By Richard Norman
What is humanism and why does it topic? Is there any doctrine each humanist needs to carry? If it rejects faith, what does it supply as an alternative? Have the 20th century’s crimes opposed to humanity spelled the top for humanism?
On Humanism is a well timed and powerfully argued philosophical defence of humanism. it's also an impassioned plea that we flip to ourselves, no longer faith, if we wish to resolution Socrates’ age-old query: what's the most sensible form of lifestyles to steer? even supposing humanism has a lot in universal with technological know-how, Richard Norman exhibits that it truly is faraway from a denial of the extra mysterious, fragile part of being human. He bargains with gigantic questions resembling Darwinism and ‘creation science’, topic and cognizance, euthanasia and abortion, after which argues that it really is eventually in the course of the human skill for paintings, literature and the mind's eye that humanism is a strong substitute to spiritual belief.
This revised moment variation incorporates a new bankruptcy at the debates among ‘the New Atheists’ akin to Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and their spiritual critics, asking why the 2 aspects within the debate so frequently appear to be conversing prior each other, and suggesting how the dialog should be made extra fruitful.
Richard Norman is a devoted humanist and the writer of many books together with the ethical Philosophers and Ethics, Killing and battle. He used to be previously Professor of Philosophy on the collage of Kent, Canterbury
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Extra info for On Humanism (Thinking in Action)
What’s So Special About Human Beings? 56 On Humanism Three One of the criticisms frequently made of atheistic humanism, especially by people of a religious persuasion, is that it embraces a diminished conception of what it is to be human. Especially because of its alliance with a scientiﬁc view of the world, it is said to be committed to something called ‘materialism’ and therefore to leave no room for what makes us distinctively human – our ‘higher’ nature, our ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ in virtue of which we are ‘made in the image of God’.
Nevertheless, let us look at some of the suggested alternatives to rational argument and see what they amount to. One of them is the appeal to revelation. ‘We know that there is a god, because he has revealed himself to us through his prophets, and through his own words in the holy book’ – the Bible, the Qur’an, or whatever. This as it stands is hopeless. If we already had independent reasons for believing that there is a god, then we could go on to look for further reasons why this or that particular individual or particular book might be an authentic conveyor of his words.
I doubt it, after all this time, but it is not impossible. The fact remains, however, that the onus is on the theists to produce a good reason for thinking that there is a god, and if those reasons are not forthcoming, then so much the worse for religious belief. 40 On Humanism REVELATION, RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE, AND FAITH Am I putting too much weight on rational argument? Many religious believers would say that I am. These traditional arguments for the existence of God are outmoded, they would say; no one now thinks that you can be reasoned into a belief in God by means of arguments.