Volume 63, Issue 1, Winter 2019
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.