Taylor, Charles (1931–)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DD089-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved September 19, 2021, from

Article Summary

Among the most influential of late twentieth-century philosophers, Taylor has written on human agency, identity and the self; language; the limits of epistemology; interpretation and explanation in social science; ethics; and democratic politics. His work is distinctive because of his innovative treatments of long-standing philosophical problems, especially those deriving from applications of Enlightenment epistemology to theories of language, the self and political action, and his unusually thorough integration of ‘analytic’ and ‘continental’ philosophical concerns and approaches.

Taylor’s work is shaped by the view that adequate understanding of philosophical arguments requires an appreciation of their origins, changing contexts and transformed meanings. Thus it often takes the form of historical reconstructions that seek to identify the paths by which particular theories and languages of understanding or evaluation have been developed. This reflects both Taylor’s sustained engagement with Hegel’s philosophy and his resistance to epistemological dichotomies such as ‘truth’ and ‘falsehood’ in favour of a notion of ‘epistemic gain’ influenced by H.G. Gadamer.

    Citing this article:
    Calhoun, Craig. Taylor, Charles (1931–), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DD089-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
    Copyright © 1998-2021 Routledge.