Charles Margrave Taylor, born in Montreal, Quebec, on 5 November 1931, received his BA in history from McGill University (1952), a BA in philosophy, politics and economics (1955), an MA (1960) and a DPhil (1961), under the supervision of Isiah Berlin and G.E.M. Ansombe. His dissertation, published in 1964 as The Explanation of Behavior, offers a critique of psychological behaviorism.
Professor Taylor succeeded John Plamenatz as Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory in the University of Oxford and Fellow of All Souls College. He later became professor of political science and philosophy at McGill University, where he is now professor emeritus. He has served as Board of Trustees Professor of Law and Philosophy at Northwestern University.
Dr. Taylor delivered the Gifford Lectures, entitled "Living in a Secular Age," at the University of Edinburgh in 1998–1999. The lectures were published in three volumes: Varieties of Religion Today: William James Revisited (2002), Modern Social Imaginaries (2004) and A Secular Age (2007). The lectures analyzed the movement away from spirituality in favor of objective reasoning. He emphasizes the importance of social and communal arrangements and institutions to the development of individual meaning and identity.
Professor Taylor was the 2007 Templeton Prize recipient for progress towards research or discoveries about spiritual realities. He was the first Canadian to win the Templeton Prize. In 2008 he was awarded the Kyoto Prize in the arts and philosophy category.
Among other books Dr. Taylor has written are Hegel (1975), Hegel and Modern Society (1979), Philosophical Papers (2 vols., 1985), Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity (1989), The Malaise of Modernity (1992; the Massey Lectures reprinted in the United States as The Ethics of Authenticity), Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition (1994), Philosophical Arguments (1995) and A Catholic Modernity? (1999).