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The Ethics of Authenticity de Charles Taylor
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The Ethics of Authenticity (edició 1992)

de Charles Taylor

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Everywhere we hear talk of decline, of a world that was better once, maybe fifty years ago, maybe centuries ago, but certainly before modernity drew us along its dubious path. While some lament the slide of Western culture into relativism and nihilism and others celebrate the trend as a liberating sort of progress, Charles Taylor calls on us to face the moral and political crises of our time, and to make the most of modernity's challenges. At the heart of the modern malaise, according to most accounts, is the notion of authenticity, of self-fulfillment, which seems to render ineffective the whole tradition of common values and social commitment. Though Taylor recognizes the dangers associated with modernity's drive toward self realization, he is not as quick as others to dismiss it. He calls for a freeze on cultural pessimism. In a discussion of ideas and ideologies from Friedrich Nietzsche to Gail Sheehy, from Allan Bloom to Michel Foucault, Taylor sorts out the good from the harmful in the modern cultivation of an authentic self. He sets forth the entire network of thought and morals that link our quest for self-creation with our impulse toward self-fashioning, and shows how such efforts must be conducted against an existing set of rules, or a gridwork of moral measurement. Seen against this network, our modern preoccupations with expression, rights, and the subjectivity of human thought reveal themselves as assets, not liabilities. By looking past simplistic, one-sided judgments of modern culture, by distinguishing the good and valuable from the socially and politically perilous, Taylor articulates the promise of our age. His bracing and provocative book gives voice to the challenge of modernity, and calls on all of us to answer it.… (més)
Membre:MichaelCO
Títol:The Ethics of Authenticity
Autors:Charles Taylor
Informació:Harvard University Press (1992), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 142 pages
Col·leccions:Llegit, però no el tinc
Valoració:
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The Ethics of Authenticity de Charles Taylor

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Listened to the lectures on the CBC website: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/the-1991-cbc-massey-lectures-the-malaise-of-moder...

In this series of lectures, Charles Taylor responds to conservatives (and anybody else) who worries that the rise of modern individualism is a threat to humanity. These worries derive from the fear that modern individualism entails a kind of relativism (which amounts to amoralism), ultimately leading to the breakdown of society. This view, which he calls the "view from Dover Beach" in reference to the poem by Matthew Arnold, can be found articulated in books like The Closing of the American Mind by Harold Bloom. His response to these critics is that, contrary to what may seem to be the case, modern individualism arises out of an ethical paradigm with its own presuppositions and moral strictures and need not lead to the kinds of consequences that these critics draw from it. He is careful to say that modern individualism as we find it commonly expressed is more often than not a "debased" or "trivialized" form of it, which lazily misinterprets or completely ignores some of the foundational ideas that went into it historically. His argument is that a more complex form of individualism, properly understood, can (and must) be "recovered", which can overcome these sources of malaise.

He argues that the soft relativism that people commonly draw out of individualism is not really a logical consequence of it, and in fact contradicts it in some ways. For while people may issue truisms such as "you do you" or "doing your own thing" as a way of saying that one must make one's own moral choices, there are still background assumptions about which sort of choices have significance in the first place. Which means that self-fulfillment morality is not, ultimately, relativistic.

He also highlights a tension in modern individualism, which is, on one hand, the drive or desire to break away from common morality and create one's own morality in a sort of artistic/aesthetic way (as one finds in Nietzsche), yet on the other the understanding and articulation of significance itself, which comes to us from society, and the social recognition and acceptance that everyone understands to be an essential component of, and proper response to, individual identity and the value of the individual. I want to break away and be original and set the terms of my own unique existence, but I also ought to be recognized and appreciated and validated for it. (This is why intimate relationships, as well as politics, can be so fraught with tension these days.)

He also gives some very brief remarks about other common malaises: first, the worry that technology (and the instrumental reason giving rise to it) has become a determining force in our lives; and second, Tocqueville's prediction that individualism in a democracy would disembed people entirely from civic life. To the former, Taylor replies that there is a circular relationship between our tools and how we use them, and how we inflect our discussion around issues of science and technology can liberate us from their control. And to the latter, he replies that while Tocqueville's fear of a soft-despotic government ruling over self-concerned individuals has not come true, there is a different sort of danger that has arisen: namely that, feeling despondent about attaining a majority consensus, people will cluster (and are clustering) themselves around single-issue platforms in order to make their voices heard.

Some reviewers have said his examples here are a little dated, and maybe they are, but I think his observations are remarkably prescient. The danger with single-issue politics, Taylor says, is that it doesn't form majority consensus and embody a democratic will. This means that our society is more likely to be driven by "invisible hand" mechanisms instead (like technology and market economy) and we will be at their mercy. This is especially relevant, I think, for everybody from Evangelical Christians to BLM protesters who, wishing to transform society into one more in keeping with their values, are actually deepening the divides and diminishing our society's control over itself.

