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Templeton Prize goes to Canadian Charles Taylor, longtime foe of reductionism


Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor has won the Templeton Prize:

Taylor has long objected to what many social scientists take for granted, namely that the rational movement that began in the Enlightenment renders such notions as morality and spirituality as simply quaint anachronisms in the age of reason. That narrow, reductive sociological approach, he says, wrongly denies the full account of how and why humans strive for meaning which, in turn, makes it impossible to solve the world’s most intractable problems ranging from mob violence to racism to war.

“The deafness of many philosophers, social scientists and historians to the spiritual dimensions can be remarkable,” Taylor said in remarks prepared for the news conference. “This is the more damaging in that it affects the culture of the media and of educated public opinion in general.”


The Foundation noted that Taylor’s selection as the 2007 Templeton Prize Laureate will launch a broad, online discussion of the question, “What role does spiritual thinking have in the 21st Century?” at its website, www.templeton.org

Wow. Does he know how to spell e.v.o.l.u.t.i.o.n.a.r.y p.s.y.c.h.o.l.o.g.y ? I mean, if he was looking for a virtual laboratory example, there it is.

By the way, I put up a bunch of stuff recently at the Mindful Hack, which keeps tabs on neuroscience and the mind.

Templeton Prize winner Taylor is on PBS News Hour Tues ~7:40 PM EST March 20th DLH
I’m a bit confused by O'Leary’s comment to the posted article. Is not Charles Taylor supporting the notion that spiritualism has a place? Especially after the remark “The deafness of many philosophers, social scientists and historians to the spiritual dimensions can be remarkable,”. Even the title says he is a 'Foe of reductionism' and evolutionary psychology is a form of reductionism if one considerers that the mind or behaviour is irreducibly complex, yes? chance
“What role does spiritual thinking have in the 21st Century?” at its website, If we are not careful what will happen is "spiritual thinking" will make a comeback but will be just as pointless, man-centered and idolotrous as Darwinian materialism. There is a reason why the scientific revolution happened in Christian Europe. tribune7
Sure appreciate you're keeping us posted on this subject. Naturalism offers no moral foundation whatsoever—just the evo psych idiocy you mention and the bioethics of such notables as Peter Singer. I agree with J. Budziszewski that ethics is reachable by reason—just like mathematics—but the Zeitgeist disallows reason when it comes to ethics—just as when it comes to origins. There is, I believe, another factor necessary in the pursuit of ethics. We’ve got to accept that agency cannot be a mechanistic operation, but rather is elemental, which is where Angus Menuge comes in. Biblically, for what it's worth, this is not the spirit (Job 32:8; 1Cor 2:11) but rather the soul. The soul sins, not the spirit (Ezekiel 18:4, 20), “The soul that sinneth, it shall die [הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַחֹטֵאת הִיא תָמוּת].” And it’s not the spirit but the soul that needs atonement (Leviticua 17:11), “for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul [כִּי הַדָּם הוּא בַּנֶּפֶשׁ יְכַפֵּר].” But we’re way past all this now. No way could the Bible inform our thinking about morals—there cannot even be the suspicion of such—note how the outrage over General Peter Pace is already up on Wikipedia—which calls to mind David Klinghoffer back on February 25, “Try to imagine a mainstream Republican officeholder or conservative journalist arguing against gay marriage because the Bible forbids it.” No, I think we need all three—some concept of natural law, an understanding of the soul as elemental and responsible, and the Holy Book upon which American office holders still swear. Sadly Western Civ now rejects all of it. I have heard Phillip Johnson invoke Romans 1:28—“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which [ought not be done] …” Well I’ve blathered pretty long here—so maybe this from left field—anyone here able to check on the following? International Summer Atelier: Modeling Language Evolution with Computational Construction Grammar to be held in Erice (Sicily), Italy, July 14-19, 2007. They say, “The field of evolutionary linguistics is still in its infancy and there are many opportunities for great discoveries by aspiring graduate and PhD students and young researchers.” Rude

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