What is Humanism and Why Does it Matter?

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This was the main divisive line between the Reformation and the Renaissance, [51] which dealt with the same basic problems, supported the same science based on reason and empirical research, but had a different set of presuppositions theistic versus naturalistic. The phrase the "religion of humanity" is sometimes attributed to American Founding Father Thomas Paine , though as yet unattested in his surviving writings.

According to Tony Davies:. Paine called himself a theophilanthropist , a word combining the Greek for "God", "love", and "humanity", and indicating that while he believed in the existence of a creating intelligence in the universe, he entirely rejected the claims made by and for all existing religious doctrines, especially their miraculous, transcendental and salvationist pretensions.

The Parisian "Society of Theophilanthropy" which he sponsored, is described by his biographer as "a forerunner of the ethical and humanist societies that proliferated later" The second is philosophical, German, seeks the totality and autonomy of knowledge, and stresses understanding rather than freedom as the key to human fulfilment and emancipation. The two themes converged and competed in complex ways in the 19th century and beyond, and between them set the boundaries of its various humanisms. She wrote to a friend:.

Eliot and her circle, who included her companion George Henry Lewes the biographer of Goethe and the abolitionist and social theorist Harriet Martineau , were much influenced by the positivism of Auguste Comte , whom Martineau had translated. Comte's austere vision of the universe, his injunction to " vivre pour altrui " "live for others", from which comes the word " altruism " , [58] and his idealisation of women inform the works of Victorian novelists and poets from George Eliot and Matthew Arnold to Thomas Hardy.

The British Humanistic Religious Association was formed as one of the earliest forerunners of contemporary chartered Humanist organisations in in London. This early group was democratically organised, with male and female members participating in the election of the leadership, and promoted knowledge of the sciences, philosophy, and the arts. In February , the word was used pejoratively, apparently for the first time in America, to describe Felix Adler.

What is Humanism?

Active in the early s, F. Schiller labelled his work "humanism" but for Schiller the term referred to the pragmatist philosophy he shared with William James. Raymond B. Bragg asked Roy Wood Sellars to draft a document based on this information which resulted in the publication of the Humanist Manifesto in Potter's book and the Manifesto became the cornerstones of modern humanism, the latter declaring a new religion by saying, "any religion that can hope to be a synthesising and dynamic force for today must be shaped for the needs of this age.

To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present. In , the American Humanist Association was organised. Noted members of The AHA included Isaac Asimov , who was the president from until his death in , and writer Kurt Vonnegut , who followed as honorary president until his death in Gore Vidal became honorary president in Robert Buckman was the head of the association in Canada, and is now an honorary president. In , American Humanist Association , along with other groups representing agnostics, atheists, and other freethinkers, joined to create the Secular Coalition for America which advocates in Washington, D.

Scholasticism focused on preparing men to be doctors, lawyers or professional theologians, and was taught from approved textbooks in logic, natural philosophy, medicine, law and theology. Humanists reacted against this utilitarian approach and the narrow pedantry associated with it.

They sought to create a citizenry frequently including women able to speak and write with eloquence and clarity and thus capable of engaging the civic life of their communities and persuading others to virtuous and prudent actions. This was to be accomplished through the study of the studia humanitatis , today known as the humanities : grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry and moral philosophy.

Secular humanism is a comprehensive life stance or world view that embraces human reason , metaphysical naturalism , altruistic morality and distributive justice , and consciously rejects supernatural claims, theistic faith and religiosity , pseudoscience , and superstition. According to the IHEU's bylaw 5. Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives.

It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities.

What is humanism?

It is not theistic , and it does not accept supernatural views of reality. Though practitioners of religious humanism did not officially organise under the name of "humanism" until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, non-theistic religions paired with human-centred ethical philosophy have a long history. A unified Ethical Culture movement was first founded in ; its founder, Felix Adler , was a former member of the Free Religious Association and conceived of Ethical Culture as a new religion that would retain the ethical message at the heart of all religions.

