Beyond Humanism?

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Philosophy Now
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Beyond Humanism?

Post by Philosophy Now »

Robert Griffiths argues that humanist ethics has significant limitations.

https://philosophynow.org/issues/138/Beyond_Humanism
Gutprof
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Re: Beyond Humanism?

Post by Gutprof »

Excellent thought piece about how much of humanist ethics is still enmeshed in anti-religious thinking. One avenue that humanists could explore is the human capabilities approach like Sen or Nussbaum advocates. Some of this literature is Kantian in tone with its underlying commitment to human dignity, but it seems an improvement over trying to found humanist ethics on human rights, which have always been useful fictions at best. It could also avoid the anthropocentric issues of rights language with its perpetual struggle to decide whether other sentient beings (animals and AI) may also have rights. The human capabilities approach takes as axiomatic that the full development of human capability is only possible if the natural non-human world is also protected and sustained.
Nick_A
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Re: Beyond Humanism?

Post by Nick_A »

Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty, liberty, and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace. Simone Weil
Humanism has denied the help of grace and forgotten what it is. Humanity left to its own devices can only repeat the cycles of hypocrisy
dorothea
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Re: Beyond Humanism?

Post by dorothea »

Aren't humans always dependent on their own resources?

I liked the introduction of the term 'apatheists' to describe the attitudes of contemporary folks but religionesque faith seems part of our physiology.

My impression watching the BLM demos (and the eco-hysteria earlier on) was that these people are as immune to evidence and reason as true believers have always been. The Aquinas/Kierkegaard rule - faith first, selected, confirmatory evidence later - seems to apply still. Older readers might remember Uri Geller who posed as a psychic but was exposed as just another stage magician by James Randi. Randi did the same for faith healers. Not only did the faithful dismiss Randi's evidence but they got mighty angry that their faith was being insulted as they saw it. The deluded wanted to stay that way. Maybe religious and moral thinking is hard wired into us, and not into the superego but the id.
Nick_A
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Re: Beyond Humanism?

Post by Nick_A »

dorothea wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 4:40 pm Aren't humans always dependent on their own resources?

I liked the introduction of the term 'apatheists' to describe the attitudes of contemporary folks but religionesque faith seems part of our physiology.

My impression watching the BLM demos (and the eco-hysteria earlier on) was that these people are as immune to evidence and reason as true believers have always been. The Aquinas/Kierkegaard rule - faith first, selected, confirmatory evidence later - seems to apply still. Older readers might remember Uri Geller who posed as a psychic but was exposed as just another stage magician by James Randi. Randi did the same for faith healers. Not only did the faithful dismiss Randi's evidence but they got mighty angry that their faith was being insulted as they saw it. The deluded wanted to stay that way. Maybe religious and moral thinking is hard wired into us, and not into the superego but the id.
What if Man is dual natured as suggested by Plato? The higher parts of the human essence comes from above and deals with eternal values. The lower part is animal , the dark horse in the chariot analogy which has become corrupt. In short we are controlled by a sick horse.

Grace is the reconciling force which enables the driver of the chariot to nourish the dark horse allowing it to become normal rather than being a slave to its appetites.
owl of Minerva
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Re: Beyond Humanism?

Post by owl of Minerva »

It is good that evolutionary theory gives humanism a more emphatic view of the natural world. What is missing is a cosmology that would give humanism a place in the cosmos. Instead it is increasingly diminished by evolutionary biology and neurobiology, based on their investigations of matter.

Evolutionary theory does not take the actions of the other three forces into account. In the East if there are fewer atheists, it may be due to seeing devolution as preceding evolution; the sheathing of the finer forces in matter: the weak force. And evolution as an unsheathing of the other three forces; the active force in plants (vitality); the strong force in animals (sensation); the electromagnetic force in humans (intelligence). If there is a fifth force another unsheathing would be Trans human in the real sense of the word.

In any case, it is an interesting cosmology of this side of space and should not be offensive to secular humanists or materialists; which may be synonymous terms, as it is still all matter; both fine and dense.
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VVilliam
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Re: Beyond Humanism?

