Monday, October 23, 2006

Sources of the Self

I mentioned earlier that I'm currently reading Charles Taylor's The Sources of the Self. I found today that C. John Sommerville, Professor of History at the University of Florida, has penned an interesting review of the book. Here are a couple of excerpts:

Did you ever think you would see a time when the most talked-about, most comprehensive and challenging book in academic philosophy would identify itself as Christian? Charles Taylor’s Sources of the Self has been out for fourteen years now and is being cited as “magisterial.” It is nothing less than a review of the whole history of Western philosophy on its central point. That is, how do we understand ourselves or our “identity,” and consequently how should we argue our political and social issues. . . .
Taylor may have thought he was writing for a general audience, but despite his efforts to be clear, it is a long and tough read. His efforts to show how philosophical views of the human found expression in painting and literature would be more interesting if we were all on his level. And he is frank in admitting that he is neglecting the social factors that might help explain the movements of thought. But Christians who were less than satisfied with Francis Schaeffer’s sketchy and flawed works, and do not know whether to trust Peter Kreeft’s somewhat tendentious surveys can feel more confident with Taylor. The book is an education in itself, if one has the patience. And one can be assured of knowing how an expert like Taylor surveys a playing field like philosophy.