Montreal - Charles Taylor has become the first winner of the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy. Taylor, 84 will be given the prize in a ceremony in New York City on December 1.
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|The Berggruen Prize in Philosophy is intended to recognize living thinkers whose ideas are of basic importance for contemporary and future life. The prize comes with a generous cash award of one million dollars. The inaugural prize was awarded to Taylor for his contributions that "fundamentally shaped public discussion of the nature of multi-culturalism, secularism, and contemporary religious life." Taylor will be invited to present and discuss his work at a major lecture and symposium to be held in New York City in December.|
With creating a society in which people from very different cultures can form together a body politic, a people, a democracy, and fight against all the attempts that are arising in every one of our societies to raise boundaries of exclusion against certain kinds of people — in other words, divide us. For instance, in Quebec we had the so-called "Charter of Quebec Values," which I fought very vigorously against and which we managed to avoid.
I've been a very strong opponent of the idea that there's something called enlightenment, reason, which is highly simple and which everybody agrees on. I see the great enlightenment in the West as a very complex movement with many different sides and some of them rather dark. You have to pick them apart. There isn't a simple thing called Western civilization. There's a very, very complex mix of mutually incompatible elements. If you think that way you're more open, I think, to looking at and understanding other civilizations in their complexity. You get over this Western civilization versus the rest. All that is very damaging and based on illusions of some kind of simple essence of the West and a simple essence of some other society.