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Charles Taylor

SSHRC Gold Medal for Achievement in Research

Charles Taylor is at home with the greats—his work demonstrates a profound engagement with the ideas of philosophers from Plato to Locke to Hegel. His ability to apply these ideas to today’s most challenging questions, including those at the heart of Canada’s political and constitutional debates, has helped establish him as one of this century’s most original thinkers.

His staggering capacity for knowledge and understanding has led to a wealth of writings in English and French that have, in turn, been translated into more than 20 languages. Whether writing on artificial intelligence, language, morality or multiculturalism, Taylor is always provocative, influential and a catalyst for vigorous debate.

The child of an anglophone father and a francophone mother, Taylor has always sought to help English- and French-speaking Canadians better understand each other. In Reconciling the Solitudes, his much-acclaimed collection of essays on federalism and nationalism, published simultaneously in French as Rapprocher les solitudes, Taylor outlined a framework for the renewal of our political system based on the acknowledgement and expression of diversity.

He has not shied away from actively participating in the political process himself. In the 1970s, Taylor stood as a candidate for the New Democratic Party in four federal elections, once challenging Pierre Trudeau in the riding of Mount Royal. His arguments during the 1980 referendum and his presentation before the 1990 Bélanger-Campeau Commission on the political and constitutional future of Québec are two examples of Taylor's efforts to provide solutions based on his understanding of philosophy.

The recipient of numerous honours, including the Order of Canada, the Ordre national du Québec, the Molson Prize and the Prix Léon-Gérin, Taylor remains an influential voice in shaping our understanding of diversity and identity in a globalized world. With American philosopher Hubert Dreyfus, he is currently working on a book on the contemporary relevance of religious belief.