and others wrote what they did. Those of us who, as Charles Taylor put it in Sources of the Self, ‘feel particularly strongly the demand for universal justice and beneficence, are particularly sensitive to the claims of equality, feel the demands to freedom and self-rule as axiomatically justified, and put ...


Alasdair MacIntyre, 16 April 1981

Modern French Philosophy 
by Vincent Descombes, translated by Lorna Scott Fox.
Cambridge, 192 pp., £14.50, January 1981, 0 521 22837 9
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... to the other – such as Alan Montefiore, who contributes a useful introduction to this book, and Charles Taylor – is perhaps chiefly important for the evidence it affords of deep-seated resistance to mutual understanding. Vincent Descombes’s new book is therefore timely, particularly as it is the most comprehensive and the most philosophically acute ...

Je m’en Foucault

Vincent Descombes, 5 March 1987

Foucault: A Critical Reader 
edited by David Hoy.
Blackwell, 246 pp., £27.50, September 1986, 0 631 14042 5
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by Gilles Deleuze.
Minuit, 141 pp., frs 58, February 1986, 2 7073 1086 7
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... of power has been eliminated. He even considers this question – the question raised by Habermas, Charles Taylor and Walzer – ‘silly’. In his view, Foucault’s real difficulty lay in the fact that the ‘strategic’ analysis of power relations did not allow him to answer a different question: how can one resist force? If you are powerless, you ...

The Right Stuff

Alan Ryan, 24 November 1994

The Principle of Duty 
by David Selbourne.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 288 pp., £17.99, June 1994, 1 85619 474 4
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... Enlightenment, though he has changed his positive allegiances a good deal; Michael Sandel, like Charles Taylor and Pope John Paul II, makes a great thing of ‘identity’. They stress the difference between the way we are ‘constituted’ by our membership in a variety of communities and the ‘abstract’ individuals that thinkers obsessed with ...

Unrenounceable Core

David Nirenberg: Who were the Marranos?, 23 July 2009

The Other Within The Marranos: Split Identity and Emerging Modernity 
by Yirmiyahu Yovel.
Princeton, 490 pp., £24.95, February 2009, 978 0 691 13571 7
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... pertinent “-ation”.’ These claims are ambitious, amounting to an alternative account of what Charles Taylor calls the ‘sources of the self’. Like Taylor, Yovel is a philosophy professor, and his starting point is a philosophical account of modernity: Hegel, the philosopher of modernity par excellence, placed ...

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