VIDEO: Are You an Optimist?

Charles Taylor on Hope as a Matter of Faith and Morality

It’s harder to be an optimist when times are uncertain than when they are relatively sunny. Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, professor emeritus at McGill University, explains the sources of his optimism.

Since the 1960s Taylor has written about the humanities, sociology, political science, and the history of philosophy. Through his writing (16 books plus contributions to many others), teaching, and collaborations, Taylor has plumbed the mysteries of how we understand ourselves as well as how we may come to understand others who hold markedly different beliefs and values. In addition …

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VIDEO: Where Is Multiculturalism Working?

Charles Taylor On How The Enthusiasm of Successful Immigrants Affirms Native Pride

Multiculturalism has become a loaded word, with cities like Paris and Brussels becoming emblematic of the failure of the ideal of different cultures and religions living together. Canadian philosopher …

VIDEO: Do Philosophers Have an Obligation to the World?

Charles Taylor on Why Those Who See a Path to Positive Change Must Share It

Philosophy has a reputation for being abstract and analytical, somewhat apart from the world. So we asked Charles Taylor if philosophers have an obligation to the world we live …

VIDEO: Why Should Philosophers Go Into Politics?

How Charles Taylor's Foray Into Public Life Provoked Conversations That Fueled the Life of the Mind

Philosopher Charles Taylor has had a life in politics as well as academia. During the 1950s, when he was studying philosophy at Oxford, he wrote and edited Universities and …

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 …

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, …