- Hardcover: 323 pages
- Publisher: F. Ungar Pub. Co; 6th ed., rev. and enl., with a new introd. exposing the Moral Majority edition (1982)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0804459975
- ISBN-13: 978-0804459976
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,115,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Philosophy of Humanism Hardcover – 1982
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Released by Humanist Press in its degenderized eighth edition, this powerful book is the definitive study of the history and growth of the humanist movement in North America. Renowned philosopher and activist Corliss Lamont offers a vigorous argument for humanism and provides an affirmative, intelligent guidebook for shaping a better life in today's complex world.
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He wrote in the Preface to the Fifth (1965) edition, "This book is a philosopher's testament. In it I have tried to describe in clear and simple terms the fully rounded philosophy of life known as naturalistic Humanism... In my treatment of this viewpoint I have aimed at conciseness and have written what is essentially an introduction to the Humanist philosophy. Accordingly, I have discussed only briefly or omitted entirely the details of some philosophic problems that in a longer work would merit extended consideration." (Pg. xi)
He outlines ten "central propositions in the Humanist philosophy": naturalistic metaphysics; "man... can have no conscious survival after death"; reliance on reason and scientific method; rejection of determinism; "holds as its highest goal the this-worldly happiness... of all mankind"; work for the welfare of the community; support of art and beauty; support of democracy worldwide; use of democracy in all areas: economic, political, and cultural; "the unending questioning of basic assumptions." (Pg. 13-14) In a Kantian vein, he also identifies 16 "foundation stones" in the "Humanist metaphysics": Substance; Activity; Form; Quality; Quantity; Duration; Presentness; Causality; Necessity; Contingency; Individuality; Relation; Potentiality; Eventuation; Unity; and Plurality. (Pg. 171-174)
He admits that "my minimum definition for a functioning religion is that it must be an over-all way of life... to which a group of persons gives supreme commitment ... Under this definition Humanism qualifies as a religion. Nonetheless, I prefer to call Humanism a philosophy or way of life." (Pg. 144) Later, he asserts, "There is no heavenly Father in or behind Nature; but Nature is truly our fatherland." (Pg. 189) Still later, he notes, "The Humanist refuses to accept any Ten Commandments or other ethical precepts as immutable and universal laws never to be challenged or questioned. He bows down to no alleged supreme moral authority either past or present." (Pg. 235)
Although Lamont is somewhat downplayed in the current AHA, his books were a tremendous influence on the movement several decades ago. This book is still well worth reading for anyone interested in Humanism, or other related movements and philosophies.