Talk:Humanism

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The lede is a mess[edit]

What's going on y'all? Byelf2007 (talk) July 18 2012

Merger proposal[edit]

The content of the recently created Humanism (philosophy of education) significantly overlaps with this page; I propose to merge it into this one.hgilbert (talk) 03:47, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

  • Oppose - I disagree with the merger. The educational perspective is significantly different from the psychology perspective or even the philosophy perspective and the less overlap the better. Stmullin (talk) 15:11, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - A merger is not the way to handle it. Make a section in this article which is a summary of the article on humanism as an educational philosophy, and then make a link at the top of the section using {{main|Humanism (philosophy of education)}}. See Wikipedia:Integrate. Greg Bard (talk) 17:42, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Imagine how long this article (Humanism) would be if all the subjects covered at Humanism (disambiguation) were to be merged into it. The PoE article appears to be a valid content fork and should be kept and expanded. Gregbard's suggestion to summarize PoE in Humanism would be the way to go. – Paine Ellsworth CLIMAX! 19:53, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Inquiry. Please note that a list of similar topics (some with merge proposals) are found at Talk:Humanism (philosophy of education). Perhaps these need to be summarized in the Philosophy of education article, as well? – Paine Ellsworth CLIMAX! 20:20, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Better done with links than merger. Disambiguation would be undone by combining the two--very different--approaches to the word 'humanism'. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.208.103.130 (talk) 18:35, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose That article seems misnamed, gathering a bunch of different not-very-notable theorists with little in common. Johnbod (talk) 04:24, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose Huge article, independent theory. Bladesmulti (talk) 08:32, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

1856 was not before Humanism used to mean "secular"[edit]

I am going to revert this erroneous insertion which is contradicted by body of the text. Humanism derives from the Latin humanitas (which see), which in classical times meant kindness in the sense of not like an animal (i.e., civilized, rather than violent and brutal). Humanitas thus referred to those qualities that distinguished human beings, civilized human human beings, in particular. In late antiquity humanitas came to mean "learning" as well. In the second century AD, a well-known Latin grammarian, Aulus Gellius (c. 125 – c. 180) maintained it was incorrect to use humanitas to mean kind or civilized. In Gellius's opinion humanitas ought to be used strictly to mean "learned". However, he was wrong, those great Latin writers, Cicero and Julius Ceasar, regularly used humanitas to mean benevolent and civilized and this was a well established usage. Nevertheless Aulus Gellius's definition was taken up with great enthusiasm in the Renaissance and is still retained in languages other than English. These two meanings "kindness" (humanity) and "learning" are thus the two main strains of meaning that the words "humanity" and its derivative "humanism" have denoted through the centuries, sometimes with more emphasis on one meaning, sometimes on the other. All the words ending in -ism, by the way, (an ending borrowed from Latin, into German ), date from the nineteenth century (except the lone prior example someone has found of humanism used in French). Humanitas (meaning kindness and benevolence toward other human beings) also apparently was an important concept in Free Masonry, which had its heyday at the turn of the nineteenth century. However, I don't know very much about this freemason aspect, which is mentioned in the German wikipedia, I gather. Mballen (talk) 03:22, 5 February 2014 (UTC) 173.77.14.63 (talk) 14:32, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

I see that George Holyoake coined the word "secularism" (but not the word "secular", which meant the world as it exists in time as opposed to eternity, in 1851. Before then, "secular" was not opposed to "religious", it just meant this life as opposed to the next. Holyoake later adopted the word "agnosticism", in preference to atheism, to describe what he believed (or didn't believe. Humanitas always applied to this world. In the next world you don't have to have humanity, you just spend eternity as a sort of angel, praising God. Mballen (talk) 03:28, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Aulus Gellius[edit]

Those who have spoken Latin and have used the language correctly do not give to the word humanitas the meaning which it is commonly thought to have, namely, what the Greeks call φιλανθρωπία (philanthropy), signifying a kind of friendly spirit and good-feeling towards all men without distinction; but they gave to humanitas the force of the Greek παιδεία (paideia); that is, what we call eruditionem institutionemque in bonas artes, or "education and training in the liberal arts [literally "good arts"]. Those who earnestly desire and seek after these are most highly humanized. For the pursuit of that kind of knowledge, and the training given by it, have been granted to man alone of all the animals, and for that reason it is termed humanitas, or "humanity." --Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights, XII: 17

Gellius says that in his day humanitas is commonly used as a synonym for philanthropy -- or love of one's fellow man. He maintains that this is incorrect and that Cicero and others used the word to mean what we might call 'humane" or "polite" learning, or the Greek equivalent paideia. This is true, but scholars point out that both senses had always been current. Both senses continue to be used for its for modern derivative, humanism. Gellius was a favorite author in the Renaissance and the teachers of philosophy, poetry, and rhetoric were called and called themselves humanists.

