Is Charles Taylor the world’s most important philosopher?

He’s recently co-written a report for the Quebec government, he won the $1.6 million Templeton Prize last year, and now Charles Taylor has won the “Japanese Nobel”: the Kyoto Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Arts and Philosophy. The award is bestowed by The Inamori Foundation which said:

A philosopher and professor emeritus at McGill University in Montreal, Dr. Taylor, 76, will receive the award for constructing a social philosophy that actively pursues the harmonious coexistence of diverse cultures. By advocating “communitarianism” and “multiculturalism” from the perspective of “holistic individualism,” Dr. Taylor has developed an enlightened philosophy that allows people of different historical, traditional, and cultural backgrounds to retain their multiple identities while living together peacefully.
Dr. Taylor reasons that dialogue is the primary vehicle through which people develop identities and frameworks for determining what is good, what is valuable, what they should do, and what they support or oppose. In his view, human beings are “self-interpreting animals” that act with a sense of value and purpose ― they articulate everyday feelings and moral intuitions into language and act according to their own opinion of values and goals.
Dr. Taylor established a “philosophical anthropology” using the foundations of phenomenology, hermeneutics, and language-game theory in opposition to the atomistic view of the “self” and the concepts of human identity proposed by methodological individualism and behaviorism. He also opposes modern utilitarianism for leaving value judgments to the feelings and preferences of the atomistic selves, arguing that individuals are “situated selves” embedded in the fabric of social relations.
Key to Dr. Taylor’s “communitarianism” and “multiculturalism” philosophies is the concept of “recognition,” in which he contrasts the “dialogical self” with the “monological self” and offers “freedom in situation” in place of “absolute freedom.” He proposes that human beings can flourish only if their identities are recognized by others ― and, accordingly, that community bonds are necessary to realize individual autonomy. His principles provide rational grounds for the dignity of human beings living a deep diversity, and for their demands for recognition.

Taylor gets 50 million yen (approximately US$460,000), a diploma and a medal of 20-karat gold, in November. Does this confirm that in terms of influence, reputation and recognition, Charles Taylor is now the most important living philosopher in the world?

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