Charles Taylor's Doctrine of Strong Evaluation
Ethics and Ontology in a Scientific Age
By (author) Michiel Meijer
Publication date:14 November 2017
Length of book:226 pages
PublisherRowman & Littlefield International
This book provides a comprehensive critical account of the philosophy of Charles Taylor. The author engages with the secondary literature on Taylor's work and suggests that some interpretations and criticisms have been based on misunderstandings of the ontological dimension of strong evaluation, while also developing a novel interpretation of Taylor's ontological thought. Meijer argues that a close examination of Taylor’s central concept of “strong evaluation” reveals both the potential of and the tensions in his entire thinking. The analysis pursues the development of Taylor’s thought from his very first philosophical papers (1958) until his most recent reflections in Retrieving Realism (2015) and The Language Animal (2016). It also examines in detail Taylor’s ambitious philosophical project: to connect arguments in philosophical anthropology, ethics, phenomenology, and ontology across the full range of his diverse writings. The book therefore specifically traces the links between Taylor’s arguments, with strong evaluation as their unifying leitmotif.
I am grateful to Michiel Meijer for his interesting and challenging description of the inner relations – and tensions – in my account of human agency. There is certainly a lot more to be worked out in this area. His discussion should help further define the issues involved, which are central to our understanding of what it is to be human.