Insofar as what the word denotes about human nature, Vito Giustiniani points out that the Greeks and Romans stressed man's superiority to beasts. Humans, according to Aristotle and Cicero. were intended to live harmoniously together, and not be brutal like beasts (or barbarians, they would have added), whereas in the Middle Ages, the emphasis in Christian writing stressed not man's superiority to animals, but rather his likeness to God, in whose image they were made. This Christian/Stoic sense of the unique worth of each individual regardless of earthly status, carried over to Renaissance and modern, secular conceptions of humanism. Mballen (talk) 20:21, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Martin Luther, Thomas More as humanists[edit]

I have removed the sentence about Luther being a humanist "despite being religious" in the first paragraph because it is rather misleading. Martin Luther, Erasmus, and Thomas More were called humanists because they were teachers and scholars of Classical Literature (as opposed to Theology and Logic, which were taught in the universities). This had nothing to do with whether or not they were religious and zero to do with the secular humanism of today. It is true that they engaged in critical thinking but this was a characteristic of Latin and Greek writing, particularly Greek. Critical thinking is our legacy from Greek and Latin scholars (philologists), philosophers, and scientists. Saint Augustine and Saint Jerome were also teachers of rhetoric and classical litterature (bonae litterae). They were humanists in the sense of being learned -- translators of the Bible and so on. If you are going to have an illustration of St. Thomas More's Utopia, you need to include the definition of humanism as pertaining to learning in the lede paragraph, because More was by no stretch of the imagination a modern humanist. He is a Catholic saint who chose to die rather than give up his religion. Mballen (talk) 03:05, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Advertisements for modern organizations[edit]

Many of the entries here still read as POV publicity press material for specific organizations, which I believe is contrary to wikipedia's ideal of an encyclopedic tone. Not that I oppose these organizations, but this has been a problem with this article from the beginning. Mballen (talk) 19:41, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Os Guinness[edit]

I have some problems with having this person cited as a historian. His wikipedia article also reads like publicity material and the talk page complains that their are no independent sources to justify his notability. In any case, I removed the sentence that gave an erroneous description of what Renaissance humanists believed and am leaving the reference to him in it for now, despite his quotation's being very POV, not to say quite untrue. Contrary to what he suggests, Galileo is not an example of a Renaissance humanist. In the mid-sixteenth century Erasmus was briefly placed on the Index of forbidden books for Pelagianism (I believe), the heresy that contends that man can win salvation by works alone without grace. But he was soon taken off. Catholicism recognizes both works and grace; and Erasmus actually tried to adhere to a middle way. Some maintain that the Jesuits were very influenced by Erasmus's compromise. Calvin and Luther's view of man's total depravity was much more extreme even than that of the Catholic church The sinfulness of man was very much emphasized during the seventeenth century wars of religion. Mballen (talk) 01:24, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Here is what Mr. Guinness, who is an evangelical Christian, has to say elsewhere about humanism:

Ever since the Renaissance, there has been a humanism that was post-Christian but claimed to have just as high a view of human dignity as Christians had. But now you have the so-called anti-humanists who have come along to say, wait a minute, you’re borrowing Christian views of human dignity, but if there’s no Christianity you have no right to that. So you can see today that a science-based naturalism is giving us lower and lower and lower views of human dignity. So there’s a good example. Only the Jewish and Christian anthropology, view of human dignity, is keeping alive certain things like human rights. http://www.ameliachapel.com/blog/index.php/tag/os-guinness/

I think I can discern something behind this. It is true -- and our article doesn't really recognize it yet -- that the Christian Church in the Middle Ages kept alive the notion (inherited from both the Bible and the Stoicism of pagan Rome), of human dignity. The fathers of the Church, such as Lactantius, Saint Augustine, and and St. Jerome (Renaissance favorites, by the way) were devoted to Cicero and Senecca and considered them Christian in everything but name. This was the Church's official potition. The Church kept alive Roman law, as well. But basically Mr. Guiness's writing seems to me like gibberish. Mballen (talk) 02:00, 10 February 2014 (UTC) Mballen (talk) 02:04, 10 February 2014 (UTC) (added link)

Semi-protected edit request on 16 April 2014[edit]

Sorry, just testing how this works. Ignore this. 76.103.131.91 (talk) 23:43, 16 April 2014 (UTC)