Entre Nous: Charles Taylor's Social Ontology

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This article discusses Charles Taylor’s philosophy of human sociality, focusing especially on Taylor’s analysis of what happens, when a linguistic exchange or conversation starts. On his view, a shared space emerges, in which some object or topic is irreducibly ‘for us’, entre nous, not merely ‘for me’ and ‘for you,’. When something is brought to our shared attention, a ‘we’ is at the same time created. This article asks, first, how this differs from mutual recognition of others as candidate conversation partners, and from joint commitments, which bind the parties and structure further joint action. The article argues, against Margaret Gilbert, that these are three different phenomena highlighting different aspects of human sociality. Secondly, the article discusses the nature of the ‘we’: does the irreducibility claim commit Taylor to a view of plural subjects or ‘group minds’? Thirdly, the article outlines two possible readings of a ‘shared space’: one posits an emergent social layer and another an emergence of a ‘conversationally extended mind’. Both are possible interpretations of Taylor, while neither is committed to a notorious phenomenal group mind or to a more demanding rational unity -view (Carol Rovane). Taylor’s ‘entre nous’ offers a distinct perspective of continuing relevance
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-737
Number of pages15
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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