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Embracing the Power of Humanism Hardcover – May 10, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0847699667 ISBN-10: 0847699668

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (May 10, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847699668
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847699667
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,760,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Paul Kurtz has made two wonderful contributions to society. The first is a rare commodity indeed: saying t like it is. The second is equally rare: the get it heard. His effective promotion of rational inquiry has helped us both unleash and control the most powerful force on earth-our human minds. (Paul B. MacCready, Chair, AeroVironment, Inc.)

Paul Kurtz has been a leader in both exemplifying and encouraging the rationality without which our current difficulties might one day come to seem the good old days. I personally have benefited by his encouragement, and I'm sure there are thousands who can say the same. (Steve Allen)

Paul Kurtz has been a beacon for rational thought in a sea of fuzzy and sometimes coercive supernaturalism. His organizational talents and initiatives have lent direction and efficacy to the desires of those of us who have been distressed by the dominance of antisecularist forces in our society. (Adolf Grünbaum, Andrew Mellon Professor of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh)

Paul Kurtz is the most significant single humanist living today. This book is ideal for the beginner to humanism or for the person without the leisure to read all his other books. There are enough chapters taken from obscure or difficult-to-find material to make the book worthwhile even for veterans of his other books. The selections are well chosen for their emphasis on the actual real-life issues of what being a humanist means. (The New Zeland Rationalist and Humanist)

I know of no one who better explains the power of humanism than Paul Kurtz. The book is highly recommended to all who are willing to contemplate a non-theistic way of life. (Vern L. Bullough, author of Science in the Bedroom: A History of Sex Research)

About the Author

Paul Kurtz is professor of philosophy, emeritus, at SUNY, Buffalo. Known as the "Father of Secular Humanism," Dr. Kurtz is editor-in-chief of the magazine Free Inquiry and a member of the editorial board of the Skeptical Inquirer.

More About the Author

PAUL KURTZ (1925-2012), professor emeritus of philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was the author or editor of more than fifty books, including The Transcendental Temptation, The Courage to Become, and Embracing the Power of Humanism, plus nine hundred articles and reviews. He was the founder and chairman of the Institute for Science and Human Values as well as the founder and chairman emeritus of the Center for Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He appeared on many major television and radio talk shows and lectured at universities worldwide.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
An outstanding book that advocates living a meaningful life ... WITHOUT religion. Professor Kurtz defends both individual autonomy and creative fulfillment (libertarian values) *and* altruism and empathy. EMBRACING THE POWER OF HUMANISM is both the best available book on normative humanist ethics and a powerful defense of naturalistic ethics.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
While I may not always agree with everything or much of what Paul Kurtz may say , I do believe Embracing the Power of Humanism is a valuable tool in showing those who profess to have "spiritual/religious beliefs" that those who do Not, i.e. Mr Kurtz, can be equally as humane and thoughtful. Compassionate and wise. That it is the actions that speak louder than words.

It saddens me that those I know, who are non-religious, atheists, agnostics etc are so often thought of or looked upon as being "lesser than".
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mark I. Vuletic on February 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As much as I tend to disagree with Paul Kurtz on more abstract philosophical issues, I found myself unable to tear away from EMBRACING THE POWER OF HUMANISM, which compiles some of the most inspiring parts of his other books. Kurtz successfully conveys the sheer wonder, power, and exuberance of the humanistic outlook. Although I do not feel I learned anything especially new, I came away feeling unusually energized - a feeling which still persists, long after the book is back on the shelf.
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2 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Plus on July 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Paul Kurtz's writings about Secular Humanism represent just about the best that man's intellect could propose regarding the good life in the context of the 20th Century. Guess what? The context for what's thinkable and doable is rapidly changing in the 21st Century.
Secular Humanism's main weakness -- its fatalism about human mortality -- seems hopelessly feckless in light of what advanced thinkers are foreseeing as the radical rejuvenation and life extension offered by medicine circa 2030 and beyond. Anyone who doubts this apparently hasn't been paying much attention to the science news lately, or else hasn't been thinking about its deeper implications. Neo-Luddites take this scenario seriously, hence their efforts to stop or "relinquish" progress in biotech, nanotech and artificial intelligence.
Because of this failure of nerve and imagination, Kurtz cannot effectively counter Nihilism, a pessimistic, heretical interpretation of Secular Humanist premises. The prospect of conquering aging and death through human efforts offers the best hope of defeating Nihilism (not to mention supernaturalistic belief systems) and making a modified Secular Humanism, with the proffered name of Transhumanism, the working creed of a civilized and livable world.
Kurtz has collected in this one volume a kind of time capsule of what Secular Humanism had to offer in biomedically primitive times. Though I don't understand what he was trying to show by recounting his friend's deathbed conversion to Catholicism, for that just reinforces religious stereotypes about Atheism/Humanism being an unsustainable way to live. If you want to know what will replace Secular Humanism, look up the significant body of Transhumanist philosophy on the Web.
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