When we face a difficulty or a problem we often attempt to take stock of our situation in order to come to a solution. But taking stock can itself be a complicated process, and there are many ways to disagree about how this ought to be donejust what are the relevant factors? And it isn’t difficult to endow this kind of reflection with an ancient, prestigious lineage: even Aristotle admitted that “all questions are hard to decide with precision” (Nicomachean Ethics IX.2). This rather simple way of characterizing philosophical puzzlement is, I think, an appropriate description of what Charles Taylor has been doing for the duration of his philosophical career; he has repeatedly attempted to make the stakes in any given debate clearer so that a more robust philosophical argument can be made about themnot unlike Aristotle himself. This way of grappling with contemporary problems is on offer once again in his aptly named collection of essays, Dilemmas and Connections. Continue reading “OUR ETHICAL PUZZLES: READING CHARLES TAYLOR”


It is disappointing to see a Christian fulfill what I would have thought was a tired stereotype: asserting that a rival belief or argument is ultimately based on immorality. Aside from being a conversation-stopper, in today’s world it seems to exude the bunker mentality of a subculture that does not want to sincerely engage with the world around it. Jim Spiegel has written a short article in Christianity Today that implies “New Atheists” are atheists because they cannot overcome their irrational passions. He even goes so far as to suggest that unbelief might be best fought by traditional family values, a conclusion derived from another scholar who claims that many prominent atheists in history had what amount to father issues. Continue reading “IMMORAL ATHEISM?”