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Towards Modernity

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Chapter Summary

Castoriadis and Taylor consider modernity to be a peculiar, historically unique form of society, which has profound implications for the construction of modern selves / subjects. This chapter examines the parallels and differences between Castoriadis' theory of human creation and the expressivist approach as Taylor interprets it. While Castoriadis rejects the 'essentialism' implied in the strictest interpretation of Herder's claim, Taylor's more nuanced interpretation brings the theory of expression closer to Castoriadis' theory of creativity. Both Taylor and Castoriadis are attempting to illuminate socially significant imaginary significations by lucidly articulating ontological 'truths' and thereby displacing illusory, delusional or fallacious imaginary significations. The chapter highlights that both are correct in their concern about the effects of excessive individualism, and excessive rationalization. Both are well aware in their more lucid moments that excessive socialization, or any totalizing moves towards the good society, is equally as threatening to this nurturing and creative society.

Keywords: Castoriadis; individualism; modernity; socialization; Taylor

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