SPECTERS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY: Charles Taylor and the Problem of Historicism
Article first published online: 17 JAN 2012
© 2012 Journal of Religious Ethics, Inc.
Journal of Religious Ethics
Volume 40, Issue 1, pages 171–192, March 2012
How to Cite
Woodford, P. (2012), SPECTERS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY: Charles Taylor and the Problem of Historicism. Journal of Religious Ethics, 40: 171–192. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9795.2011.00514.x
- Issue published online: 17 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 17 JAN 2012
- Charles Taylor;
- normativity in religious studies;
- A Secular Age;
- Wilhelm Dilthey;
This paper identifies and analyzes the problem of historicism in Charles Taylor's work overall, but with particular emphasis on his most recent publication, A Secular Age. I circumscribe the problem of historicism through reference to the nineteenth-century German philosophical tradition in which it developed, in particular in the thought of Wilhelm Dilthey. I then trace the structural similarities between the notions of history to be found in the thought of Taylor and Dilthey and how these structural similarities raise worries associated with the problem of historicism. I argue that the structural aporia of historicism evident in Taylor's work brings to light a live philosophical problem that is basic to theoretical debates in the study religion.