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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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... CharlesTaylor 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 ...
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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... culture of narcissism. If you rather admire these people’s attitudes and way of life, you may describe it as a culture of tolerance. If you have mixed feelings, you might settle for the description CharlesTaylor 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 ...


Rose George: A report from post-civil war Liberia

2 June 2005
... into its first proper peace since 1989, after 14 years of spectacularly brutal civil war, Liberia still doesn’t have electricity or running water. It hasn’t had any since February 1990, when CharlesTaylor – 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 ...
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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... to the other lectures only as they bear on those issues. Both of these lectures are thoughtful and powerful statements, and the points of view they express clash head-on. The lectures were given by CharlesTaylor (‘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 ...

Small America

Michael Peel: A report from Liberia

7 August 2003
... to a Liberian woman in the queue at Immigration. ‘It’s still the same,’ she said. In 1998, Liberia had just emerged from another devastating civil conflict, in which the current President, CharlesTaylor, 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 ...


Stanley Uys: Bush’s Bag

7 August 2003
... force. Susan Rice, the former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under Clinton, said she failed to ‘understand what they’re waiting for’. But it was plain enough – Bush wanted CharlesTaylor 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 ...
31 May 2017
... Soho headquarters bolstered two new publications, the New Reasoner and the Universities and Left Review, which involved not only Thompson, Saville and Samuel, but also Stuart Hall and the philosopher CharlesTaylor. 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 offices ...

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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... philosophy. Is the way we value justice or honesty really so different from the way we value living somewhere not ruined by redevelopment, or having friends with a sense of humor? One great virtue of CharlesTaylor’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 ...
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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... as that of spin without mass, how can it also be really composed of green grass and round tables? Five of the 12 essayists – Michael Dummett, P.F. Strawson, David Pears, D.M. Armstrong and CharlesTaylor – 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 ...
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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... She thus enlists Berlin’s ideas in a cause not usually associated with him. David Pears evokes the early days of Oxford analytic philosophy and Berlin’s perceptive involvement with it; CharlesTaylor 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 ...

What Philosophers Dream Of

Geoffrey Hawthorn: Bernard Williams

1 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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... establishment of civil rights in the 1960s and the domestic consequences of the Vietnam War, but these events don’t explain why Rawls and Dworkin and others wrote what they did. Those of us who, as CharlesTaylor 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 ...

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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... need not address the question of why one should resist power given that the very notion of abuse of power has been eliminated. He even considers this question – the question raised by Habermas, CharlesTaylor 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 ...
17 September 1981
After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory 
by Alasdair MacIntyre.
Duckworth, 252 pp., £24, July 1981, 0 7156 0933 5
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... conception itself were presented more fully and carefully – in relation, for example, to the recent thinking of philosophers like David Wiggins and Bernard Williams, Derek Parfit, Thomas Nagel and CharlesTaylor. (It might also be even harder.) As it is, there seem to be no grounds for optimism at all. For more than a quarter of a century I have found Alasdair MacIntyre the most stirring and the most ...


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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... who have for many years inhabited both communities and made significant attempts to interpret each to the other – such as Alan Montefiore, who contributes a useful introduction to this book, and CharlesTaylor – 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 ...
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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... This takes many guises: Alasdair MacIntyre has always been an anti-liberal and an enemy of the Enlightenment, though he has changed his positive allegiances a good deal; Michael Sandel, like CharlesTaylor 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 ...

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