Ethical Culture was religious in the sense of playing a defining role in people's lives and addressing issues of ultimate concern. Nowadays religious humanists in the United States are represented by organisations such as the American Ethical Union and will simply describe themselves as "ethical humanists" or "humanists".

Secular humanists and religious humanists organise together as part of larger national and international groupings, and differentiate themselves primarily in their attitude to the promotion of humanist thinking. Earlier attempts at inventing a secular religious tradition informed the Ethical Culture movement. This early group was democratically organised, with male and female members participating in the election of the leadership and promoted knowledge of the sciences, philosophy, and the arts.

The distinction between so-called "ethical" humanists and "secular" humanists is most pronounced in the United States, although it is becoming less so over time. In the UK, where the humanist movement was strongly influenced by Americans in the 19th century, the leading "ethical societies" and "ethical churches" evolved into secular humanist charities e. Over time, the emphasis on human-etisk code: nno promoted to code: nn has become less pronounced, and today HEF promotes both humanisme code: nno promoted to code: nn secular humanism and human-etisk code: nno promoted to code: nn.

In Sweden, the main Swedish humanist group Humanisterna "Humanists" began as a "human-ethical association" like the Norwegian humanists before adopting the more prevalent secular humanist model popular in most of Europe. Today the distinction in Europe is mostly superficial. Polemics about humanism have sometimes assumed paradoxical twists and turns. Earlyth-century critics such as Ezra Pound , T. Hulme , and T. Eliot considered humanism to be sentimental "slop" Hulme [ citation needed ] or "an old bitch gone in the teeth" Pound.

In his book, Humanism , Tony Davies calls these critics "humanist anti-humanists". Davies acknowledges that, after the horrific experiences of the wars of the 20th century, "it should no longer be possible to formulate phrases like 'the destiny of man' or the 'triumph of human reason' without an instant consciousness of the folly and brutality they drag behind them". For "it is almost impossible to think of a crime that has not been committed in the name of human reason".

Yet, he continues, "it would be unwise to simply abandon the ground occupied by the historical humanisms. For one thing humanism remains on many occasions the only available alternative to bigotry and persecution. The freedom to speak and write, to organise and campaign in defence of individual or collective interests, to protest and disobey: all these can only be articulated in humanist terms.

Modern humanists, such as Corliss Lamont or Carl Sagan , hold that humanity must seek for truth through reason and the best observable evidence and endorse scientific skepticism and the scientific method. However, they stipulate that decisions about right and wrong must be based on the individual and common good, with no consideration given to metaphysical or supernatural beings.

The idea is to engage with what is human. In , the English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead cautioned: "The prophecy of Francis Bacon has now been fulfilled; and man, who at times dreamt of himself as a little lower than the angels, has submitted to become the servant and the minister of nature.

It still remains to be seen whether the same actor can play both parts". Humanistic psychology is a psychological perspective that rose to prominence in the midth century in response to Sigmund Freud 's psychoanalytic theory and B. Skinner 's behaviorism. The approach emphasizes an individual's inherent drive towards self-actualization and creativity. Psychologists Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow introduced a positive, humanistic psychology in response to what they viewed as the overly pessimistic view of psychoanalysis in the early s. Other sources include the philosophies of existentialism and phenomenology.

The path between the onset of the good letters and the modern humanist as freethinker or simply as scholar is circuitous but unbroken. If we look for what is common to the Humanists over the centuries we find two things: a body of accepted authors and a method of carrying on study and debate. The two go together with the belief that the best guides to the good life are Reason and Nature. Here, one felt no weight of the supernatural pressing on the human mind, demanding homage and allegiance. Humanity—with all its distinct capabilities, talents, worries, problems, possibilities—was the centre of interest.

It has been said that medieval thinkers philosophised on their knees, but, bolstered by the new studies, they dared to stand up and to rise to full stature. Cambridge University Press.

