Back to the Home Page

Dr. Charles Taylor to Receive Inamori Foundation's 24th Annual Kyoto Prize for Lifetime Achievement in "Arts and Philosophy"

Canadian philosopher to receive $460,000 prize November 10 in Kyoto, Japan

KYOTO, JAPAN – June 20, 2008 – The Inamori Foundation (President: Dr. Kazuo Inamori) today announced that Dr. Charles Margrave Taylor will be among the 24th annual laureates of its Kyoto Prize, an international award that honors significant contributions to the scientific, cultural and spiritual development of humanity.

This year will mark the second time in the award's 24-year history that all three recipients are North American residents ― including the first Kyoto Prize laureates from Canada.

For 2008, the Kyoto Prize in "Arts and Philosophy" focuses on the field of Thought and Ethics. 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.

In addition to Dr. Taylor, this year's Kyoto Prize laureates include, in "Advanced Technology," Dr. Richard Manning Karp, 73, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at University of California, Berkeley, and senior research scientist at the International Computer Science Institute; and, in "Basic Sciences," Dr. Anthony James Pawson, 55, a molecular biologist and distinguished investigator at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

Each Kyoto Prize laureate will receive a diploma, a medal of 20-karat gold, and a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately US$460,000) during a week of ceremonies beginning November 9, 2008, in Kyoto. The laureates will reconvene in San Diego, Calif. March 18-20, 2009 to participate in the eighth annual Kyoto Laureate Symposium.

"It is my hope that the Kyoto Prize will encourage balanced development of both our scientific progress and spiritual depth, and hence provide impetus toward the structuring of new philosophical paradigms," said Dr. Kazuo Inamori, founder and president of the Inamori Foundation.

About the Inamori Foundation
The Inamori Foundation was established in 1984 by Dr. Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera and KDDI Corporation. The Kyoto Prize was founded in 1985, in line with Dr. Inamori's belief that man has no higher calling than to strive for the greater good of society, and that mankind’s future can be assured only when there is a balance between our scientific progress and our spiritual depth. An emblematic feature of the Kyoto Prize is that it is presented not only to recognize outstanding achievements, but also in honor of the excellent personal characteristics that have shaped those achievements. The laureates are selected through a strict and impartial process considering candidates recommended from around the world. As of November 10, 2007, the Kyoto Prize has been awarded to 74 individuals and one group – collectively representing 12 nations, and ranging from scientists, engineers and researchers to philosophers, painters, architects, sculptors, musicians and film directors. The United States has produced the most recipients (32), followed by Japan (12), the United Kingdom (nine), and France (seven).

Stephanie Kellems, Alarus Agency
Phone: (619) 235-4542, Cell: (619) 347-2715


Nadia Alvarado, Alarus Agency
Phone: (619) 235-4542, Cell: (619) 368-0660

[ back to top ] [ back to press releases ]

Inamori Foundation KYOTO Prizes