Taylor, Charles (1931–)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DD089-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved October 27, 2021, from

2. Hegel

The same issues motivate much of Taylor’s engagement with Hegel. Hegel too challenged the reigning epistemological tradition and especially its atomistic inattention to the necessary relatedness of all subjects and objects, and to the internal differentiation of both subjects and objects. He argued that any adequate account of the human subject must rely on an understanding of persons as existing only in interaction, as becoming individuals only through participation in an intersubjective reality. Taylor argues that this richer account of the person requires an understanding of language as not merely neutrally picking out objects of attention or reflecting pre-given inner states, but as helping to constitute phenomena and our understanding of external phenomena. Following Johann Herder (see Herder, J. §2), Taylor places these positions on bases significantly different from Hegel’s.

This is necessary because Taylor holds that Hegel ultimately failed to achieve the rational certainty about the absolute that he sought. Hegel’s arguments reveal an interpretive vision of power and insight, but not a system of determinate necessity. Building then on the critical foundation he shares in large part with Hegel, but rejecting the more extreme claims of Hegel’s Logic and related elements of his substantive philosophical anthropology and social theory, Taylor has sought to advance an understanding of the nature and activities of and relations among human subjects and of the kind of science that can grasp these subjects, their relations and activities. This entails moving ‘beyond epistemology’, but not following Hegel in the attempt to ground all argument in ontology.

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