Photo: Oleksandr Makhanets

Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Fritz Stern Lecturer - Class of Fall 2017

Charles Taylor is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at McGill University and an internationally celebrated public philosopher. He has held honorary positions at the universities of Princeton, Berkeley, Frankfurt a. M., and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. From 1976 to 1981, Taylor was the Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at the University of Oxford, and is a Fellow of All Souls College.


Taylor is known worldwide for his contributions to political philosophy, the philosophy of social science, and intellectual history, and for his sweeping comprehension of the meaning and significance of modernity, as in his widely cited Sources of the Self (Harvard, 1989). More recently, Taylor has written on the philosophy and sociology of religion, including his 2007 book, A Secular Age (Harvard, 2007), described by sociologist Robert Bellah as “one of the most important books to be written in my lifetime. Taylor succeeds in no less than recasting the entire debate about secularism.” Taylor’s latest book is The Language Animal: The Full Shape of the Human Linguistic Capacity (Harvard, 2016).


Taylor became the first Canadian to be awarded the prestigious Templeton Prize in 2007. In the following year, he received the Kyoto Prize for Thought and Ethics, one of the highest awards for lifetime achievements in the social sciences and humanities. In 2015, Taylor was awarded the prestigious John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity, granted by the Library of Congress. In 2016, he was the inaugural recipient of the Berggruen Prize, for his role as a “thinker whose ideas are of broad significance for shaping human self-understanding and the advancement of humanity.” Taylor is Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec.


He holds a BA in history from McGill University, and a BA in philosophy, politics, and economics, MA, and D.Phil. from the University of Oxford.