Are Humanism and Individualism Incompatable?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008 2:54:54 AM
The rights of prisoners, whether or not they have any, ect. has been a deal breaker for me and Objectivism but then I hardly ever agree with anyone about anything.
Dear Dr. Peikoff.....
I think they are.
Humanists and Individualists get along just fine.
Perhaps I am being oblivious and redundant.
Dr. Peikoff responds.
"A ah, really linguistic question....
Are Humanism and Individualism incompatible?
In the ordinary usage today, they are incompatible. Originally Humanism meant the stress on Man, Man as important, rather than God and religion, and in that context and of course, individual rights and the value of man are perfectly compatible.
But today, Humanists are generally, the term is generally used for people who accept the Christian Ethics but make Mankind the beneficiary of our self-sacrifice rather than God. So, for instance, the Communists would be called Humanists and so on.
And that use goes back to Auguste Comte, who started the "Religion of Humanity" with the "Goddess of Humanity" being what we worship.
Now in that sense you can usually tell a Secular Humanist which is what the evangelicals hate, is somebody who is concerned with this world, and with the collective of man, as what you should worship within this world.
So the choice between religion and humanism as it stands today, is super naturalism or collectivism.
("hju;m@nIz(@)m) [f. human a. + -ism, after humanist. Cf. Ger. humanismus.]
†1. Belief in the mere humanity of Christ: cf. humanitarian n. 1a. Obs.
"1812 Coleridge Omniana in Lit. Rem. (1836) I. 377 A man who has passed from orthodoxy to the loosest Arminianism, and thence to Arianism, and thence to direct Humanism."
2. The character or quality of being human; devotion to human interests.
"1836 Hor. Smith Tin Trump. (1876) 241 More consonant+to truth, as well as to an enlightened spirit of humanism." "1850 Gladstone Homer II. 242 The Homeric Mercury+exceeds in humanism+the other Olympian gods." "1875 Browning Aristoph. Apol. 119 With kindly humanism they countenanced Our emulation of divine escapes Thro' sense and soul." "1888 Amer. Anthropol. Jan. 12 According as he [man] raises his intellectual and moral nature to the levels of a higher and higher humanism."
3. Any system of thought or action which is concerned with merely human interests (as distinguished from divine), or with those of the human race in general (as distinguished from individual); the ‘Religion of Humanity’.
"1860 J. Gardner Faiths World II. 76/2 The Philanthropic Humanism soon gave place to a higher Humanism, which began to spring out of the ardent study of the ancient classics." "1876 Gladstone in Contemp. Rev. June 25 Comtism or Positivism, or, as it might be called, Humanism." "1877 W. K. Clifford Lect. (1879) II. 249, I neither admit the moral influence of theism in the past, nor look forward to the moral influence of humanism in the future." "1883 A. Barratt Phys. Metempiric 128 Altruism+overshadows the Egoism on which rests the morality of individual men, and already shows occasional symptoms of fading into a higher Humanism." "1887 Spectator 25 June 853/1 From the strictest Roman Catholicism to the nakedest humanism."
4. Devotion to those studies which promote human culture; literary culture; esp. the system of the Humanists, the study of the Roman and Greek classics which came into vogue at the Renascence.
"1832 Sir W. Hamilton Discuss. (1853) 276 note, Die Gelehrten Schulen, etc., i.e. Learned Schools, according to the principles of a genuine humanism." "1877 J. E. Carpenter tr. Tiele's Hist. Relig. 91 Greek humanism and Greek philosophy." "1881 Gardiner & Mullinger Introd. Eng. Hist. vii. 105 When the Middle Ages drew to a close with the humanism of Italy." "1882 M. Arnold in 19th Cent. Aug. 220 We talk of knowing Greek and Roman antiquity+which is what people have called humanism." "1885 Symonds in Encycl. Brit. XVIII. 709/2 Petrarch+was even less eminent as an Italian poet than as the founder of Humanism, the inaugurator of the Renaissance in Italy." "1885 Academy 5 Sept. 144/1 The humanism of Erasmus and More, once planted in England, grew there as it did abroad." "1897 Dowden Fr. Lit. i. iii. §2. 46 The early humanism of France was clouded and lost in the tempests of the Hundred Years' War."
5. Philos. A pragmatic system of thought introduced by F. C. S. Schiller and William James which emphasizes that man can only comprehend and investigate what is with the resources of the human mind, and discounts abstract theorizing; so, more generally, implying that technological advance must be guided by awareness of widely understood human needs.
"1903 F. C. S. Schiller Humanism p. xvi, I propose+to convert to the use of philosophic terminology a word which has long been famed in history and literature, and to denominate Humanism the attitude of thought which I know to be habitual in William James and in myself." "1904 W. James Coll. Ess. & Rev. (1920) xxxii. 450 No one can ever foresee what terms will succeed in the struggle to gain currency.+ ‘Humanism’ is perhaps too ‘whole-hearted’ for the use of philosophers, who are a bloodless breed; but, save for that objection, one might back it, for it expresses the essence of the new way of thought, which is, that it is impossible to strip the human element out from even our most abstract theorizing." "1907 F. C. S. Schiller Studies in Humanism 12 Humanism+is merely the perception that the philosophic problem concerns human beings striving to comprehend a world of human experience by the resources of human minds." "1945 E. A. Burtt in Humanist V. iii. 108 It may seem presumptuous, if not paradoxical, to suggest that a movement claiming the name ‘humanism’, and emphasizing rational comprehension as the foundation of every good achievement, might fail lamentably in its understanding of man." "1959 P. Tillich Theology of Culture ii. viii. 121 He [sc. Sartre] calls his existentialism humanism. But if he calls it humanism, that means he has an idea of what man essentially is." "1961 O. Reiser in J. S. Huxley Humanist Frame 240 A major objective of a scientific Humanism is the organization of human knowledge for the purpose of human progress." "1966 C. H. D. Clark Scientist & Supernatural v. 174 Humanism glorifies science without telling us how the laws of science arose nor how they are to save us from our innate selfishness." "1969 K. Kaunda Towards Complete Independence 43 Our philosophy of Humanism stresses above all the importance of man as an individual."
amazing how much we agree about without agreeing about incarceration and the importance of the rule of law for the incarcerated, ain't it?
To Leonard Peikoff....
Thank you for responding to my question about the compatibility of humanism and individualism.