A Humanism for Today Because I, Too, Matter - hiqukycona.tk

Early Italian humanism, which in many respects continued the grammatical and rhetorical traditions of the Middle Ages , not merely provided the old Trivium with a new and more ambitious name Studia humanitatis , but also increased its actual scope, content and significance in the curriculum of the schools and universities and in its own extensive literary production. The studia humanitatis excluded logic, but they added to the traditional grammar and rhetoric not only history, Greek, and moral philosophy, but also made poetry, once a sequel of grammar and rhetoric, the most important member of the whole group.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about generic "human-centred philosophy". For Renaissance humanism, see Renaissance humanism.

The ideal of humanitas

For other uses, see Humanist disambiguation. For the album, see Humanistic album. Antihumanism Posthumanism. Outline List of secular humanists. Main article: Confucianism. Main article: Ancient Greek philosophy.

Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism

See also: Early Islamic philosophy. Main article: Renaissance humanism. Main article: Secular humanism. Main article: Religious humanism. Main article: Humanistic psychology. Philosophy portal Psychology portal Religion portal. The Origins of Humanism. The term umanista was used, in fifteenth century Italian academic jargon to describe a teacher or student of classical literature including that of grammar and rhetoric. The English equivalent 'humanist' makes its appearance in the late sixteenth century with a similar meaning.

Only in the nineteenth century, however, and probably for the first time in Germany in , is the attribute transformed into a substantive: humanism , standing for devotion to the literature of ancient Greece and Rome, and the humane values that may be derived from them. They conducted their affairs without the least guidance of reason but instead relied on bodily strength.

There was no divine religion and the understanding of social duty was in no way cultivated. No one recognized the value inherent in an equitable code of law. Cicero, De Inventione , I. As the late Jacques Barzun has written: The path between the onset of the good letters and the modern humanist as freethinker or simply as scholar is circuitous but unbroken.

Retrieved 14 May Archived from the original on 7 November Retrieved 13 November Neithammer and other distinguished members of the movement they called "Neo-Humanism" who included Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Johann Gottlieb Fichte , felt that the curriculum imposed under Napoleon's occupation of Germany had been excessively oriented toward the practical and vocational. They wished to encourage individuals to practice life-long self cultivation and reflection, based on a study of the artistic, philosophical, and cultural masterpieces of primarily Greek civilization.

Vito Giustiniani writes that in the German-speaking world "Humanist" while keeping its specific meaning as scholar of Classical literature "gave birth to further derivatives, such as humanistisch for those schools which later were to be called humanistische Gymnasien , with Latin and Greek as the main subjects of teaching Finally, Humanismus was introduced to denote 'classical education in general' and still later for the epoch and the achievements of the Italian humanists of the fifteenth century This is to say that 'humanism' for 'classical learning' appeared first in Germany, where it was once and for all sanctioned in this meaning by Georg Voigt ".

It was publicly burned. During the Revolution, Jacobins instituted a cult of the Supreme Being along lines suggested by Rousseau. In the 19th-century French positivist philosopher Auguste Comte — founded a "religion of humanity", whose calendar and catechism echoed the former Revolutionary cult. VII 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press. The Continuum of Humanist Education. Retrieved 21 August Humanism A new Religion. Simon and Schuster. Faith and Reason: Convergence and Complementarity. Ifrane , Morocco: Al-Akhawayn University. Archived PDF from the original on 29 November Retrieved 31 December Journal of the American Oriental Society.

Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. The Renaissance. New York: The Modern Library. Unlike the liberal arts of the eighteenth century, they did not include the visual arts, music, dancing or gardening. Politically, the defiance of religious and secular authority has led to democracy, human rights, and the protection of the environment. Humanists make no apologies for this. Humanists twist no biblical doctrine to justify such actions.

