Charles Taylor on Democracy, Diversity, and Religion


Charles Taylor, who has turned 84 just last month, easily makes it to every list of the most influential living philosophers. His most acclaimed book, “Sources of the self”, placed him among communitarian thinkers, but his scope is much wider than that. Not only he has written much on social and political philosophy, but also on the intellectual history, on philosophy of social sciences and, especially, on religion. Two months ago all these contribution were recognized when he, along with Jürgen Habermas, was awarded John W. Kluge Prize for lifetime achievement in the study of humanity.

His Quebec lecture at the London School of Economics on 1 December was entitled “Democracy, Diversity, Religion” (it can be downloaded from LSE website), and aimed at showing how the experience of the Canadian province in managing its very diverse minorities can help address similar problems in other Western societies. (As it turned out, Taylor is sceptical about the possibility of generalizing the Québécois solutions.)

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On democracy at the University of Westminster

The embedded lecture by Professor Gayatri Spivak concluded a conference entitled Doing and Thinking Democracy Differently that took place at the University of Westminster on 7th of November 2015. The conference was a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Centre for Study of Democracy whose most well-known member is perhaps Chantal Mouffe.

Panel discussions during the day was mainly concerned with new social movements. Some of the most interesting papers were presented during panel chaired by Chantal Mouffe. Researchers from UK, Greece and Spain spoke about the protest movements in their native contries.

G. Spivak, one of the most important academics in the postcolonial studies, the author of well-known essay Can the Subaltern Speak?, gained considerable fame with her English translation of Jacques Derrida’s Of Grammatology. An influence of Derridean deconstruction on Spivak was obvious in the London lecture. Unfortunately, it made her speech very difficult to follow. A good keynote lecture on a conference like that should be more accessible.

On Quentin Skinner in “Przegląd Polityczny”


In the latest issue of “Przegląd Polityczny” (“The Political Review”) you can find a transcript of the debate between Quentin Skinner and Michael Freeden. The debate took place in October 2014 at the Faculty of Political Science and Journalism, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.

The transcript is acompanied by essays presenting the profiles of the debaters. Łukasz Dulęba writes about Michael Freeden, while I outline a career of Quentin Skinner. The latter essay, entitled “Quentin Skinner: historian and context”, is available (in Polish) on the website of “Przegląd Polityczny”.

It is difficult to overemphasise the importance of “Przegląd Polityczny” in introducing the most important political philosophers and thinkers to Polish readers. I must confess that I am very proud and happy to get my text published in that particular journal.