Professor Charles Taylor and Rev. Robert P. Imbelli: A conversation with Charles Taylor
Boston College, 2011
In the following interview, Philosopher Charles Taylor discusses the insights that can be gained by understanding the historical and cultural frameworks of Western secular modernity as contexts in which discussions or the content of religion have not only in some sense occurred, been inherited and must now occur and be justified in new settings but also distinguishes it as one kind of modernity amongst many other emerging modernities in the world.
When thinking about the role of Christian thought in the North-American and European modern secular world, Professor Taylor insists that he wants to think of its traditions and its bodies of thought in particular in the plural rather than solely in its orthodoxies, in the hope of capturing the variety of venues, e.g., “cross-over” dialogues, that have been taken by philosophers and practitioner over time and space. While Christian traditions share in some sense a common philosophical and theological strand or what Professor Taylor calls a “common ground” (e.g., in the Nicene Creed), it is important to remember that even what are perceived as obvious grounds have also been “differently conceived and lived” at the different times and places. Determining what is foundational for Catholicism in this context is largely difficult because of not only the various dialogues that are always going on but also the polemics that have “gotten us in grooves” in thinking of them. It is important to try to explore and uncover the role as well as its different manifestations and “starting points”.