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Dilemmas and Connections

Dilemmas and Connections

Selected Essays

Charles Taylor

ISBN 9780674284364

Publication date: 04/07/2014

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There are, always, more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in one’s philosophy—and in these essays Charles Taylor turns to those things not fully imagined or avenues not wholly explored in his epochal A Secular Age. Here Taylor talks in detail about thinkers who are his allies and interlocutors, such as Iris Murdoch, Alasdair MacIntyre, Robert Brandom, and Paul Celan. He offers major contributions to social theory, expanding on the issues of nationalism, democratic exclusionism, religious mobilizations, and modernity. And he delves even more deeply into themes taken up in A Secular Age: the continuity of religion from the past into the future; the nature of the secular; the folly of hoping to live by “reason alone”; and the perils of moralism. He also speculates on how irrationality emerges from the heart of rationality itself, and why violence breaks out again and again.

In A Secular Age, Taylor more evidently foregrounded his Catholic faith, and there are several essays here that further explore that faith. Overall, this is a hopeful book, showing how, while acknowledging the force of religion and the persistence of violence and folly, we nonetheless have the power to move forward once we have given up the brittle pretensions of a narrow rationalism.


  • Charles Taylor is one of the finest thinkers we have. And by ‘we’ I mean every striving, puzzled, intellectually alert person on the planet. Even when you dissent from his conclusions you’d be a dullard if you chose to ignore Taylor’s verve or the fabulous intellectual tussles his writings provoke. Mostly, you’ll find yourself agreeing with him and I can think of no better introduction to either pursuit (the cheering or the respectful booing) than this splendid book… The wisdom and learning on display is staggering.

    —Jonathan Wright, Catholic Herald


  • Charles Taylor is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at McGill University. Author of The Language Animal, Sources of the Self, The Ethics of Authenticity, and A Secular Age, he has received many honors, including the Templeton Prize, the Berggruen Prize, and membership in the Order of Canada.

Book Details

  • 424 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press

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