Charles Taylor
#1197 Overall Influence

Charles Taylor

Canadian philosopher

About

Why is this person notable and influential?

Charles Taylor is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at McGill University, Canada. He is known best for his contributions to political philosophy, the philosophy of social science, and the philosophy of history and intellectual history. Taylor received a bachelor’s degree in History from McGill in 1953. As a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, Taylor took a first-class bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) from Oxford in 1961. Notably, his supervisor was Isaiah Berlin, the renowned British social and political theorist.

Taylor is considered part of the tradition of Canadian idealism, which itself traces back to British idealism as in the works of George Berkeley. He holds to the view that we cannot make sense of the world by representations and rules; following German philosopher Wittgenstein he believes that our ability follow rules and understand concepts takes place against a background of “tacit” or non-symbolic understanding, grounded in our experience of life. Taylor is also known for his rejection of naturalism, the philosophical position that the natural sciences should ground all of our knowledge. In place of naturalistic theories, Taylor offers hermeneutics, the view that we gain knowledge by interpreting meanings in communication acts rather than by a scientific and rational foundation. Taylor is also skeptical of secularism, at least as it has been used to argue for the shrinking of religious ideas in society.

Taylor’s work spans decades and his is truly an influential and respected philosopher. In addition to his Rhodes Scholarship at the outset of his studies at Oxford, Taylor has also won the Kyoto Prize, the Templeton Prize, the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy, and the John W. Kluge Prize.

Featured in Top Influential Philosophers Today

Major published works by Charles Taylor:

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Schools

What schools is this person affiliated with?
Northwestern University
Northwestern University

Private research university with campuses in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, United States

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Université de Montréal
Université de Montréal

University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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McGill University
McGill University

English-language public research university in Montreal, Quebec

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Notable Works

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Influence Rankings by Discipline

How’s this person influential?
#53 World Rank
Political Science
#174 World Rank
Philosophy
#272 World Rank
Sociology