18 Dec 17

On November 16, the renowned Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor was at the American Academy to deliver the 2017 Fritz Stern lecture, “Democratic Degeneration: Three Easy Paths to Regression.” Taylor’s talk addressed a concern held by increasing numbers of thoughtful people in recent years: that democracy is sliding backwards—losing ground internationally to authoritarian rule, voter apathy, and the slogans of populist rhetoric.

To understand more about Taylor’s thoughts on the subject, we arranged a discussion between him and American Academy fellow Dilip Gaonkar, a politial theorist at Northwestern University and Taylor’s decades-long colleague at the the Center for Transcultural Studies. We recorded their discussion at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, in Potsdam, where Taylor was a short-term fellow.