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What is Humanism? Understanding Key Terms Explained

When people start learning about Humanism, they have a lot of questions. Often, those questions have to do with making sense of all the various related terms they come across. This primer will help you make sense of all the various terms, how they differ and provide you with links to resources to help you learn more.

What is Humanism? Understanding Key Terms Explained

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Define Humanism

Humanism is a philosophy that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence over acceptance of dogma or superstition. It is a worldview that is based on the idea that humans have the potential for good and that we can create meaning and purpose for our lives.

Humanism can be seen as a non-religious response to the human condition, focusing on human potential and accomplishments rather than on divine intervention or supernatural phenomena. It is often associated with a secular, non-theistic approach to life, though not all humanists are atheists or agnostics.

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Define Humanistic

The term humanistic refers to any idea, approach, or method that emphasizes human values, dignity, and potential. It can be applied to a wide range of fields, including education, psychology, and art.

In psychology, humanistic approaches emphasize the importance of personal growth, self-actualization, and subjective experience. This approach emphasizes the idea that each person has the capacity for personal growth and self-improvement, and that these goals can be achieved through self-reflection, personal development, and self-awareness.

In education, humanistic approaches emphasize the importance of the individual student, focusing on their needs, interests, and abilities. This approach emphasizes the idea that each student is unique, and that education should be tailored to the individual rather than to standardized curricula or testing.

Define Humanist

A humanist is a person who subscribes to the philosophy of humanism, which emphasizes the value and agency of human beings. Humanists generally believe in the potential of humans to create meaning and purpose for their lives without relying on supernatural or divine intervention. Humanists may be atheists, agnostics, or believers in a particular religion.

Define Secular Humanism

Secular humanism is a specific type of humanism that emphasizes reason, ethics, and human welfare. It is a worldview that is based on the idea that we can create a fulfilling life and just society through human reason and compassion, without relying on religious or supernatural beliefs. Secular humanism values critical thinking, science, and evidence-based decision-making, and emphasizes the importance of ethics and social justice.

Secular humanism can be seen as a response to the challenges of modern society, including the need for a more rational and compassionate approach to social and political issues. It is often associated with the belief that people should be free to live their lives according to their own values, as long as they do not harm others.

In Other Words

Humanism is the philosophy.

Humanistic is the application of the philosophy.

A Humanist is a person who practices the philosophy.

Secular Humanism is a form of Humanism that emphasizes reason and reality based approaches. 

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Jennifer Hancock
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Jennifer Hancock
Author, Educator, Humanist
Subjects of Expertise: Critical Thinking, Humanistic Leadership, Workplace Harassment
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Jennifer Hancock
Author
Educator
Humanist

Subjects of Expertise

Critical Thinking
Humanistic Leadership
Workplace Harassment

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