For centuries, humanists have celebrated and cherished the limitless potential of humankind and its irrepressible spirit. For its efforts to develop rational solutions to human problems rather than invoking supernatural intervention, humanism has been rewarded with a rich and distinguished heritage whose contributors include many of the brightest minds of intellectual history. Advocating reason, critical intelligence, free and objective inquiry, democratic institutions, and moral values based on human experience, humanism stands in steadfast opposition to the moral, political, and social oppression perpetrated by all who would have us swear unquestioned allegiance to authoritarian power, be it temporal or divine.
But if humanism is to remain fresh and vibrant, alert and ever vigilant, it must continuously assess and evaluate its goals in light of new experience. In The Question of Humanism, 23 contributors investigate the meaning of humanism today, its range of perspectives, and how humanists can deal with the challenges of contemporary life and those it will face as the new century approaches. This absorbing collection of original essays examines the abundant variety of historical and contemporary humanist philosophies, with special emphasis on the work of Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, and Michel Foucault. Focusing on the need for an awareness of humanist tradition, these essays offer blunt, progressive self-appraisals to illustrate how humanism will continue to grow as a vital and compelling intellectual force.
Featured are essays by Cecil Abrahams, Zygmunt Adamczewski, Samuel Ajzenstat, Martin Andic, Allan Booth, Richard Brown, Michael Cardy, Kenneth Dorter, Richard Francis, David Goicoechea, Danny Goldstick, Calvin Hayes, Marsha Hewitt, Monica Hornyansky, Paul Kurtz, James Lawler, John Luik, Robert McLaughlin, Graeme Nicholson, Zaid Orudjev, Robert Perkins, Charles Scott, and Edward A. Synan.
The challenges of the past have served to strengthen humanists’ resolve. Humanism, in all of its variations, is now ready for a new era.