In this collection of essays the distinguished and internationally renowned philosopher Charles Taylor examines federalism and nationalism in Canada, emphasising issues surrounding the Canada/Quebec question in the last twenty-five years. He analyses the singularity of Quebec within the larger Canadian mosaic, providing a reasoned defence for the recognition of Quebec's distinctiveness within a reformed federal system.
Taylor is one of the world's pre-eminent experts on Hegel and brings to his reflections on nationalism and federalism the fruits of a more universal philosophical discourse rooted in the Enlightenment and before. Its hallmarks are terms such as recognition, self-determination, atomism, and modernity. Notwithstanding his long involvement in philosophical reflections, Taylor has avoided the role of the disengaged intellectual, always remaining close to political action and debate in Canada. To his philosophical discourse, therefore, is added a sensitive knowledge of Quebec society from the vantage point of an English-speaking citizen with profound roots within it. Taylor suggests that it will be necessary to think in terms of deep diversity if Canada is to stay together in the twenty-first century.
Eight of the essays, published between 1965 and 1992, are drawn from the Queen's Quarterly, edited scholarly books, a research study for the MacDonald Commission on Canada's Economic and Political Future, and an English translation of his submission to Quebec's Bélanger-Campeau Commission. The concluding paper was written specially for this volume.