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 provide as an alternative? Have the 20th century’s crimes opposed to humanity spelled the tip 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 solution Socrates’ age-old query: what's the top type of lifestyles to guide? even if humanism has a lot in universal with technological know-how, Richard Norman exhibits that it really is faraway from a denial of the extra mysterious, fragile facet of being human. He bargains with great questions similar to Darwinism and ‘creation science’, topic and realization, euthanasia and abortion, after which argues that it's finally throughout the human means for artwork, literature and the mind's eye that humanism is a robust replacement to non secular belief.
This revised moment variation incorporates a new bankruptcy at the debates among ‘the New Atheists’ resembling Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and their non secular critics, asking why the 2 facets within the debate so usually appear to be conversing previous each other, and suggesting how the dialog may be made extra fruitful.
Richard Norman is a dedicated humanist and the writer of many books together with the ethical Philosophers and Ethics, Killing and conflict. He used to be previously Professor of Philosophy on the college of Kent, Canterbury
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Extra resources for On Humanism (Thinking in Action)
Why cannot the universe consist of entities which all interact causally with one another but no one of which is the cause of all the rest? That, in either of its versions, is the ﬁrst problem with the argument. The second problem is that in any case, even if there were such an entity, something which was a ﬁrst cause either in the sense of being ﬁrst in time or in the sense of I know no better method of introducing so large a subject, Why science undermines religion than that of comparing a single thing with a single thing; an 29 being an ultimate cause not itself caused by anything else, why should it be a god?
The gap cannot be bridged without a thorough and rigorous argument. A third problem with the appeal to direct experience is that many of the experiences in question, especially those of the emotional kind, can much more plausibly be explained in terms of wishful thinking. It is very comforting, in times of trouble, to feel that one’s life is in the hands of a loving and omnipotent god, but, precisely because it is comforting, we should be sceptical of basing any beliefs on such a feeling. I do not deny that a sense of being able to rely on supernatural comfort and support may meet an overwhelming need.
I have said that the form of this argument is an argument from analogy, the analogy between domestic breeding and natural selection. The argument from design is also an argument from analogy, and it too purports to specify a mechanism by which species and their purposive adaptation come about, so we need to compare the two explanations in these respects. Here is the design argument formulated to emphasise the analogy on which it rests: 1 Living things and other features of the natural world are organised in such a way that they serve a purpose.