First, for Occam…. OMG!
AHA: Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Very short and overly vague, BUT does admit that humanism is a “progressive” philosophy. Without supernaturalism is 1/2 of that story, so my “informed by scientific naturalism” is more the whole picture.
We don’t have a “responsibility to lead ethical lives” because that would imply free will. We live the best we can, based on our environment and its play on our genetic dispositions.
The greater good of humanity is a nice thought, but what does it mean? Who’s greater good, and are all people entitled to the same greater good? The humanist manifestos go further in this way, and we can extrapolate from them, the times we live in (and the authors of the manifesto’s live/live in), physical science, social science and more what constitutes the greater good of humanity and what might lead to it (and what certainly won’t).
CSH: Secular Humanism is a way of thinking and living that aims to bring out the best in people so that all people can have the best in life. Secular humanists reject supernatural and authoritarian beliefs. They affirm that we must take responsibility for our own lives and the communities and world in which we live. Secular humanism emphasizes reason and scientific inquiry, individual freedom and responsibility, human values and compassion, and the need for tolerance and cooperation.
Humanism IS a way of thinking, but so is naturalism which is humanism’s informant, so how to we islolate humanism from other isms?
What IS the best in people and how do we bring it about? Without some ideas here, the sentiment is nice but useless.
If we reject authoritarian beliefs, we must reject the modern State.
This definition has the same problem with Free Will and responsibility as the AHA’s.
Tolerance and cooperation, and freedom are good things, but what are these other “human values,” and how do we balance ‘individual freedom’ with ‘cooperation,’ and why does this definition ignore those things in modern society which are the blood of society - politics and economics?
A bit less vague than the former, but does not take into all the other things written about humanism…
Taking into consideration the overall body of humanist thought, as well as an understanding of past and present societies, and ideas about how to reach humanist goals, I have thought up this “working” definition…
Mriana, do you see the difference between mine and the big tent versions above?
“Humanism is a sociopolitical world view, informed by scientific naturalism, which holds that human societies are healthiest if founded on non-hierarchal democratic principles. Accordingly, a humanistic society - in recognizing universal interconnectedness - promotes cooperation in all areas of life, the peaceful and fair allocation of natural and human-made resources, and a commitment that individuals be encouraged and aided in achieving their fullest potential while in turn nurturing the larger society.”
Science is a method, not a set of dogmas or doctrines.
Yes. And this is why having humanism be “informed by scientific naturalism” prevents it from becoming a set of dogmas or doctrines.
In the same way, it seems to me it would be perfectly fair for people to call themselves humanists even if they didn’t necessarily buy into a particular economic scheme.
Yes, again. As I said, I have only offered a few economic schemes as suggestions - such as Parecon and Inclusive Democracy. I do not know if these are good enough to work as they are set up to, but they - and other schemes found within certain styles of socialism or anarchism - are worth serious consideration because we have not had actual socialism or libertarian-socialism or much of anarchism in the modern era (for many different reasons, not the least of which are problems inherent in feudalism, capitalism and the State).
However, we DO know enough about capitalism and the State to understand how unhumanistic they are, and that at least the former needs to be swept into the dustbin of history.
You may argue that that scheme is incorrect or less effective than another, but I don’t understand how that would necessarily prove that someone isn’t a humanist.
By what sort of society it produces, and NOT according merely to its “efficiency” (and capitalism is great at accumulating wealth for the few, but is otherwise very wastefull and hardly efficient… or effective).
And motives are not enough if the actions cause pain and disaster for most of the populace.