Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On Charles Taylor

For a couple of years now, Kenny has been encouraging me to read Charles Taylor. At his suggestion some time ago I purchased Taylor's A Secular Age. Publisher's Weekly summarizes Taylor's philosophical tome in this manner:

In his characteristically erudite yet engaging fashion, Taylor, winner of the 2007 Templeton Prize, takes up where he left off in his magnificent Sources of the Self (1989) as he brilliantly traces the emergence of secularity and the processes of secularization in the modern age.
In the first paragraph of A Secular Age's first chapter, Taylor himself asks,
One way to put the question that I want to answer here is this: why was it virtually impossible not to believe in God in, say, 1500 in our Western society, while in 2000 many of us find this not only easy, but even inescapable?
Kenny's about to finish his course work at Johns Hopkins here in Charm City and if I don't finish the book soon, I'll lose my most valued interlocutor.

Towards the end of completing Secular Age, I've begun reading through this helpful overview that Kenny suggested.

The current nearly monolithic secular culture, when viewed from at least a prima facie perspective, is fascinating to me and I'm looking forward to learning Taylor's perspective on how this has come about.

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