VIDEO: What Does Poetry Prove About Humans?

A Philosopher Explains How Romantic Verse Shows the Moral Capacity of Language

In 1798, poet William Wordsworth and his sister took a walk in the Welsh countryside. The poem he wrote about that walk—“Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey”—moved readers deeply. Wordsworth was one of the leading poets of the Romantic era, and he called poetry “a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.”

What is it about humans and our relationship to language that allows us to be so moved by poetry? In this interview philosopher Charles Taylor talks about his next book, which contemplates the change in Romantic poetry, and …

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VIDEO: What Does Philosophy Need to Do in the Future?

Charles Taylor Urges His Peers to Think Like Historians, Musicians, and Sociologists

Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor is the 2016 recipient of the Berggruen Philosophy Prize for ideas that shape the world. His work has crossed disciplines from philosophy to political science, …

VIDEO: How to Struggle With Big Questions

For Charles Taylor, It Starts With Embracing and Overcoming Confusion

Charles Taylor’s 1989 book Sources of the Self is about 600 pages long, drawing on history, philosophy, poetry, music, and art to explain how the modern Western sense of …

VIDEO: Is Fighting Populist Anger a Losing Battle?

A Philosopher, Armed With "Crazy Optimism," Lays Out His Three-Front Counter-Attack

Populist anger is shaking the world, epitomized by the U.K.’s vote to “Brexit” the EU and even the election of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. In the U.S., …

How the Skull Is an Ally in Art

When the Ultimate Symbol of Death Serves as Muse, It Can Force Us to Confront Our Own Mortality

You walk through the darkness of the crypt, with choral music playing from hidden speakers. All around you, human bones are arranged in patterns, tiling the walls, divided by femurs, …

The Swag—and Swagger—Behind American Presidential Campaigns

From a Coloring Book to a Painted Axe, Election Ephemera Remind Us of Hard-Fought Elections of Yore

America’s founding is rooted in the power of the people to select their own leader. Efforts to sway the vote—via gritty campaigns driven by emotion, piles of cash, and brutal, …