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Showing posts from September, 2020

What is Humanism?

(pre-publication draft of my chapter 'Humanism' in Stephen Bullivant and Michael Ruse (eds.) Handbook of Atheism , (Oxford University Press, 2013)   “Humanism” is a word that has had and continues to have a number of meanings. The focus here is on kind of atheistic world-view espoused by those who organize and campaign under that banner in the UK and abroad.   We should acknowledge that there remain other uses of term. In one of the loosest senses of the expression, a “Humanist” is someone whose world-view gives special importance to human concerns, values and dignity. If that is what a Humanist is, then of course most of us qualify as Humanists, including many religious theists. But the fact remains that, around the world, those who organize under the label “Humanism” tend to sign up to a narrower, atheistic view.   What does Humanism, understood in this narrower way, involve? The boundaries of the concept remain somewhat vague and ambiguo

REASON AND ARGUMENT - my brief-ish introduction to some of the key ideas

(ADAPTED FROM MY COMPANION TO PHILOSOPHY ) This functions as an introduction to reason and argument, what it means to be 'rational', inductive and deductive reasoning, etc. It was illustrated, hence there are 'captions' included in the text, which should be fairly self-explanatory.   This is in three parts: 1. Reasonong, 2. Fallacies, 3. Thinking Tools.   TEXT BOX What is an argument? Outside of philosophy, the word “argument” is used in a variety of ways. An argument in a bar may involve little more than people hurling insults at each other. In philosophy, the word tends to be used more specifically. Usually, when philosophers talk about an argument, they are referring to a sequence of one or more premises and a conclusion. The premises are supposed rationally to support the conclusion. Arguments can be simple. But they can also be highly complex. Often, a philosophical book or treatise consists of one big argument made up of a series of smaller ones, which