The Philosophy of Humanism

The Philosophy of Humanism

The Philosophy of Humanism

The Philosophy of Humanism

Excerpt

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 its fundamentals Humanism goes back at least as far as Athens of the fifth century B.C. and the great Age of Pericles. With Materialism and Naturalism, Dualism and Idealism, it stands out as one of the major systematic philosophies in the history of civilization. And it expresses a significant viewpoint which no intellectually alert person of the twentieth century can afford to overlook.

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 very briefly or have omitted entirely the details of many philosophic problems that in a longer work would certainly merit extended consideration. For example, though I am well aware of the profound influence of social and economic factors upon philosophy, I have had space to sketch in but little of that background.

This study, first published in 1949 under the title of Humanism as a Philosophy, constitutes an expansion and revision of a lecture course on The Philosophy of Naturalistic Humanism given by me at Columbia University beginning in 1946. Students in this course have made most helpful criticisms of my book since it was first issued. I have also profited from many keen and useful comments expressed in reviews, letters and conversations. All of these opinions I have borne in mind while revising the book from start to finish for this fourth edition.

One of the most interesting criticisms which I received was contained in a letter about this volume from the late George Santayana. Mr. Santayana wrote that he was glad to know I was as much of a materialist and naturalist as he, and then added: "'Humanism' has this moral defect in my opinion, that it seems to make all mankind an authority and a compulsory object of affection for every individual. I see no reason for that. The limits of the society that we find congenial and . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.