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The Anthropology of Secularity beyond Secularism

Ashley B. Lebner

This article begins by exploring why secular studies may be stagnating in anthropology. Contrary to recent arguments, I maintain that rather than widening the definition of secularism to address this, we should shift our focus, if only slightly. While secularism remains a worthy object, foregrounding it risks tying the field to issues of governance. I therefore suggest avoiding language that privileges it. Moreover, in returning to Talal Asad's 'secular', it becomes evident that care should be taken with the notion of 'secularism' to begin with, even if he did not emphasize this analytically. Conceiving of secularism as a transcendent political power, as Asad does, is not only a critique of a secularist narrative, but also a secularist truism itself that can potentially cloud ethnography if applied too readily. A way forward lies in carefully attending to secular concepts, as Asad suggests, and in exploring a version of secularity inspired by the work of Charles Taylor.

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'Condemned to Meaning'

A Critical Review of Recent Work on Charles Taylor

Deane-Peter Baker

Charles Taylor, by Ruth Abbey. Teddington, UK: Acumen, 2000. ISBN: 0691057141.

Charles Taylor: Meaning, Morals and Modernity, by Nicholas H. Smith. Cambridge: Polity, 2002. ISBN: 0742521273.

Charles Taylor: Thinking and Living Deep Diversity, by Mark Redhead. Lanham and Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. ISBN: 0745645767.

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Shakespeare and War

Honour at the Stake

Patrick Gray

reflects Fukuyama’s sense that what Shakespeare calls honour is a desire for what Hegel would call ‘recognition’ ( Anerkennung ). In keeping with Hegel, as well as other, latter-day Hegelians such as Charles Taylor and Axel Honneth, Fukuyama sees our desire

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Democratic Theory and the Question of Islam

Michaelle Browers

Anne Norton, On the Muslim Question (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), 288 pp., ISBN: 9781400846351

Alfred Stepan and Charles Taylor, eds., Boundaries of Toleration (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014), 328 pp., ISBN: 9780231165679

Mehrzad Boroujerdi, ed., Mirror for the Muslim Prince: Islam and the Theory of Statecraft (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2013), 448 pp., ISBN: 9780815632894

Wael B. Hallaq, The Impossible State: Islam, Politics and Modernity’s Moral Predicament (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), 272 pp., ISBN: 9780231162579

Ali Mirsepassi and Tadd Graham Fernée, Islam, Democracy and Cosmopolitanism: At Home and in the World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 225 pp., ISBN: 9781107053977

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Exceeding Recognition

Anita Chari

Hegel’s concept of recognition has been taken up by a number of thinkers, including Axel Honneth, Robert Williams, and Charles Taylor, under the banner of “the politics of recognition,” which pro- poses to put the concept of recognition to use in the service of a theory of politics that can respond to the problems of group-based structural injustice and subordination. According to these thinkers, equal recognition and the possibility of undistorted forms of communicative agreement serve as the regulative ideal that governs the ever-expanding horizon of a community of autonomous, mutually affirming equals, in which, as Honneth writes, each person has “the chance to know that he or she is socially esteemed with regard to his or her abilities.”

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'Don't Kick the Habit'

A Taylorian Critique of Rorty’s Achieving Our Country

Deane-Peter Baker

In his Theoria 97 (June 2001: 23-40) assessment of Richard Rorty’s Achieving Our Country, Fred Dallmayr agrees that Rorty’s criticism of the contemporary Left in America is necessary, that the Left has indeed lost the momentum that in previous years so impacted American society. He further agrees with Rorty that there is an important distinction to be made between the old-guard ‘reformist’ Left and the new orthodoxy of ‘cultural’ Leftism. Dallmayr argues, however, that Rorty’s critique is unbalanced, and is unfairly biased against the ‘cultural’ Left, despite the occasional conciliatory statement. He argues further that there is something worrying in the style of American pride that Rorty is promoting. In particular, argues Dallmayr, it seems to ignore the fact that in the contemporary world national boundaries can no longer be sharply defined, and the narrow form of national pride that Rorty seems to espouse can be a destructive force in the interwoven international community. Undoubtedly, Dallmayr makes some telling points against Rorty’s position in what is a thoughtful and well-crafted response. There is, however, more to be said, and I wish in this paper to add to Dallmayr’s critique, working from within the philosophical framework provided by Charles Taylor.1 I will also consider the attempt, made by Gary Gutting, to overcome some of the shortcomings of Rorty’s pragmatism by drawing on aspects of Taylor’s philosophy.

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Introduction

Concepts of Emotions in Indian Languages

Margrit Pernau

been mapped out will we be able to advance more solid claims about how concepts contributed to an interpretation of the world of emotions. It would be tempting to link this to assumptions regarding what Charles Taylor has called the transition from a

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Contemporary Perspectives on Nazi Germany

John Bendix

works of Theodor Adorno, Charles Taylor, Sigmund Freud, Franz Fanon, and Max Weber. Regrettably, he barely cites any of them subsequently, and these authors are also not used as part of an explanatory framework. Readers instead are drawn in with

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Cosmopolitan Politesse

Goodness, Justice, Civil Society

Nigel Rapport

contamination by irrational sentiment introducing arbitrary distinctions between people. While Habermas remains a committed advocate of the Kantian project, the weight of contemporary opinion is against him, according to Rorty. For Charles Taylor (1989) , we do

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Book Reviews

Stephen Louw, Michiel Meijer, and Tom Angier

societal relevance’ (p. 173). However, when looking at some of the philosophical laureates of the Berggruen Prize, this is not self-evident. The work of 2016 prize winner Charles Taylor, for example, is praised for urging us ‘to see humans as constituted