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by Austin Dacey,Evan Fales,Lewis Vaughn
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Humanities
  • Author:
    Austin Dacey,Evan Fales,Lewis Vaughn
  • ISBN:
    0742513920
  • ISBN13:
    978-0742513921
  • Genre:
  • Publisher:
    Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (August 11, 2003)
  • Pages:
    240 pages
  • Subcategory:
    Humanities
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    4.3
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Lewis Vaughn, Austin Dacey, Evan Fales.

Lewis Vaughn, Austin Dacey, Evan Fales. The Case for Humanism is the premier textbook to introduce and help students think critically about the 'big ideas' of Western humanism-secularism, rationalism, materialism, science, democracy, individualism, and others-all powerful themes that run through Western thought from the ancient Greeks and the Enlightenment to the present day.

by Austin Dacey and Lewis Vaughn.

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oceedings{Vaughn2003TheCF, title {The Case for Humanism: An Introduction}, author {Lewis Vaughn and Austin Dacey and Evan Fales}, year {2003} . Chapter 1 Foreword Chapter 2 Humanism and Philosophy Chapter 3 Human Nature Chapter 4 Freedom and Destiny Chapter 5 The Moral Life Chapter 6 Knowledge, Truth, and Faith Chapter 7 Science and Religion Chapter 8 God, Humanism, and Philosophy Chapter 9 Society and Politics.

Lewis Vaughn, Austin Dacey . The Case for Humanism is the premier textbook on the 'big ideas' of Western humanism secularism, rationalism, materialism, democracy, individualism, and many others. These elements make The Case for Humanism a natural for courses in introductory and comparative religion.

The Case for Humanism is the premier textbook on the 'big ideas' of Western humanism secularism, rationalism .

The Case for Humanism is the premier textbook on the 'big ideas' of Western humanism secularism, rationalism, materialism, democracy, individualism, and many others. Lewis Vaughn is the coauthor of two philosophy textbooks: Doing Philosophy: An Introduction through Thought Experiments (1999) and How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age (1995).

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Austin Dacey (Dacey, Austin). used books, rare books and new books. The Case for Humanism: An Introduction: ISBN 9780742513921 (978-0-7425-1392-1) Hardcover, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003. Find all books by 'Austin Dacey' and compare prices Find signed collectible books by 'Austin Dacey'. by Lewis Vaughn, Austin Dacey. ISBN 9780742513921 (978-0-7425-1392-1) Hardcover, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003. ISBN 9780742513938 (978-0-7425-1393-8) Softcover, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003.

The Case for Humanism is the premier textbook to introduce and help students think critically about the big ideas of Western humanism-secularism, rationalism, materialism, science, democracy, individualism, an. .

The Case for Humanism is the premier textbook to introduce and help students think critically about the big ideas of Western humanism-secularism, rationalism, materialism, science, democracy, individualism, and others-all powerful themes that run through Western thought from the ancient Greeks and the Enlightenment to the present da. It may takes up to 1-5 minutes before you received it.

Evan Lewis is a main character in Final Destination 2 and is a survivor of the Route 23 highway pileup. He is a lottery winner and was deemed one of the luckiest people alive

Evan Lewis is a main character in Final Destination 2 and is a survivor of the Route 23 highway pileup. He is a lottery winner and was deemed one of the luckiest people alive. Evan is the first survivor of the Route 23 pileup to die. Evan lived in an apartment in New York, with someone named Rick, and has two former lovers named Tawny and Nikki. Before the pile-up, Evan won the lottery which has caused him to become very arrogant and boastful.

The Case for Humanism is the premier textbook on the "big ideas" of Western humanism—secularism, rationalism, materialism, democracy, individualism, and many others. Students are invited to think critically about these powerful themes that run through Western thought from the ancient Greeks, to the Enlightenment, to the present day. The issues discussed raise some of the most provocative and relevant questions of our time, regardless of discipline—these are the major questions of science, religion, and philosophy.Drawing on an accessible, student-friendly format, the authors teach by example how to analyze arguments for and against humanist ideas, how to judge alternative theories, and how to evaluate humanism as a whole. The text breaks humanism down into 17 fundamental propositions for students to dissect. These elements make The Case for Humanism a natural for courses in introductory and comparative religion.

Forcestalker
I purchased this book to seek understanding of the different school of thoughts regarding the topic. The book was very informative and I recommend it to every who wants to know what is humanism and how it well dominant our thinking.
Gavirim
The Case for Humanism is co-written by two longtime members of organized humanism, whom together cover the history and premises - if not most of the consequences - of humanism; and, while doing so, present a fairly informative account of this vital living philosophy. The arguments in this text are shared by Dr. Lewis Vaughn (five chapters) - a one time director for the Council for Secular Humanism, and co-author of the brilliant text on critical thinking (with Dr. Theodore Schick), How to Think about Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age, and by Dr. Austin Dacey (three chapters) - current director of the Center for Inquiry MetroNY and Editor of the philosophical journal, Philo.

