Essay on Taylor 's Moral Ontology And The Road Not Taken

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Taylor’s Moral Ontology and The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
- Robert Frost

In the famous poem by the poet-philosopher Robert Frost a hiker encounters two roads that diverge and must choose one path or another. Frost presents the decision as a matter of chance as there is no guide and both paths are equally beguiling. In the end, “with a sigh,” the hiker declares that taking the one less traveled “had made all the difference.” What Frost has subtly illustrated in The Road Not Taken, it’s the choosing, and not the road, that’s important. The moral ontology of Charles Taylor helps us understand how we as humans may come to make those choices.
Before we take our stroll let’s pause and be present at the crossroads. Let us use this metaphor to visit the epistemic pedigrees of being human as provided by Taylor in his text Sources of The Self. Like many contemporary philosophers Taylor posits back to Plato who suggested that to be human was to master the self by conquering Desire with Reason. This dexterity enables a quest for “the good life” which Taylor prescribes as a framework of moral sources he calls the “constituted good.” That is, the goods that “the love of which moves us to good action.” This action is beyond ‘life goods’ such as altruism or freedom. For Taylor, the Robert Frost human…

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