Charles Taylor--whose influential work has ranged across political philosophy, post-Kantian German and French philosophy, philosophy of mind, ethics, and philosophy of the social sciences--is this year's winner of the somewhat peculiar Templeton Prize, which is awarded for "progress toward research or discoveries about spiritual realities," and in practice has seemed to recognize mainly scientists friendly to religion and/or apologists for religion. The list of previous prize winners is a rather motley collection, and only one philosopher has received the prize previously, the well-known environmental ethicist Holmes Rolston III at Colorado State University, who is also a Presbyterian minister (according to the Templeton site).
The Templeton Prize comes with a huge cash award (US 1.5 million dollars) which seems to be the main reason it attracts attention.
Some Canadian readers tell me that the media there (Taylor is emeritus at McGill, and teaches part-time now at Northwestern) have been describing this as "the Nobel Prize of philosophy," which it obviously isn't (the Schock Prize is as close as philosophy gets, and that is too heavily skewed towards formal work to be a real surrogate). But here's an amusing query for readers: if there were a Nobel Prize in philosophy, who among living philosophers should get it and why? Feel free, of course, to nominate Charles Taylor! Some obvious figures from the post-War era--like Quine, Rawls, Sartre, and Foucault--are, alas, deceased. I shall only post non-anonymous comments. Please post only once, and be patient: the next couple of days, I am quite busy, and so may not be able to review comments right away.