Are there any ethical values and principles that nonreligious individuals can live by? In a time when many have forsaken otherworldly religions, what does human life mean? What is its significance? Secular humanism attempts to answer these questions in a way that resonates with human aspirations and the findings of science.
In this succinct, engaging overview of the secular humanist perspective, philosopher Paul Kurtz describes the many ways in which secular humanism’s scientific, philosophical, and ethical outlook has exerted a profound influence on civilization from the ancient world to the present. Today many schools of thought broadly identify with humanist ideas and values. But Kurtz suggests that secular humanism is especially suitable for the needs of our increasingly secular world because it rejects supernatural accounts of reality and seeks to optimize the fullness of human life in a naturalistic universe. In tune with the most progressive trends of the contemporary world, secular humanism finds meaning in life here and now and expresses confidence in the power of human beings to solve their problems and conquer uncharted frontiers.
Kurtz concludes by emphasizing that secular humanism is a bold new paradigm, which weaves together many historical threads, while adding much more that is relevant to our rapidly emerging planetary civilization.
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.