The aim of this essay consists in investigating the ‘sources’ of freedom in Charles Taylor’s philosophy. In particular, I consider his studies focused on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Karl Marx, Isaiah Berlin and Michel Foucault, as Taylor develops his own view of freedom engaging a ‘dialogue’ with their philosophical perspectives. He rejects a view of ‘absolute’ freedom, which reflects a radical imposition of one’s will, independently from her/his conditions as natural and social being. Radical freedom interpreted as autonomy leads to believe that all options are equally worthy because it is choice that confers them worth. According to Taylor, however, the denial of meanings and purposes in human agency engenders a nihilist will of power. To face this situation, Taylor’s proposal consists, on one side, in ‘situating’ freedom and, on the other side, in formulating qualitative evaluations to discern the most important purposes.
- Charles Taylor