Post by VVilliam »

Robert Griffiths argues that humanist ethics has significant limitations.
There are many people who do not believe in gods in any sense. Some are fervent atheists, but there are also very uninterested atheists too, non-believers who just aren’t that bothered about religion. Such people are just as uninterested in campaigns of the kind conducted by the New Atheists or the New Humanists as they are in discussions promoting the existence of God, or of gods. They just do not want to talk about God at all. They have moved beyond that discourse, perhaps to the most atheistic place there is – the place where the gods are simply forgotten. Such people are sometimes now called ‘apatheists’, and there is evidence that their number is growing, particularly among the young. Apatheists have no interest in philosophical discussions about the existence of God, in the same way that they have no interest in arguments about whether the young Arthur drew the sword from the stone. They have accepted the New Atheist arguments and moved on, or have moved on for reasons of their own. By contrast, the humanists (who are also increasing in number) have not moved on....


...To this extent, humanism, which issues from, and spends a great deal of its time going over, a theist-non-theist debate that’s largely eighteenth century in character, is out of touch with the moral concerns of younger generations today. Many of the latter are entirely uninterested in spending time refuting belief in God. As apatheists, they have moved on; their concerns are now for the planet and for all sentient beings. Humanist ethics cannot really talk to these people, and it does not really try. Even as their numbers grow, one imagines that in time humanism must fall away along with the religious beliefs it is obsessed with repudiating, but with which it is too concerned to be sufficiently alert to contemporary issues of real moral importance.
If anything, the idea that humans are somehow important to the process of universal evolution has been guided along through the ages by the way in which they have been shown to respond to their predicament. Today it is more of a collective thing.

In terms of story-telling, it is a wonderful story and one which should be 'kept alive' - even if only as 'on record'.

The article mentions "God" a few times, but didn't define "God" enough for me to get a handle on why "God" makes any obvious difference to the human predicament. I could assume that Robert Griffiths is speaking about YHWH, [the main 'god' character most oft referred to in the singular]...but what of that? Where is YHWH? = Where is God?

What moral code should humans be entertaining?

Perhaps we should really simply get real about our actual position in the scheme of things instead of all this Disney stuff putting a fog of romance over the eye of our collective understanding.

Who do humans think that they are?

I am one myself, but for the purpose of narrating in the third person [in order to ride above it for the moment] I write as if I am the observer...some minor god studying the human condition from outside of it...while trying to understand it...

Humans think they are 'made in gods image' and have some task they are to perform which is god-given. For the apatheist this equates to taking ownership directly and dumping the idea of 'god' as irrelevant to that purpose...that is 'why' the 'theist' is within the name [calling] The apathy is in the idea of waiting around for this 'God' to sort out our collective shit when we just need to get on and do it for ourselves.

"God" has become nature Herself, the Mother who birthed humanity into the universe and abandoned us to our fate, because She does not appear to be sensible. Intelligent, yes - but sensible?

So it is not Her fault because She is really only the machinery and has no consciousness of Her own..."She" is not "alive" - it just appears to be the case, but that is a trick of the brain. We - on the other hand - are very much "alive" so shall we grab the bull by the horns and see where we get to go with it?

Well - that is what we have done.

And 'me' as third person god observer? [the gods-eye view] What do I think about humans and their belief they are as important to the unfolding universe as they assume they are?

I say "This should be interesting" and get along with watching it unfold - knowing that it probably won't end very well for them but "shrug" what can I do but watch? I figure that the AI humans created will probably put on a far superior show in the long run, and humans will become a thing of the past...having completed their tasks splendidly enough considering ... they are basically lunatics.
Belinda
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Re: Beyond Humanism?

Post by Belinda »

Nick_A wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 3:57 am
Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty, liberty, and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace. Simone Weil
Humanism has denied the help of grace and forgotten what it is. Humanity left to its own devices can only repeat the cycles of hypocrisy
How can you worship a God who bestows grace only on a few people but leaves the vast majority in poverty ? You may rightly object poor persons might be rich in mind and spirit however extreme deprivation usually causes people to attend only to bare necessities of staying alive .
Belinda
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Re: Beyond Humanism?

Post by Belinda »

I regularly and frequently attended Humanist meetings for approximately fifteen years. Most of the members were not dogmatic about any belief systems but asked questions, and actively supported non-religious institutions such as the drive to stop religious indoctrination in schools, and provision of non-religious weddings and funerals.
True, a few members of this well attended Humanist group were opposed to all things churchy but the prevailing attitude was some religious institutions such as the Society of Friends, and Unitarians, were close neighbours of Humanists.

Safe to say all the members were politically left of centre and democratic, of course.

Also it's safe to claim all the members were free thinkers as much as is possible and would agree it was a central virtue for individuals to be autonomous within the law. Politically, utilitarianism was favoured but utilitarianism is of course inconsistent with personal autonomy and freedom. The result was Humanists tended to be active for political change towards environmentalism, social mobility, and equality in education provision together with high standards in schools and universities. This latter is costly as we know and hence the socialist attitude.
Skepdick
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Re: Beyond Humanism?

