The contributors to this volume were asked the following questions:
The term "Humanism" is widely used, as are the terms "ethical" Humanism, "scientific" Humanism and "religious" Humanism. What is Humanism? Can you define it?
If there is in your judgment no clear definition in the literature, you may wish to propose one. You may also wish to focus on the relationship of Humanism to atheism, science, its ethical position, or some other theme.
Those who have contributed represent a wide spectrum of Humanist opinion in the world today. They are primarily philosophers, psychologists, social scientists, ethical and religious leaders. Among the themes they discuss are historic roots of Humanism, the general problem of definition, the relationship of Humanism to ethics and morality, Humanism and religion, Humanism and atheism and Humanism on the world scene. Most of the varieties of Humanism are represented, including naturalistic Humanism, liberal Humanism, atheistic Humanism, humanistic psychology, behaviourism, Marxism, and Zen.
If there is a common thread running throughout this volume, it is the conviction that Humanism is committed to the method of reason as the chief means of solving problems and the belief that mankind can survive and humans can enjoy a significant life. This conviction and this belief, however, can be realized only if men continue to have confidence in their own natural powers and abilities and the courage to use them.
About Paul Kurtz
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 Prometheus Books, the Institute for Science and Human Values, 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. His passing in 2012 received global attention, including full-length obituaries in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and global media.