Taylor: We live for the humanities

April 2, 2009
When the economy falls on hard times, everything comes under a new level of scrutiny. Institutions, practices, and habits must justify themselves on more rigid terms, and those found less than essential must be marginalized, if not abandoned. In the university, this often means that the various disciplines must compete for funding and attention, each »

Taylor: Power and passion

February 25, 2009
My Latin class was translating a passage about Cato the Elder when the power went out and, with it, the lights. The windows afforded enough sunlight to continue our translation, so we did — that is, until we heard an unusual noise from outside the door. Someone, as it turns out, had been stuck in »

Taylor: Feel love tomorrow

February 13, 2009
In the opening of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” one of my favorite movies, Joel Barish, the main character, wistfully opines that Valentine’s Day is “a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.” I’m not sure he’s right, but his sentiment pretty well captures the plight of the single »

Taylor: The good old days

February 4, 2009
Snow was falling. I was wet and unhappy as I left the bookstore and began the trek back to my dorm. They had refused to take back the textbook. “You need a receipt,” they said. Perfect. I put on my gloves and frowned at the icy path before me. There were no birds chirping in »

Taylor: Let’s read together

January 22, 2009
Ask a physics major about energy, and you are likely to hear something about a theory of Einstein’s. Ask a political science major, and you might learn a thing or two about our national government’s dealings with various oil-rich countries. A literature major, in turn, might quote you a poem by Rilke. The reason you »

Taylor: Christmas now and once before

December 5, 2008
One would be hard-pressed to invent a scene more beautiful than that of the Christmas nativity. The newborn child, his young mother and her betrothed, the shepherds, the wise men, the ox and the donkey, all with the Star of Bethlehem beaming gaily — this, no doubt, is the stuff of poetry. But poetry aside, »

Taylor: Love, hate and politics

November 19, 2008
If you are thinking about submitting a column to this page in which you present gay marriage as a matter of civil rights and equality, in which you compare the issue of gay marriage to racial discrimination in the past or in which you depict opponents of gay marriage as hateful and homophobic, I would »

Taylor: Better off with requirements

November 6, 2008
Education, once upon a time, meant the transformation of an inchoate human being into one who fulfills his nature. It involved aligning the passions with reason and bringing the appetites into submission. Education had a goal, and it was the properly ordered human soul. Nowadays, in a pluralistic society, we have no common conception of »

Taylor: Architectural philosophy

October 24, 2008
Back in high school, when I was beginning my college search, I made a list of criteria by which to evaluate the schools I visited. First on the list was academic rigor, followed by strength in my areas of interest, social life on campus and financial aid. Last on the list, and almost as an »

Taylor: Neutrality of secular Yale an illusion

September 18, 2008
Yesterday on this page, Samuel Bagg contrasted Yale’s tolerant present with its intolerant past. He applauded Yale’s transition from an exclusivistic training ground for Christian clergymen into an “accepting” training ground for — well, whatever it is that Yale graduates are supposed to be these days. It therefore seemed rather inconsistent when he referred to »

Taylor: Technology makes ‘slaves’ of humans

September 5, 2008
Historically, citizens of the United States have been unable to agree on the big questions: how do we live and how do we live well? There seems, however, to be at least one tenet that few Americans will venture to question: the blessing of technological innovation. No matter what the goal of human life, the »

Abortion debate turns on definition of terms

October 17, 2007
A recent column (“Right-wing foolish: abortion is necessary” 10/5) criticized the pro-life position by noting its concurrence with unpopular opinions attributed to the American right wing. The argumentative tactic — guilt by association — made an emotional appeal in an attempt to amplify disgust for the pro-life position. Of course, nothing is inherently wrong with »