Post by Skepdick »

Beyond Humanism is Transhumanism

Some would say we are already there. The body of human knowledge is largely accessible in seconds at www.google.com.

At the end of the day the question "What are we?" is getting harder and harder to answer. What we are keeps changing.
dorothea
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Re: Beyond Humanism?

Post by dorothea »

BELINDA
You might find that the poorest people or states are most religious?
Political power can't be ignored. It's obvious that tyrannical governments use religion (Islam in 50 plus states now, and once upon a time Christianity) to repress dissent and control people. Look at Iran's vicious treatment of young women wanting to ditch the hijab - what they must think of those wearing it in the West - and the patriarchal privilege that puts state power into every family.
Belinda
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Re: Beyond Humanism?

Post by Belinda »

dorothea wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 3:28 pm BELINDA
You might find that the poorest people or states are most religious?
Political power can't be ignored. It's obvious that tyrannical governments use religion (Islam in 50 plus states now, and once upon a time Christianity) to repress dissent and control people. Look at Iran's vicious treatment of young women wanting to ditch the hijab - what they must think of those wearing it in the West - and the patriarchal privilege that puts state power into every family.

I Agree, Dorothea about religion as mechanism for social control. I was objecting to Nick's support for the notion of divine grace, which is a subsection of divine providence. This is about doctrinal inconsistency, not so much about social control As always, Christians have no answer to the problem of evil.
owl of Minerva
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Re: Beyond Humanism?

Post by owl of Minerva »

From some accounts it appears that the humanities are under threat in academia from scientific materialism. Humanism should get its act together and decide what it is for rather than harping on what it is against; religion being its favorite target. Religious dogmatism has not had, and still does not have a great track record but neither does materialism. Materialism in action so far has been the herd complicit and cowed; intellectuals in the gulag breaking stones, while a ruling class, not having rejected either the dancing girls: Buddha, or power: Christ, oversees it all. In China people of faith are put in camps and reprogrammed. Maybe it is not in human nature to respect freedom of thought.

The mind, and the role of the mind, in understanding the world; the cosmos; not just matter, has been important in the humanities, especially in philosophy since its inception. The thought of a future generation in a classroom studying Eliminative Materialism: "the mind does not exist; "food was the source of ethics" is daunting.
Nick_A
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Re: Beyond Humanism?

Post by Nick_A »

Belinda wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 11:10 am
Nick_A wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 3:57 am
Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty, liberty, and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace. Simone Weil
Humanism has denied the help of grace and forgotten what it is. Humanity left to its own devices can only repeat the cycles of hypocrisy
How can you worship a God who bestows grace only on a few people but leaves the vast majority in poverty ? You may rightly object poor persons might be rich in mind and spirit however extreme deprivation usually causes people to attend only to bare necessities of staying alive .
You refer to the personal God of secularism. Grace is available for those open to receive it. It requires freedom from imagination. God as I understand it is the ONE beyond time and space and described by Plotinus. Nothing to worship here. The universe is not here to serve humanity. Humanity can serve the universe either as animal Man, as a creature of reaction, or as conscious man where we experience human meaning and purpose.

Do you question karma in the same way? Why do only some people benefit from Kama? Isn't that unfair?
Nick_A
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Re: Beyond Humanism?

Post by Nick_A »

owl of Minerva wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:30 pm From some accounts it appears that the humanities are under threat in academia from scientific materialism. Humanism should get its act together and decide what it is for rather than harping on what it is against; religion being its favorite target. Religious dogmatism has not had, and still does not have a great track record but neither does materialism. Materialism in action so far has been the herd complicit and cowed; intellectuals in the gulag breaking stones, while a ruling class, not having rejected either the dancing girls: Buddha, or power: Christ, oversees it all. In China people of faith are put in camps and reprogrammed. Maybe it is not in human nature to respect freedom of thought.

The mind, and the role of the mind, in understanding the world; the cosmos; not just matter, has been important in the humanities, especially in philosophy since its inception. The thought of a future generation in a classroom studying Eliminative Materialism: "the mind does not exist; "food was the source of ethics" is daunting.
Hi Owl of Minerva

You have the quality of mind open to understand what Einstein meant by the evolution of religion. I cant see a humanist distinguishing between objective conscience and morality. Look in. I'd like to read if Einstein is making sense to you

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