Virtue ethics - Can we really write our own rules for society and follow them? If so, why is there so much greed and pride in a world of suffering?
-Abandoning moral absolutes facilitates evil and irrationality
-The Necessity of Moral Absolutes in a Free Society
-Without moral absolutes, conscience loses its foundations
-Moral absolutes protect and promote the good
What it means to be human – Humanity for others?
Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition. The meaning of the term humanism has fluctuated according to the successive intellectual movements which have identified with it. The term was coined by theologian Friedrich Niethammer at the beginning of the 19th century. Generally, however, humanism refers to a perspective that affirms some notion of human freedom and progress. In modern times, humanist movements are typically aligned with secularism, and today humanism typically refers to a non-theistic life stance centred on human agency and looking to science rather than revelation from a supernatural source to understand the world.
Roughly speaking, the word humanist has come to mean someone who:
trusts to the scientific method when it comes to understanding how the universe works and rejects the idea of the supernatural (and is therefore an atheist or agnostic)
makes their ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animals
believes that, in the absence of an afterlife and any discernible purpose to the universe, human beings can act to give their own lives meaning by seeking happiness in this life and helping others to do the same.
However, definitions abound and there are longer and shorter versions. The fullest definition to have a measure of international agreement is contained in the 2002 Amsterdam Declaration of the International humanist and Ethical Union. Some others include:
…a commitment to the perspective, interests and centrality of human persons; a belief in reason and autonomy as foundational aspects of human existence; a belief that reason, scepticism and the scientific method are the only appropriate instruments for discovering truth and structuring the human community; a belief that the foundations for ethics and society are to be found in autonomy and moral equality…
– Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
An appeal to reason in contrast to revelation or religious authority as a means of finding out about the natural world and destiny of man, and also giving a grounding for morality…Humanist ethics is also distinguished by placing the end of moral action in the welfare of humanity rather than in fulfilling the will of God.
– Oxford Companion to Philosophy
Believing that it is possible to live confidently without metaphysical or religious certainty and that all opinions are open to revision and correction, [Humanists] see human flourishing as dependent on open communication, discussion, criticism and unforced consensus.
– Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy
That man should show respect to man, irrespective of class, race or creed is fundamental to the humanist attitude to life. Among the fundamental moral principles, he would count those of freedom, justice, tolerance and happiness…the attitude that people can live an honest, meaningful life without following a formal religious creed.
– Pears Cyclopaedia, 87th edition, 1978
Rejection of religion in favour of the advancement of humanity by its own efforts.
– Collins Concise Dictionary
A non-religious philosophy, based on liberal human values.
– Little Oxford Dictionary