Charles Taylor at the front line in Canadian politics


The idea that philosophy should be at the front line is a challenging one. We owe it to the great Czech philosopher, Jan Patočka (1907–1977). Patočka thought that philosophical reflection should not hide itself from the moral and political perils of the surrounding environment. Ever since the mid-1950s, when he was a student at Oxford at the time of harsh Soviet repression in Hungary, Charles Taylor has maintained a keen interest for the history and intellectual life of Central and Eastern Europe, “the community of the unsettled” so dear to the heart of Patočka. It makes sense, in this context, to use one of Patočka’s famous expressions to characterize Taylor’s involvement in the politics of his own country. Indeed, ever since his return to Canada in 1960, Taylor has pursued a philosophical career while being present at the political front line.


Laforest, G. (2018). « Charles Taylor at the front line in Canadian politics », Philosophy & Social Criticism, vol. 44, no 7, p. 796-799.

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