Title: A Secular Age
Publisher: Harvard University Press Sep 2007
Publication Date: 2007
Book Condition: Neu
Neuware - Taylor takes up the question of what happens when a society in which it is virtually impossible not to believe in God becomes one in which faith, even for the staunchest believer, is only one human possibility among others. 896 pp. Englisch. Bookseller Inventory # 9780674026766
Synopsis: What does it mean to say that we live in a secular age? Almost everyone would agree that we - in the West, at least - largely do. And clearly the place of religion in our societies has changed profoundly in the last few centuries. In what will be a defining book for our time, Charles Taylor takes up the question of what these changes mean - of what, precisely, happens when a society in which it is virtually impossible not to believe in God becomes one in which faith, even for the staunchest believer, is only one human possibility among others.Taylor, long one of our most insightful thinkers on such questions, offers a historical perspective. He examines the development in "Western Christendom" of those aspects of modernity which we call secular. What he describes is in fact not a single, continuous transformation, but a series of new departures, in which earlier forms of religious life have been dissolved or destabilized and new ones have been created. As we see here, today's secular world is characterized not by an absence of religion - although in some societies religious belief and practice have markedly declined - but rather by the continuing multiplication of new options, religious, spiritual, and anti-religious, which individuals and groups seize on in order to make sense of their lives and give shape to their spiritual aspirations.What this means for the world - including the new forms of collective religious life it encourages, with their tendency to a mass mobilization that breeds violence - is what Charles Taylor grapples with, in a book as timely as it is timeless.
"Charles Taylor accepts, as his book's title suggests, that we live in a secular age but
describes it in a way that is, I think, fundamentally correct. This book is the most
thorough study yet of the intellectual history of how the modern secular age has come
about. One of the interesting features of this major study is the way Taylor finds the
roots of our present humanism in the Middle Ages. This summary does not do justice
to the many sub-division and subtleties of this extensive book by an author who draws
widely on French and German sources as well as British and American ones in an
absorbing intellectual history." -- -Richard Harries, Times Higher Education Supplement, 5 October 2007
"Taylor is arguably the most interesting and important philosopher writing in English
today. Like Taylor's early work, [this book], is in part a quarrel with naturalism - in
this case naturalistic accounts of religion's place in the modern world. A Secular Age
sets out to offer a richer characterisation of secularisation and the nature of
contemporary belief, both religious and sceptical. Taylor writes brilliantly about the
new social forms -- the nation state, the market economy, the charitable enterprise --
and the ideals of altruism and public service that have emerged within them."
-- - Ben Rogers, Prospect, 1 February 2008
"Working through Mr Taylor's careful but idiosyncratic prose one finds big nuggets
of insight, useful to almost anybody with an interest in the progress of human
-- -Economist, 8 Sept 2007
In a determinedly brilliant new book, Charles Taylor challenges the `subtraction theory' of secularisation
-- London Review of Books, 7 August 2008
[Taylor] offers a uniquely rich historical and philosophical overview of how we came to take a disenchanted world for granted.
-- Times Literary Supplement, 28 November 2008
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