15 March 2007

Canadian philosopher wins Templeton Prize

Charles Taylor (not to be confused with the Liberian ex-president) has won the US $1.5 million award for his study of the role spirituality plays in conflict resolution. Appropriately enough, he is the co-chair of a Quebec commission on "reasonable accommodation" (as we call it here), and is trying to discourage "mindless Islamophobia" (Christian Science Monitor).

1 comment:

Jose Andres said...

How does Charles Taylor define "spiritual", arguably one of the most ellusive concepts in philosophy? -- From the article, we learn that "South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), set up in 1995 to try to bind up the wounds of apartheid, is an example of how people with a spiritual dimension can see possibilities that weren't perceptible otherwise". I'm wondering if Taylor's use of the term "spiritual" might not also overlap or be better defined with what philosophers of ethics refer to as virtue or deontology? -- Or otherwise, how the pursuit of retribution is not an equally valid and alternate way (although not of equal merit) of tapping into the "spiritual" dimension, which Taylor denies?

On a side note, the author of the article mentions that the "[Tempelton] prize is set every year to exceed the value of the Nobel Prizes since, according to Templeton, "advances in spiritual discoveries can be quantifiably more vast than those from other worthy human endeavors." Early prizewinners included Mother Teresa ..." -- Didn't Mother Teresa also win the Nobel Peace prize? Interestingly, is this not a prize given for spiritual achievements and contributions to humanity as well?

Something Even More Magical

In other news...