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Humanism Reading List
Posted: 20 March 2011 03:01 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I’m wondering if anyone has stumbled across a reading list for Humanism. Humanism is clearly a philosophy and world view that has been around for quite some time, but I have had difficulty locating the specific philosophers or treatises in which the humanist perspective has been proposed or outlined. Furthermore, is there a single thinker or school of thought that is considered the origin or beginning of Humanism?

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Posted: 20 March 2011 06:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Secular Humanism, alternatively known as Humanism (with an emphasis on the capital H to distinguish it from other forms of humanism), is a secular philosophy that espouses human reason, ethics, and justice, and the search for human fulfillment. It specifically rejects religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience or superstition as the basis of morality and decision-making.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_humanism

Far more often than not I have found philosophies and their rationalizations vague and boring.  But very often I have encountered science fiction stories that cause me to think about those philosophies and what their use and absence would cause the world to become.  Considering the economy and the medical hassles in the United States today this is a very interesting story from 1963.

Badge of Infamy, by Lester del Rey
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19471/19471-h/19471-h.htm

http://librivox.org/badge-of-infamy-by-lester-del-rey/

Badge of Infamy

by Lester Del Rey (1915-1993)

  Daniel Feldman was a doctor once. He made the mistake of saving a friend’s life in violation of Medical Lobby rules. Now, he’s a pariah, shunned by all, forbidden to touch another patient. But things are more loose on Mars. There, Doc Feldman is welcomed by the colonists, even as he’s hunted by the authorities. But, when he discovers a Martian plague may soon wipe out humanity on two planets, Feldman finds himself a pivotal figure. War erupts. Earth is poised to wipe out the Mars colony utterly. A cure to the plague is the price of peace, and only Feldman can find it (summary by Steven H. Wilson).

psik

PS - Obviously dated due to the lack of computers.  LOL

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Posted: 24 March 2011 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Humanism is about everything that is of concern to people, so you can read just about anything you like. Some things will be more important or more useful than others.

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Posted: 24 March 2011 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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PLaClair - 24 March 2011 03:16 AM

Humanism is about everything that is of concern to people, so you can read just about anything you like. Some things will be more important or more useful than others.

I’m looking for serious books on the subject though. I know Bertrand Russell is probably a significant philosopher, but I’m interested in the history and formal philosophy.

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Posted: 28 March 2011 12:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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On the subject of humanism?  Jeaneane Fowler has a book called Humanism: Beliefs and Practices that I enjoyed reading.

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Posted: 28 March 2011 06:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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You have already checked out Paul Kurtz’s works I presume.

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Posted: 28 March 2011 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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traveler - 28 March 2011 06:09 AM

You have already checked out Paul Kurtz’s works I presume.

No, I hadn’t, and I just browsed Goodreads and that looks like it is what I was looking for. With which of his books would you recommend I start?

[ Edited: 28 March 2011 10:41 AM by Gallant Skeptic ]
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Posted: 28 March 2011 12:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Well, I have not read them all but it seems that for your purposes you might start with the *very short* book, What Is Secular Humanism. It’s one of his later works. In fact his latest book, Exuberant Skepticism might be quite nice - it it edited by John Shook (I have taken a couple of courses from him and he is quite bright.) For a current glance at how humanism is morphing, you should check out THIS LINK. I happen to agree with Paul Kurtz’s gentler attitudes but many - as the linked article indicates - feel that gentle is weak. Susan Jakoby’s work might be nice as well. I’ll let you know as I have just downloaded its Kindle edition (which costs more than the paperback!!!!) I’d like to know if you find anything else as well. Share and share alike. cheese

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Posted: 28 March 2011 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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traveler - 28 March 2011 12:56 PM

Well, I have not read them all but it seems that for your purposes you might start with the *very short* book, What Is Secular Humanism. It’s one of his later works. In fact his latest book, Exuberant Skepticism might be quite nice - it it edited by John Shook (I have taken a couple of courses from him and he is quite bright.) For a current glance at how humanism is morphing, you should check out THIS LINK. I happen to agree with Paul Kurtz’s gentler attitudes but many - as the linked article indicates - feel that gentle is weak. Susan Jakoby’s work might be nice as well. I’ll let you know as I have just downloaded its Kindle edition (which costs more than the paperback!!!!) I’d like to know if you find anything else as well. Share and share alike. cheese

I certainly will, and thank you for the information.

