Authors Name: 
Constantin-Alexander Mehmel
Durham University
Politics & International Relations
Highly commended

IN SEARCH OF THE MODERN IDENTITY: A Radical Hermeneutical Reading of Charles Taylor, The Sources of the Self, And the Communitarians Can there be a Liberal Communitarianism Without resorting to a Universal Moral Ontology?

This paper advances a radical hermeneutical critique of Taylor’s liberal communitarianism and his analysis of the modern moral identity. Upon scrutinizing Taylor’s attempt to reconcile liberalism and communitarianism, it becomes clear that his theistic argument, in fact the resort to a universal and non-confessional God as an ultimate horizon, is crucial to the coherence of his position and thus to his solution to the Nietzschean challenge of modernity. However, drawing on the insights of radical hermeneutics, I claim that this solution is in stark conflict with his otherwise strong value-pluralism. Hence, I shall attempt to sketch an alternative and more effective account of how to endorse Taylor’s liberal communitarianism. I.e. instead of an ultimate moral ontology, a radical hermeneutical reading opens up the possibility of plurality of moral ontologies that seems more in keeping with his emphasis on pluralism.