Charles Taylor

Charles taylor

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Unformatted text preview: Charles Taylors work, The Ethics of Authenticity, begins by discussing three malaises that greatly trouble us in the modern world. These three malaises were described by Professor Pinkard as fragmentation, instrumentalization, and social atomism. The three malaises explain how we have gradually lost full legislation of our lives, only thinking in terms of what is the most efficient way to get to the next point and not aiming towards any ultimate end. The malaises of modernity also describe how we have fallen away from any free and communal sense of purpose, and have become too dependent on individualism. Society has promoted the idea that we ought to accept each others values and actions even if we do not agree with them because we expect to receive the same respect in return. Taylor describes this sort of thinking as soft relativism, the idea that there is nothing significant beyond what you choose for yourself. To Taylor, the cure for soft relativism is the notion of authenticity. Authenticity is being faithful to oneself despite all of the external pressures one faces in their day to day lives. However, it is not just a way of living with oneself without any interactions; it is a way of life we create with many other people. We are only able to fully live by being social and undertaking in dialogical relationships with others. Before the age of authenticity that Taylor speaks of, everyone was dependent on somebody else or was dependent on God. Their roles were set and people just accepted the identity that society gave them. Then the structure of life in Europe was changed and an emphasis on equality was developed. It was decided that everyone had an equal right to think for themselves and everyone ought to respect everyone elses choices, this is soft relativism. In soft relativism the only true horizon of significance is ones personal choices....
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This note was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course PHIL 050 taught by Professor Pinker during the Spring '08 term at Georgetown.

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