At the ending of one year and the beginning of another, it is customary to take stock on our immediate past and our future. It is easy, actually natural, to overlook the moral underpinnings of our reflections and go straight to the issues that move us. Yet, many of our reflections share common moral underpinnings even when these moral concerns conflict with one another or are so taken for granted that we do not notice them.

Charles Taylor1 points out, in his major work Sources of the Self, that the modern age differs significantly in its moral frameworks from other periods. The moral vision of the modern disengaged self, “breaking free from a comfortable but illusionary sense of immersion in nature and objectifying the world around us,”1 (p12) while liberating, can create conflicting visions of the...

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