A PRIMER ON THE HISTORY, PHILOSOPHY, AND GOALS OF HUMANISM
Humanism is a godless philosophy based on reason and compassion.
…is a ten-word, static definition of humanism. The free Individual Learning Courses are a million-word, dynamic, ongoing exploration of humanism. This brief survey course, Introduction to Humanism, is going to fall somewhere in between, providing a one- to two-hour overview of the history philosophy, and goals of humanism.
By the time you’ve finished the two lessons of this module, you’ll have a general understanding of what humanism is (and what it is not!), the role of humanism in history, the core principles of humanism, and what humanism offers the individual and society. We hope this course will inspire you to delve deeper into the rich culture of humanism by exploring other courses.
Introduction to Humanism is divided into two lessons. Lesson 1 summarizes the history of humanist ideas and their role in the development of the modern world. Lesson 2 explores the meaning and scope of the humanist lifestance in the current era. You are free to navigate the course in sequential order or skip to selected topics according to your own interest. You may also return as often as you like.
Before moving on to our lessons, let’s lay the foundation by offering some formal definitions of humanism. You’ll be better prepared to articulate your own definition after finishing this course.
Pre-lesson Foundations: Defining Humanism