Richard Taylor (philosopher)

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Richard Taylor
BornNovember 5, 1919
DiedOctober 30, 2003(2003-10-30) (aged 83)
EducationBrown University (PhD)
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolAnalytic philosophy
InstitutionsBrown University, Columbia University, University of Rochester
Doctoral advisorRoderick Chisholm
Notable studentsNorman Bowie, Myles Brand, Keith Lehrer, Peter van Inwagen
Main interests

Richard Clyde Taylor[2] (November 5, 1919 – October 30, 2003),[3] was an American philosopher renowned for his contributions to metaphysics. He was also an internationally known beekeeper.


Taylor received his PhD at Brown University, where his supervisor was Roderick Chisholm. He taught at Brown University, Columbia and the University of Rochester, and had visiting appointments at about a dozen other institutions. His best-known book was Metaphysics (1963). Other works included Action and Purpose (1966), Good and Evil (1970) and Virtue Ethics (1991). Professor Taylor was also the editor of The Will to Live: Selected Writings of Arthur Schopenhauer.[4][5] He was an enthusiastic advocate of virtue ethics.[6] He also wrote influential papers on the meaning of life, which, like Albert Camus, he explored through an examination of the myth of Sisyphus.

Taylor's 1962 essay "Fatalism"[7] was the subject of David Foster Wallace's undergraduate thesis at Amherst College, published in 2011 together with Taylor's essay and contemporary responses under the title Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will.[8] Please see also ‘’Restoring Pride: The Lost Virtue of Our Age (1996)’’ Prometheus Books

Taylor made significant contributions to beekeeping. He owned three hundred hives of bees and, from 1970, produced mostly comb honey. He explained his management techniques in several books, including The Comb Honey Book and The Joys of Beekeeping.[9]

In 1993, he debated William Lane Craig over the subject 'Is The Basis For Morality Natural or Supernatural?'.[10]

Notable philosophers who studied under Taylor as graduate students include Norman Bowie, Myles Brand, Keith Lehrer, and Peter van Inwagen.[11]


Taylor died at the age of 83 on October 30, 2003, in his home in Trumansburg, New York due to complications ensuing from lung cancer.[11]


Included among Richard Taylors publications are the following texts:[12]

External video
video icon You may read works by Richard Taylor including:
"Good and Evil: A New Direction"
"The Will to Live: Selected Writigns by Arthur Schopenhauer"
Here on
  • The Will to Live: Selected Writings of Arthur Schopenhauer. Ed. Richard Tayler.(1962)[13]
  • Metaphysics by Richard Taylor (1963)[14]
  • On the Basis of Morality by Arthur Schopenhauer, Richard Taylor, E. F. J. Payne (1965)[15]
  • Action and Purpose by Richard Taylor (1966)[16]
  • Freedom and Determinism. Ed. Richard Taylor (1966)[17]
  • Good and Evil: A New Direction by Richard Taylor (1970)[18]
  • Freedom, Anarchy, and the Law: An Introduction to Political Philosophy by Richard Taylor (1973)[19]
  • On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. Arthur Schopenhauer. Introduction by Richard Taylor (1974) [20]
  • Ethics, Faith and Reason by Richard Taylor (1985)[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bee Culture Magazine, "Richard Taylor (1919-2003)", January 2004, Vol 132, No 1, p 64.
  2. ^ Shook, John R. (2005-05-15). Dictionary Of Modern American Philosophers. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 2393. ISBN 978-1-84714-470-6.
  3. ^ "Richard Taylor Remembered - Issue 44 - Philosophy Now".
  4. ^ Anchor Books A266: 1962.
  5. ^ Richard Taylor's publications on
  6. ^ Virtue Ethics: An Introduction. Taylor Richard. Prometheus Books, 2002 Astract on
  7. ^ Philosophical Review, Vol. 71, No. 1 (1962).
  8. ^ New York: Columbia University Press (ISBN 978-0-231-15156-6)
  9. ^ the Joys of Beekeeping by Richard Taylor on
  10. ^ "Is the Basis of Morality Natural or Supernatural? - Reasonable Faith". Archived from the original on 2012-04-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  11. ^ a b Holmes, Robert (2004). "Richard Taylor Remembered". Philosophy Now. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  12. ^ Richard Tayler's publications on
  13. ^ The Will to Live: Selected Writings of Arthur Schopenhauer. Ed. Richard Tayler. F. Unger Publishing Co., New York 1967 & 1962 on]
  14. ^ Metaphysics. Taylor, Richard. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1963 on
  15. ^ On the basis of Morality. Schopenhauer, Arthur & Richard Taylor & E. F. J. Payne. Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis, 1965 on
  16. ^ Action and Purpose. Taylor, Richard. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1966 on
  17. ^ Freedom and Determinism - Ed. Richard Taylor , Random House, New York 1966 on
  18. ^ Good and Evil: A New Direction. Taylor, Richard. Macmillan, New York, 1970 on
  19. ^ Freedom, Anarchy, and the Law: An Introduction to Political Philosophy. Taylor, Richard. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1973 on
  20. ^ On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason Introduction by Richard Taylor, Open Court, La Salle, Illinois, 1974 on
  21. ^ Ethics, Faith and Reason. Taylor, Richard. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1985 on

Further reading[edit]

  • Donnelly, John (2007), Reflective Wisdom, Prometheus Books, ISBN 978-0-87975-522-5
  • LaScola, Russell (1992), "A Common Sense Approach to the Mind-body Problem: A Critique of Richard Taylor", Journal of Philosophical Research, 17: 279–286, doi:10.5840/jpr_1992_24

External links[edit]