Episode 47 - Eupraxsophy and Philosophy, Part 7
Posted: 20 September 2010 02:26 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  170
Joined  2009-06-02

Part Seven of a continuing course presentation by Center for Inquiry founder Paul Kurtz. In 2006, Dr. Kurtz taught a course entitled “Eupraxsophy and Philosophy” before an audience of adult learners at the Center for Inquiry / Transnational in Amherst, New York. It was the principal course offering in that year’s Center for Inquiry Institute.

“Eupraxsophy” is a word coined by Dr. Kurtz. From Greek roots, it means good practice and wisdom. On his view, secular humanism should be understood not as a philosophy nor a religion but rather as a eupraxsophy.

This course represents a “capstone” career summation of Kurtz’s thinking on secular humanism, ethics, and skepticism.

Paul Kurtz is founder and former chair of the Center for Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is professor of philosophy emeritus at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Editor-in-Chief of Free Inquiry magazine. He is the author of essential books in the field including Forbidden Fruit: The Ethics of Secularism, Living without Religion: Eupraxsophy, The Courage to Become, The Transcendental Temptation, and many others.


Posted: 04 October 2010 03:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Total Posts:  2011
Joined  2007-08-09
Adam Isaak - 20 September 2010 02:26 PM

On his view, secular humanism should be understood not as a philosophy nor a religion but rather as a eupraxsophy.

Can anyone explain what that means except that humanism “should” be understood as good practice and wisdom? Why isn’t that a philosophy? Why isn’t it a religion?

When I look at Kurtz’s word, I see all three domains of being: emotion (eu), thought (sophy) and action (prax) but the way Kurtz formulates it, as good practice and wisdom, emotion and I suppose sensation are all but removed - I understand, they’re implicit in the idea of “good” but why leave it there, especially when there’s such an inclination among self-described Humanists to overlook the positive role of emotion in life?

I think “eupraxsophy” adds something to the understanding of Humanism but saying that it is how we “should” understand it asks too much. It’s one way of looking at things but for me there are more complete expressions of this idea.


I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

Posted: 21 October 2010 06:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Total Posts:  17
Joined  2010-10-20

I love the word eupraxsophy.    I first was introduced to this word in one of Paul’s latest books. 

This word fits me so well as an active inquirier…

Eupraxsophy (previously “eupraxophy” but updated) is a nonreligious life stance or worldview emphasizing the importance of living an ethical and exuberant life, and relying on rational methods such as logic, observation and science (rather than faith, mysticism or revelation) toward that end. The word “eupraxsophy” was coined by Paul Kurtz, and comes from the Greek words for “good practice and wisdom.” Eupraxsophies, like religions, are cosmic in their outlook, but eschew the supernatural component of religion, avoiding the “transcendental temptation,” as Kurtz puts it