These notes are for students in Dr. Scott Moore's PHI 1305.

Charles Taylor, The Ethics of Authenticity

Important Terms and Concepts--Chapter 3: The Sources of Authenticity



disengaged rationality-- Cartesian (Descartes's) view that the power of thought is able to detach itself from the received orders of the world and construct new orders of the world which meet the standards demanded by knowledge, understanding, and certainty.

"orders of the world"-- an understanding of the structure of reality or "how things really are."

an inherent moral sense-- the notion that human beings are endowed with an intuitive feeling for what is right and wrong. This view is designed to combat the notion that morality is a matter of calculation or education. Morality is "anchored in our feelings" and has "a voice within."

pantheism-- the belief that the totality of the created world, without remainder, is equivalent to the totality of God.

self-determining freedom--one is only free when that one decides for him or herself what it is that concerns that one. These concerns and motivations are shaped by the self and not by external influences. This notion of freedom 'demands that I break the hold of all such external impositions and decide for myself alone.' Taylor thinks that self-determining freedom is a deviant form of authenticity.

Herder's notion of individual uniqueness-- the notion that each individual as a unique and original way of being human. 'There is a certain way of being human that is my way. I am called to live my life in this way and not in imitation of anyone else's.' On this interpretation, the idea of 'being true to oneself' gains a new importance, because if one is not "true to oneself," then one might miss the point of his or her life.

principle of originality-- each of our voices has something of its own to say.


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