Lewis, in laying out the foundations of the "case" in the opening pages of Chapter One, seems to favor a sort of atheistic bravado (mockingly listing several dubious religious or mystical news events), and comes down decisively on the side of science advocacy. These concerns constitute those which most folks who've heard anything about humanism already tend to think are most important. This underestimation of humanism in the public square may be due to a lack of dynamic humanist advocacy over the last half-century. If instead Vaughn and Dacey had actually fully articulated a well-rounded case for humanism, it would have covered arguments beyond science, metaphysics, and religion. Indeed, the conspicuous lack of any references to the four defining documents of modern humanism - the Humanist Manifestos - and a highly truncated discussion of the socio-political consequences of having such a philosophy as humanism, surprised me as both Vaughn and Dacey are quite active in organized humanism. It is unfortunate that when closing the 221 page book, it's student audience may know more about where humanism came from, and why God doesn't exist, than about what one can actually do with their lives once embracing the humanistic life-stance.

Vaughn and Dacey begin by making a list of ideals they consider to form the crux of humanism, and then share in defining and, for the most part, defending those ideals. These ideals include affirmations that humans are physical "systems" with minds, but devoid of souls; that humanists are concerned with the here and now, and not the hereafter; that humanists are not controlled by "fate" or supernatural entities; that there is such a thing as objective truth; that there ought to be separation of church and state in democratic societies; and that science is the best method of knowing. Any good atheist or science advocate would certainly hold these truths to be self-evident, and so they should, but this is humanism 101. Of course in such an introductory textbook, these things must be highlighted and discussed, but only in so far as to build the intended historical and philosophical case for humanism. In other words, science and our skepticism of religious claims are only where we start, not where we end up, as humanists.

Vaughn starts us out with an encapsulated history of humanistic thinking from the Pre-Socratics through the 18th and 19th century's Enlightenment(s).* Dacey then tackles that seemingly elusive question: "What is Human Nature?" He address's what Vaughn previously listed as number one on his list of humanist ideals ... "Human Beings are superior to the rest of nature in their values, powers, and place in the world" ... with a certain distaste for the obvious speciesism that statement entails. Dacey seems to argue that though we are more powerful and domineering as compared to the other forms of life on Earth, we certainly are not more worthy of existence simply for those reasons. Dacey is clear that speciesism is not a part of the humanist ethos. Indeed he tackles four different types of anthropocentrism as he defines speciesism this way, "A judgment of action is speciest when it applies different ethical standards to members of another species simply because they are members of a different species, and despite there being no morally relevant difference between them."

Human dominion over the earth is not the only place in A Case for Humanism that Vaughn and Dacey part way. On the surface, such debate bodes well for the inherent uncertainty and anti-dogmatism humanism represents; but where there is fundamental disagreement, there can be no ism at all. Perhaps the most obvious such disagreement between the two authors is on the "free will" issue. Dacey, in his chapter on human nature, and in other writings on the subject outside this text, seems to take the hard deterministic side of the argument. He seems to acknowledge that free will is, at least, an illusion, and perhaps even a delusion. Vaughn, who writes the actual chapter on free will in The Case for Humanism - and who is therefore more obvious as to his opinion - seems to favor libertarianism.

In order to most accurately discuss this humanist "third rail" topic, I sought some assistance from Thomas Clark of the Center for Naturalism ([...] The Case for Humanism clearly describes scientific naturalism as the dominant paradigm among scientists today. That paradigm suggests, among other things, that there is an objective, natural world we all live in; that there is no supernatural world whatsoever; and that the "mind" is the emergent property of the physical brain. By defending libertarianism, Vaughn defends what Clark considers to be an anti-scientific position regarding human behavior. Indeed, if we accept Clark's definition of naturalism, we must also conclude that the contra-causal "free will" libertarianism advocates for, is as supernatural as angels and gods.

Vaughn argues that because some events on the quantum level are uncaused, then hard determinism, which is the claim that all actions are caused, is false. He also argues that compatibilism, which essentially is the claim that although actions are caused, we should still believe in the freedom to choose, does not hold water because it is possible for actions to actually be uncaused and still not be free. Finally Vaughn says that libertarianism, the claim advocating for uncaused actions and free will, is most probably true because our experience suggests that our actions are sometimes free.

Yet, according to Clark, it's generally accepted that random quantum effects in the micro-universe are not such that could affect the macro-universe in which we operate, therefore there are really no uncaused actions in human behavior.

Additionally, "any action attributed to a random, uncaused factor couldn't count as a free act since after all you didn't cause it... the random, uncaused factor did." Clark also argues that "the compatibilist freedom of voluntary action does not depend on the (impossible) power to have chosen oneself and one's desires from the ground up."

But perhaps what is most interesting is Clark's take on Libertarianism:

"The idea of libertarian agent causation - that people somehow cause things to happen but are not themselves fully caused is just about the most unscientific, illogical notion of freedom ever invented. And the idea that our subjective experience of having this sort of freedom counts as good evidence for it is again completely unscientific and insupportable. If I have the subjective experience of having a soul, or of being god, or of being the best baritone in Boston, does that make any of these things true? Clearly not. So why should we have more confidence in the evidential warrant of the subjective experience that we have libertarian freedom, especially given all the evidence on the other side that I and my behavior is fully caused?"

