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What is Humanism? History of Humanism, Humanist Philosophy, Philosophers

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What is Humanism?:

Humanism involves any concern with humans (including human needs, human desires, and human experiences) first and foremost. This often means giving human beings a special place in the universe on account of their abilities and faculties. Humanism is less a philosophical system, a set of doctrines, or even a specific system of beliefs, than it is an attitude or perspective on life and humanity. This perspective in turn influences various philosophies and belief systems. What is Humanism?

Important Books on Humanism:

Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding (1772) , by David Hume
Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779), by David Hume
Essays on Religion (1874), by John Stuart Mill
Age of Reason (1794), by Thomas Paine

Important Philosophers of Humanism:

Epicurus
Desiderus Erasmus
Baruch Spinoza
David Hume
Jeremy Bentham
John Stuart Mill
Thomas Paine
Paul Kurtz
Keith Parsons

Origins of Humanism:

Humanism as we understand it dates to the Italian the Renaissance. It did not, however, spring fully formed from the writings of a few Italian scholars. These early humanists created a philosophical movement based upon what they discovered in ancient Roman and Greek manuscripts. Humanist thought can also be found in ancient China, India, and other cultures. Humanism as a spirit of inquiry and thinking has an ancient pedigree and a widespread influence on human culture. Origins of Humanism

Humanism and Religion:

Humanism is critical of traditional religions and religious ideologies, but humanism is sometimes portrayed as a modern, philosophical replacement for religion. Some forms of humanism are explicitly religious. Thus, humanism can stands as both critic of and replacement for religion. Does that make humanism anti-religion because of its criticism, or pro-religion because it acknowledges the role religion has played in human culture and seeks to offer an improved version? Humanism and Religion

Humanist Metaphysics:

What sort of metaphysical beliefs do humanists have? Humanists don't have what would be considered a typical metaphysical outlook because humanists don't normally accept the existence of anything which isn't a part of nature (or, if they do, they don't believe that it is 'more real' than our own existence). Humanists are essentially naturalists, explaining the nature of reality in naturalistic and materialistic terms. Humanist Metaphysics

What is Cultural Humanism?:

Cultural Humanism refers to cultural traditions which originated in ancient Greece and Rome, evolved through European history, and have come to be a fundamental basis of Western culture. It includes law, literature, philosophy, politics, science, and more. Sometimes, when fundamentalists attack modern secular humanism and accuse it of infiltrating our cultural institutions for the purpose of undermining Christianity, they are conflating secular with cultural humanism. What is Cultural Humanism?

What is Religious Humanism?:

Religious humanists treat humanism in a religious manner. This means defining religion from a functional perspective which identifies psychological or social functions as distinguishing religion from other belief systems. The functions of religion cited by religious humanists include fulfilling the social needs of a group of people and satisfying the personal needs of individuals. For religious humanists, meeting these needs is what religion is all about. What is Religious Humanism?

What is Secular Humanism?:

Secular humanism is necessarily non-religious. This doesn't mean that secular humanists are anti-religious - there is a difference between non-religion and anti-religion. The "secular" of secular humanism means that, as a philosophy, it does not give any place to the veneration of things holy and inviolable. Secular humanism also commonly makes advocacy of secularism a defining principle. What is Secular Humanism?

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