Charles Taylor

Modernity, Freedom and Community

Author(s): Keith Spence

Language: English

Genre(s): Philosophy

  • April 2007 · 208pages · 216x138mm

  • ·Hardback - 9780708317914

About The Book

Charles Taylor's wide-ranging works include the interpretations of the German philosopher Hegel, "Sources of the Self", the influential historical and philosophical investigation of the development of the modern identity and the discussion "Multiculturalism and 'The Politics of Recognition'", a key point of departure for ongoing debates regarding pluralism and cultural difference within modern societies. This study outlines Taylor's distinctive method of philosophical interpretation, examines its application through the concepts of modernity, freedom and community, and offers an overall assessment of his contribution to political theory and the theory and practice of democracy. Taylor's major works are sympathetically expounded and assessed in their own terms, and also situated in the context of debates - involving Taylor's own engagement with thinkers including Isaiah Berlin, John Rawls and Michel Foucault - that continue to shape the development of political philosophy.


Introduction; Introduction; Background: The intellectual and political contexts of Taylor’s work; Taylor’s project: Change and continuity; Key themes: Modernity, Freedom and Community; Part One: Modernity; I Interpreting Modernity; Modernity as a contested concept; Origins: Kant and Hegel; Contemporary assessments; Taylor, Hegel and Modernity; Conclusion: renewing modernity; II The Modern Identity: Taylor and Sources of the Self; Sources of the Self: Ambition and method; Instrumentalism and Expressivism; The conflicts of modernity: key encounters; Problems and prospects: assessing the ‘predicament of our time’; Conclusion; Part Two: Freedom; III Debating Freedom; Introduction; Berlin on Liberty; Taylor contra Berlin; Liberalism and Libertarianism; Freedom and Power; Freedom and Domination; Conclusion: the possibility of freedom; IV Freedom and Self-interpretation; Against atomism; Self-interpretation; Agency and embodiment; Strong evaluation; Interpretation and freedom; Conclusion; Part Three: Community; V Language and Community; Introduction: the liberal – communitarian debate; Language and intersubjectivity; Shared and common meanings: the constitution of community; A brief history of community; Modernity and community; Conclusion: reinterpreting community; VI Multiculturalism: Taylor and the Politics of Recognition; The malaise of modernity; Subjectivism and fragmentation; The politics of recognition; Recognition and reconciliation: the case of Canada; Diversity and its alternatives; Conclusion; Conclusion: Democracy, Pluralism and the Public Sphere; Introduction: ontology and advocacy; Democracy and freedom; Politics and deliberation; The boundaries of the public sphere; Unlocking the Iron Cage? Conclusion: modernity, freedom and community

About the Author(s)

Keith Spence

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