In this inquiry into the sources of modern selfhood, Charles Taylor shows that the modern turn inward is not disastrous but is in fact the result of our long efforts to define and reach the good. At the heart of this definition he finds what he calls the affirmation of ordinary life, a value that has decisively if not completely replaced an older ...
In this inquiry into the sources of modern selfhood, Charles Taylor shows that the modern turn inward is not disastrous but is in fact the result of our long efforts to define and reach the good. At the heart of this definition he finds what he calls the affirmation of ordinary life, a value that has decisively if not completely replaced an older conception of reason as connected to a hierarchy based on birth and wealth. In telling the story of a revolution whose proponents have been Augustine, Montaigne, Luther, and a host of others, Taylor's goal is in part to make sure we do not lose sight of their goal and endanger all that has been achieved. Sources of the Self provides a decisive defense of the modern order and a sharp rebuff to its critics.
New. Here is a timely reaction to the narrowness of the type of academic scholarship that has little effect on the world outside academia. Taylor, a long-time professor of philosophy at Oxford, examines and rearticulates the major strands of commitment and theory that converge to form our present perception of personhood. Unlike most modern moral philosophy, he is not so much elucidating what we think it is right to do, rather his focus is on what we perceive it is good to be. As can be expected, this is a broad, comprehensive study involving a tremendous amount of research and reflection which serves ultimately to show how Taylor's picture of the modern identity can shape our view of the moral predicament of our time. In the end, Taylor offers hope: ''There is a large element of hope. It is a hope I see implicit in Judeo-Christian theism (however terrible the record of its adherents in history), and its central promise of a divine affirmation of the human, more total than humans can ever attain unaided. '' 601 pp.
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