On 5/16/06, Teemu Pyyluoma <teme17@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
I'm not surprised that Phil Enns read this book, but why are you interested in it?
For several reasons. First, I'm an anthropologist, and how to describe the selves of people whose assumptions may be radically different from the person doing the describing is a classic anthropological problem. Second, what it means to be modern (as opposed to pre- or post- modern) is an issue in which I have long taken an interest. Thus the title caught my attention.
At the moment what interests me most is how the philosopher develops an argument after giving up the classic ambition to provide a definitive statement, ideally about everything. That problem has, of course, been around for a long time. Some years back Robert Paul pointed us to that wonderful passage in the _Nichomachean Ethics_ where Aristotle remarks that a properly educated person seeks explanations no more precise than their subject matter allows and asserts that it makes no more sense to demand absolute precision in discussions of politics than to accept lack of precision in the arguments of mathematicians. How, then, do you speak with sufficient precision when speaking of areas of life in which ambiguity abounds? How do you develop an argument that is reasonably compelling while openly acknowledging that a sketch of the topic in question is necessarily partial? Taylor seems to me to be an example of argumentation under these conditions that's about as good as it gets—a conclusion that seems more compelling to me the more I read and reread him.
There is also the possibility I mentioned in my original message, that Taylor's framework might help us to understand where some of the arguments offered here fit into a larger space of possibilities and thus to understand them more clearly, even if, at the end of the day, the positions taken remain irreconcilable.
-- John McCreery The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
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