These observations seem almost blasé now -- but Taylor's analysis provides further reason for why people should stop drawing lines in the sand and try to listen to each other and find common ground instead. And his insights into the ethics of modern individualism could help point us in the direction of doing that effectively. Again, all of this is very brief -- Taylor himself admits that his arguments are merely sketches -- but I found these lectures enlightening, and an effective antidote to the pessimism of The Closing of the American Mind. ( )
  exhypothesi | Mar 7, 2021 |
Based on a series of lectures delivered in 1991, there is a significant difference between the text and the audio. Oscillating between dense inacessibility and plain speech, between profundidty and glib naive generalisations, this is a fantastic example of Canadian Idealism. It would be unfair and simplistic to describe this as a book in favour of reformism, or to characterise the book as saying "for the left to win it must sound like or entertain the arguments of the right." And yet there is something very Canadian about arguing that "all sides" are valid, striking a balance between all positions, and and seeking to muddle through. Of course Taylor insists he is not advocating balance, but rather going back to the original ideas of, in this case, primarily authenticity, and re-emphasising the good parts of those ideas. Reframing the argument away from 'is the quest for authenticity good or bad' to 'how can we produce good authenticity.' This is similar to the way Alain de Botton argues for good porn, instead of for or against porn, etc etc. And yet. What are the limits of this style of argument? Will we find ourselves arguing for better facism instead of being simplistically for or against facism? I remove from context, simplify and exagerrate. I know. But. There is much to be said both for and against Canadian Idealism. This book can serve as a useful place to start such a discussion. ( )
  GeorgeHunter | Sep 13, 2020 |
LA ÉTICA DE LA AUTENTICIDAD
El ensayo que se traduce en este volumen, La ética de la autenticidad, según el título de la edición norteamericana, o El malestar de la modernidad, según reza la primera versión canadiense, es el último libro publicado por el filósofo canadiense, es el último libro publicado por el filósofo canadiense Charles Taylor (1931) y puede ser presentado como una culminación de su obra más extensa, Sources of the Self. The Making of Modern Identity. El trabajo de Taylor, profesor de filosofía en la Universidad de McGill, es exponente de una perspectiva hermenéutica que se encamina a la critica social y cultural. El presente ensayo indaga las formas y las causadas del individualismo ético moderno frente al cual realiza un esfuerzo de recuperación de las fuentes sustantivas de valoración de determinadas tradiciones culturales. Charles Taylor muestra aquí, también, un ejercicio de su comunitarismo democrático al reivindicar el lugar central de las comunidades en la constitución de la identidad personal y colectiva.
  FundacionRosacruz | Nov 17, 2017 |
(Rating: 2.5 /5.0, rounded up) ( )
  rabbit.blackberry | Oct 19, 2017 |
(Rating: 2.5 /5.0, rounded up) ( )
  rabbit.blackberry | Oct 19, 2017 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 6 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Man finner ikke frem til hva som er verdifullt ved å rote på soveværelset, derimot finner man det ved å analysere de historisk frembragte, kollektive forestillinger det moderne selvet har om seg selv. Charles Taylor er professor ved McGill University, Canada og leverer med Autentisitetens etikk (The Malaise of Modernity) et viktig bidrag til debatten om det moderne samfunnets grunnlag og fremtidsutsikter. Oversatt av Petter Nafstad
 

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Everywhere we hear talk of decline, of a world that was better once, maybe fifty years ago, maybe centuries ago, but certainly before modernity drew us along its dubious path. While some lament the slide of Western culture into relativism and nihilism and others celebrate the trend as a liberating sort of progress, Charles Taylor calls on us to face the moral and political crises of our time, and to make the most of modernity's challenges. At the heart of the modern malaise, according to most accounts, is the notion of authenticity, of self-fulfillment, which seems to render ineffective the whole tradition of common values and social commitment. Though Taylor recognizes the dangers associated with modernity's drive toward self realization, he is not as quick as others to dismiss it. He calls for a freeze on cultural pessimism. In a discussion of ideas and ideologies from Friedrich Nietzsche to Gail Sheehy, from Allan Bloom to Michel Foucault, Taylor sorts out the good from the harmful in the modern cultivation of an authentic self. He sets forth the entire network of thought and morals that link our quest for self-creation with our impulse toward self-fashioning, and shows how such efforts must be conducted against an existing set of rules, or a gridwork of moral measurement. Seen against this network, our modern preoccupations with expression, rights, and the subjectivity of human thought reveal themselves as assets, not liabilities. By looking past simplistic, one-sided judgments of modern culture, by distinguishing the good and valuable from the socially and politically perilous, Taylor articulates the promise of our age. His bracing and provocative book gives voice to the challenge of modernity, and calls on all of us to answer it.

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