They recognize the Promethean defiance of their response and take pride in it. For this is part of the tradition. Another aspect of the Secular Humanist tradition is skepticism. Why Socrates? Because after all this time he still stands alone among all the famous saints and sages from antiquity to the present. Every religion has its sage. Every one of these individuals claimed to know the absolute truth. It is Socrates, alone among famous sages, who claimed to know nothing. Each devised a set of rules or laws, save Socrates. Instead, Socrates gave us a method—a method of questioning the rules of others, of cross-examination.

For these reasons Socrates is the quintessential skeptical humanist. He stands as a symbol, both of Greek rationalism and the humanist tradition that grew out of it. And no equally recognized saint or sage has joined his company since his death. That is, Secular Humanists identify more closely with the rational heritage symbolized by ancient Athens than with the faith heritage epitomized by ancient Jerusalem.

The positive side is liberation, best expressed in these words of American agnostic Robert G. When I became convinced that the universe is natural, that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell. The dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts and bars and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf, or a slave. There was for me no master in all the wide world, not even in infinite space.

I was free! I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously faced all worlds. The fact that humanism can at once be both religious and secular presents a paradox of course, but not the only such paradox. Another is that both Religious and Secular Humanism place reason above faith, usually to the point of eschewing faith altogether. The dichotomy between reason and faith is often given emphasis in humanism, with humanists taking their stand on the side of reason. Because of this, Religious Humanism should not be seen as an alternative faith, but rather as an alternative way of being religious.

These paradoxical features not only require a unique treatment of Religious Humanism in the study of world religions but also help explain the continuing disagreement, both inside and outside the humanist movement, over whether humanism is a religion at all.

Defining ‘Humanism’

Because both Religious and Secular Humanism are identified so closely with Cultural Humanism, they readily embrace modern science, democratic principles, human rights, and free inquiry. The most obvious point to clarify in this context is that some religions hold to doctrines that place their adherents at odds with certain features of the modern world. Other religions do not. Therefore, they see the teaching of evolution in a science course as an affront to their religious sensibilities.

It is indeed true that Religious Humanists, in embracing modern science, embrace evolution in the bargain. But individuals within mainline Protestantism, Catholicism, and Judaism also embrace modern science—and hence evolution. Evolution happens to be the state of the art in science today and is appropriately taught in science courses. That evolution has come to be identified with Religious Humanism but not with mainline Christianity or Judaism is a curious quirk of politics in North America.

But this is a typical feature of the whole controversy over humanism in the schools. Other courses of study have come to be identified with humanism as well, including sex education, values education, global education, and even creative writing. But situational considerations have been an element of Western jurisprudence for at least 2, years! Again, Secular and Religious Humanists, being in harmony with current trends, are quite comfortable with all of this, as are adherents of most major religions. There is no justification for seeing these ideas as the exclusive legacy of humanism.

Furthermore, there are independent secular reasons why schools offer the curriculum that they do. The charge of humanist infiltration into the public schools seems to be the product of a confusion of Cultural Humanism and Religious Humanism. Though Religious Humanism embraces Cultural Humanism, this is no justification for separating out Cultural Humanism, labeling it as the exclusive legacy of a nontheistic and naturalistic religion called Religious Humanism, and declaring it alien. A deeper understanding of Western culture would go a long way in clarifying the issues surrounding the controversy over humanism in the public schools.

Once we leave the areas of confusion, it is possible to explain, in straightforward terms, exactly what the Modern Humanist philosophy is about. It is easy to summarize the basic ideas held in common by both Religious and Secular Humanists.

Humanism is an approach to life that is found throughout time and across the world in many different cultures. Humanism today How Humanist Are You? Who are humanists? Home View Full Site Close. Remember me. Sign up to email updates. You are here: Humanism. More in this section. Faith schools. We want pupils from all different backgrounds educated together in a shared environment, rather than separated according to the religious beliefs of their parents.

Find out more. We want a country where institutions such as Parliament are separate from religious organisations, and everyone is treated equally, regardless of their beliefs. Human rights and equality.

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