Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    What exactly is Humanism?

    Well, please forgive the Wiki definition (the first part anyway) but it's a start.

    "Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. The term can mean several things, for example:

    1.A cultural movement of the Italian Renaissance based on the study of classical works.
    2.An approach to education that uses literary means or a focus on the humanities to inform students.
    3.A variety of perspectives in philosophy and social science which affirm some notion of 'human nature' (by contrast with anti-humanism).
    4.A secular ideology which espouses reason, ethics, and justice, whilst specifically rejecting supernatural and religious dogma as a basis of morality and decision-making.
    The last interpretation may be attributed to Secular Humanism as a specific humanistic life stance.[1] Modern meanings of the word have therefore come to be associated with a rejection of appeals to the supernatural or to some higher authority.[2][3] This interpretation may be directly contrasted with other prominent uses of the term in traditional religious circles.[4] Humanism of this strand arose from a trajectory extending from the deism and anti-clericalism of the Enlightenment, the various secular movements of the 19th century (such as positivism), and the overarching expansion of the scientific project."

    The fourth definition most closely fits what I refer to as Humanism, but I believe there is much more to it than that. Feel free to add or change as you see fit, you crazy Humanists!!


    Alan said...

    I think the most common use of the word humanist is as an euphemism for atheist by non-humanists. However, I also agree that the best definition for humanism is very close to definition 4 above.

    Magic Tony said...

    The Utah Humanists have a page filled with definitions of Humanism. It's definitely worth a look:

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