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Philosophy Today

Volume 63, Issue 1, Winter 2019

Michiel Meijer
Pages 155-173

Ontological Gaps
Retrieving Charles Taylor’s Realism

This essay pursues the development of Charles Taylor’s ontological thought by comparing his—insightful yet neglected—early paper “Ontology” (1959) with his little-known essay “Ethics and Ontology” (2003) and his most matured ontological position in Retrieving Realism (2015). It also puts a spotlight on Taylor’s unusual “interwoven” mode of argumentation in between ethics, phenomenology, and ontology. In so doing, I aim, first, to show Taylor’s remarkable consistency; second, to unravel his hybrid position in between ethics, phenomenology, and ontology; third, to argue for a tension between Taylor’s phenomenological approach to ethics and his claims about ontology; and, fourth, to highlight his ongoing hesitation with regard to ontological inquiry in general and issues of moral realism in particular.

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