Humanism by Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern (A three class Series)
Humanism I Wed, Feb 3, 2021 at 7:30 – 9 pm
Humanism’s roots go back at least two and a half millennia, to the Indian materialist schools that arose around the same time as the Buddha was teaching. In a lecture followed by discussion, we’ll look at this and other premodern humanisms, such as that of Confucianism, various philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome, 10th-century Islam, the European Renaissance. The history raises some questions that are still lively today: what are the connections among humanism, philosophical materialism, rationalism, secularism, and the development of science? Is “Christian humanism” an oxymoron?
Humanism II Wed, Feb 24, 2021 at 7:30 – 9 pm
This session takes us into the modern and international humanist movement (or movements), including the rise of existentialism and the tensions within humanist traditions exposed by anti-colonialist writers such as Aimé Césaire and Rabindranath Tagore. We also get personal, looking at how the rise of humanism in the US in the 19th and 20th centuries shaped and was shaped by Unitarian Universalism. Lecture and discussion.
Humanism III Wed, Mar 24, 2021 at 7:30 – 9 pm
Humanism has been justly accused of being too reactive a movement, focused on what it is not and what humanists do not believe, rather than declaring its own constructive philosophy. Tonight we look to some of the positive shapers of a humanist vision, from existentialists to scientists, particularly paying attention to African American humanism, the New Atheists and their critics, and UU voices. We’ll also think about the challenges that postmodernism, psychology, and neuroscience pose to the modernist confidence in reason and human knowledge.
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