Clark's point of view is key for humanism because the consequences of believing in libertarianism has resulted in some of the most insidious behavior in society. For instance, our criminal justice system is currently based more on retribution, than on real justice. Nor is there a real understanding of the nature of crime per say. Again, Clark:

"The question that libertarians must consider is: which state, our current laissez-faire disciplinarian state, or a mentor state, most infringes on freedom of choice, defined as the personal liberty to do as one wishes? It's no contest. Coercive social control, which intervenes after the fact of misconduct, and depends primarily on retributively justified confinement with little or no rehabilitative amenities, reduces liberty far more than do social policies which encourage citizens to develop proclivities for making good choices in advance of potential misconduct. So, without any compromise of liberty up front (remember, ameliorative social programs aren't coercive), we end up with better moral agents, less need for punishment, and thus an increase in liberty overall."

Vaughn and Dacey continue by offering chapters on morality, religion and science, as well as by arguing the obligatory "case against God."

The chapters on religion, God and science are fairly well written-and important-but again, more Humanism 101 (yet we are getting awfully close to the end of the book by now). The chapter on morality, however, may be futile if Clark is right, for it would seem that if morality is determined by nature (genetics and environment), ideas like good and bad or right and wrong may no longer apply. If what we do depends literally on what we are and what we have been exposed to in life, then we all act as we must ... each of us according to our determinants.

In the final chapter, Dacey tackles the socio-political case for humanism. It was disturbing to see that the discussion of humanism and politics was condensed into one chapter, for how can anyone be expected to cover the socio-political nature of modern humanism - with its history in the Enlightenment through the myriad struggles of today - in just 30 pages?

Yet, The Case for Humanism implies in its title that the readers will learn why humanism is so important, so unique, and so worthy of defense and praxis. It would seem then that praxis is worth more than 30 pages, even in an introductory book on humanism.

So, what of the 30 pages we do actually get? Dacey spends the first half of this chapter dealing with liberalism as understood through the lens of the Enlightenment. Of course this means Dacey focuses on Classical Liberalism which was concerned primarily with personal liberty. This libertarian ethos is certainly found to dominate atheistic, and even some scientific circles; but libertarianism (as in individual rights and civil liberties), is a minor-though not insignificant-part of the humanist philosophy. To be fair to Dacey however, when discussing some arguments against Classical Liberalism, he acknowledges that as we move toward planetary humanism-where we must be primarily concerned with universal human rights and a more cooperative, socialized politic-Classical Liberalism may have to be modified if it is to play a vital role in humanism.

Dacey spends the last half of his chapter on secularism (the separation of church and state), and tolerance, which are indeed central to modern humanism, especially in these times of the American Religious Right and the emergence of violent Islamic fundamentalism. Any "case for humanism" must, of course, emphasize these political issues; yet they only scratch the surface of the socio-political dimension of humanism. Why stop there? Even through the lens of the 18th century Enlightenment, and certainly via a reading of the various humanist manifestos, there are many more subjects which need to be discussed if a true case for the living philosophy of humanism is to be made. Issues from abortion, gay rights, civil rights, democracy, and war and peace... to concerns about international cooperation, the environment, education, health care, poverty, technology, and democratic socialism need to be a part of such a case. With humanism defined historically and philosophically as this textbook does, albeit with some trouble in certain areas, it seems imperative that the authors discuss these political issues. Since they weren't, the question then arises, just what "case" were the authors making? The case for secularism, democracy or scientific atheism?

The Enlightenment thinkers understood the nature of humanism, it seems, more than some of us do today. Stephen Bronner, in an interview on WBAI-NY's "Equal Time for Freethought," addressed the issue of economics and the Enlightenment:

"If its true that the Enlightenment opposed the arbitrary use of power by institutions which act as they want, without any regard to the public good, (one) should concern (oneself) with the arbitrary powers that capitalistic institutions exercise. To that extent, the move towards a commitment to social justice and democratic socialism is fundamentally connected to the Enlightenment, and not an abstraction."

And, if modern humanism is based at all on the Enlightenment, a case for humanism must include such issues. Indeed, a better textbook might have covered the information we get in the first seven chapters of The Case for Humanism in the first 35% of the book. Then, if there was the want to discuss determinism and morality, that would add another 15%. The remaining 50% should have been a discussion of the socio-political consequences of scientific humanism.

The first half of such a book would explain where humanism came from and some of its most important ingredients, while the second half of the book would talk about the living philosophy and what it means to really argue the case for humanism.

*For a great book on how we ought to reclaim the Enlightenment in these times of the Religious Right, the Neo-Conservatives, and the Postmodern Left, read Stephen Eric Bronner's Reclaiming the Enlightenment: Towards a Politics of Radical Engagement