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Posted: 05 April 2011 07:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Corliss Lamont’s “Philosophy of Humanism” is an excellent source for Humanism.  It’s richly done, reaching back into the history of the many people who have promoted one or another element of humanism, it overviews the religious opponents to humanism (circa 20th century), it explains the elements of the philosophy with the empiricist value of supporting the ideas with evidence, it has a strong focus on the dualist/monist debate, it is written intelligently with rigor but still strikes an amiable style, it is in its eighth revision, although the author is now passed his widow tries to continue his work.  It is not the single source of humanism, but it is clearly focused on the fundamentals of humanism, its meant as an introduction.  smile

Humanism has been refined over the centuries, and it doesn’t have a pin-point source, if that is what you’re looking for.  It was my introduction to humanism, after reading it then the skeptical ideas rolled into my life like a big snowball.  smile  There are article length intros at the Council for Secular Humanism web site, although they aren’t historical, are not formal about the philosophy, nor as rich, they still are nice inspiration.

[ Edited: 05 April 2011 08:36 AM by jump_in_the_pit ]
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Posted: 06 April 2011 05:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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traveler - 28 March 2011 12:56 PM

Well, I have not read them all but it seems that for your purposes you might start with the *very short* book, What Is Secular Humanism. It’s one of his later works. In fact his latest book, Exuberant Skepticism might be quite nice - it it edited by John Shook (I have taken a couple of courses from him and he is quite bright.) For a current glance at how humanism is morphing, you should check out THIS LINK. I happen to agree with Paul Kurtz’s gentler attitudes but many - as the linked article indicates - feel that gentle is weak. Susan Jakoby’s work might be nice as well. I’ll let you know as I have just downloaded its Kindle edition (which costs more than the paperback!!!!) I’d like to know if you find anything else as well. Share and share alike. cheese

I’m not sure that I agree with Meyers’ assessment of Kurtz. Is Meyers even trying to understand Kurtz position, because his criticism appears to be a bit off if I’m reading him right.

Nice name by the way, lol.

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Posted: 06 April 2011 06:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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The Traveler - 06 April 2011 05:49 AM
traveler - 28 March 2011 12:56 PM

Well, I have not read them all but it seems that for your purposes you might start with the *very short* book, What Is Secular Humanism. It’s one of his later works. In fact his latest book, Exuberant Skepticism might be quite nice - it it edited by John Shook (I have taken a couple of courses from him and he is quite bright.) For a current glance at how humanism is morphing, you should check out THIS LINK. I happen to agree with Paul Kurtz’s gentler attitudes but many - as the linked article indicates - feel that gentle is weak. Susan Jakoby’s work might be nice as well. I’ll let you know as I have just downloaded its Kindle edition (which costs more than the paperback!!!!) I’d like to know if you find anything else as well. Share and share alike. cheese

I’m not sure that I agree with Meyers’ assessment of Kurtz. Is Meyers even trying to understand Kurtz position, because his criticism appears to be a bit off if I’m reading him right.

Nice name by the way, lol.

IMO, no he does not understand. But my opinion is just that. I’m a peace and love type who appreciates Kurtz’s approach. I am not a Ron Lindsay type. I’m against things like blasphemy day, but I understand its motivation. I also understand the motivation to punch someone in the face but as of now have not done so.

Regarding names, I’m the original!  LOL

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Posted: 13 April 2011 08:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I’ve heard good things about this book, which is relatively new:

http://www.amazon.com/Code-Global-Ethics-Humanist-Principles/dp/1616141727

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Posted: 13 April 2011 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Michael De Dora - 13 April 2011 08:31 PM

I’ve heard good things about this book, which is relatively new:

http://www.amazon.com/Code-Global-Ethics-Humanist-Principles/dp/1616141727

Thanks! Looks like it’s worthwhile read.

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Posted: 16 April 2011 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Since my last post on this topic, I’ve run across Jonathan Miller’s Rough History of Disbelief.  Not only does it cover most of my questions from the original post, but it’s a very informative and enjoyable series as well.

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Posted: 16 April 2011 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Gallant Skeptic - 16 April 2011 10:08 AM

Since my last post on this topic, I’ve run across Jonathan Miller’s Rough History of Disbelief.  Not only does it cover most of my questions from the original post, but it’s a very informative and enjoyable series as well.

Thanks for the feedback! I am really enjoying Susan Jacoby’s Freethinkers: A history of American Secularism.

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