Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity

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In this inquiry into the sources of modern selfhood, Charles Taylor shows that the modern turn inward is not disastrous but is in fact the result of our long efforts to define and reach the good. At the heart of this definition he finds what he calls the affirmation of ordinary life, a value that has decisively if not completely replaced an older conception of reason as connected to a hierarchy based on birth and wealth.

A collection of writings and artwork reflecting a cross-section of children's thoughts about God, as selected by the compiler from more than 4500 submissions.

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Editorial Reviews

New Republic
Taylor has taken on the most delicate and exacting of philosophical questions, the question of who we are and how we should live...and he has made this an adventure of self-discovery for his reader. To have accomplished so much is an important philosophical achievement.
New York Review of Books - Bernard Williams
Sources of the Self is in every sense a large book: in length and in the range of what it covers, but above all in the generosity and breadth of its sympathies and its interest in humanity...Few books on such large subjects are so engaging.
Times Literary Supplement - Jeremy Waldron
A magnificent account, full, fair, well read, well written, complicated and high spirited--a credit, one might say, to the modern self that is capable of plumbing the depths of its own heritage in such a generous way.
Jerome Bruner
Surely one of the most important philosophical works of the last quarter of a century.
Contemporary Sociology - Alan Wolfe
For sociologists, there is no more important philosopher writing in the world today than Charles Taylor.
Theology Today - Frances S. Adeney
Undoubtedly one of the most significant works in moral philosophy and the history of ideas to appear in recent decades.
Library Journal
This book is primarily a historical account of the modernist protest against the disengaged and instrumental modes of thought and action that arose when theistically grounded morality crumbled, but that themselves focused too little upon our inner life, i.e., our powers of creative imagination and the substantive goods of ordinary life, which Taylor alleges give meaning to human life. Associating each ideology with a particular conception of our identity as selves, he defends the modern view, keeping in mind that self-realization must recognize that some things are important beyond the self. Taylor rambles somewhat and often talks about `` the good,'' as though human beings were fungible in their capacities for appreciation and action; but the wealth of illustrative material and frequent insights are thought-provoking. For scholarly collections.-- Robert Hoffman, York Coll., CUNY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674824263
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1992
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 273,909
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Taylor is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at McGill University.
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Table of Contents

Preface; Part I. Identity and the Good: 1. Inescapable frameworks; 2. The self in moral space; 3. Ethics of inarticulacy; 4. Moral sources; Part II: Inwardness: 5. Moral topography; 6. Plato's self-mastery; 7. 'In Interiore Homine'; 8. Descartes's disengaged reason; 9. Locke's punctual self; 10. Exploring 'l'Humaine Condition'; 11. Inner nature; 12. A digression on historical explanation; Part III. The Affirmation of Ordinary Life: 13. 'God Loveth Adverbs'; 14. Rationalised Christianity; 15. Moral sentiments; 16. The providential order; 17. The culture of modernity; Part IV. The Voice of Nature: 18. Fractured horizons; 19. Radical enlightenment; 20. Nature as source; 21. The Expressivist turn; Part V. Subtler Languages: 22. Our Victorian contemporaries; 23. Visions of the post-romantic age; 24. Epiphanies of modernism; 25. Conclusion: the conflicts of modernity; Notes; Index.

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