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Laitinen, Arto

Strong Evaluation without Moral Sources

On Charles Taylor's Philosophical Anthropology and Ethics

Series:Quellen und Studien zur Philosophie 86

    164,95 € / $189.99 / £148.99*

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    Publication Date:
    December 2008
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    Aims and Scope

    Charles Taylor (1931- ) is one of the leading living philosophers. This is the first extended study on the key notions of his views in philosophical anthropology and ethical theory. Firstly, Laitinen clarifies, qualifies and defends Taylor's thesis that transcendental arguments show that personal understandings concerning ethical and other values (so called "strong evaluation") is necessary, in different ways, for human agency, selfhood, identity and personhood. Secondly, Laitinen defends and develops in various ways Taylor's value realism. Finally, the book criticizes Taylor's view that it is necessary to identify and locate a constitutive source of value, such as God, Nature or Human Reason. Taylor relies heavily on this claim in his accounts of moral life, modern identity and, most recently, secularisation. Laitinen argues that the whole notion of constitutive moral source should be dropped – Taylor's views concerning strong evaluation and value realism are distorted by the question of constitutive "moral sources".

    Supplementary Information


    xii, 385 pages
    Type of Publication:
    Ethics; Philosophical Anthropology; Taylor, Charles; Theories of Selfhood and Personhood; Value theory

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    Arto Laitinen, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Finnland.


    “One of the most careful and thorough explications of Taylor’s work in the field of moral theory that I have ever encountered, going into detailed interrogations of matters that other commentators, including myself, have dealt in a much more superficial way. It makes a major contribution to the growing literature on the meaning and significance of Taylor’s thought. I have learnt a great deal from it and am confident that future readers will too. The book proposes answers to key questions about moral life in a very thoughtful, well-informed and sometimes counterintuitive way.”

    Ruth Abbey, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA

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