Charles Taylor, Senior Research Fellow of the DLCC, has been named winner of the inaugural Berggruen Prize. The Berggruen prize of $1 million is awarded by the Berggruen Institute annually to a thinker whose ideas are of broad significance for shaping human self-understanding and the advancement of humanity. According the the institute the prize seeks to recognize and encourage philosophy in the ancient sense of the love of wisdom and in the 18th Century sense of intellectual inquiry into all the basic questions of human knowledge.
Charles Taylor has already received the prestigious Templeton Prize in 2007 and the Kyoto Prize for Thought and Ethics in 2008. He is Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec. Professor Taylor was for many years a Fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford where he was Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory from 1976 to 1981. He was also Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at McGill University where he is now Professor Emeritus.
Professor Taylor is a well-known critic of naturalism, which he defines as a family of theories that share the ambition to model the study of man on the natural sciences. This is reflected in his earliest monograph, The Explanation of Behaviour, and has been a central theme throughout his career. Professor Taylor has published numerous highly influential works in political philosophy where he is associated with the communitarian critique of liberalism. These include a number of reflections on the meaning and significance of modernity, such as his widely cited Sources of the Self. In recent years Professor Taylor has written extensively on the philosophy and sociology of religion, including his 2007 book, A Secular Age, described by the renowned sociologist Robert Bellah as ‘one of the most important books to be written in my lifetime.’