Humanist Society of Metropolitan New York

The Corliss Lamont Chapter of the American Humanist Association

What is Humanism?

Humanism is a philosophy of joyous service for the greater good of all humanity in this natural world and advocating the methods of reason, science and democracy. There are ten central propositions in the Humanist philosophy.

First, Humanism believes in a naturalistic metaphysics of attitude toward the universe that considers all forms of the supernatural as myth; and that regards Nature as the totality of being and as a constantly changing system of matter and energy which exists independently of any mind or consciousness.

Second, Humanism, drawing especially upon the laws and facts of science, believes that humans are an evolutionary product of the Nature of which we are a part; that our minds are indivisibly conjoined with the functioning of our brains; and that as an inseparable unity of body and personality we can have no conscious survival after death.

Third, Humanism, having its ultimate faith in human beings, believes that we possess the power or potentiality of solving our own problems, through reliance primarily upon reason and scientific method applied with courage and vision.

Fourth, Humanism, in opposition to all theories of universal determinism, fatalism, or predestination, believes that human beings, while conditioned by the past, possess genuine freedom of creative choice and action, and are, within certain objective limits, the masters of their own destiny.

Fifth, Humanism believes in an ethics or morality that grounds all human values in this-earthly experiences and relationships and that holds as its highest goal the this-worldly happiness, freedom, and progress—economic, cultural, and ethical—of all humankind, irrespective of nation, race, or religion.

Sixth, Humanism believes that the individual attains the good life by harmoniously combining personal satisfactions and continuous self-development with significant work and other activities that contribute to the welfare of the community.

Seventh, Humanism believes in the widest possible development of art and the awareness of beauty, including the appreciation of Nature's loveliness and splendor, so that the aesthetic experience may become a pervasive reality in the life of human beings.

Eighth, Humanism believes in a far-reaching social program that stands for the establishment throughout the world of democracy, peace, and a high standard of living on the foundations of a flourishing economic order, both national and international.

Ninth, Humanism believes in the complete social implementation of reason and scientific method; and thereby in democratic procedures, and parliamentary government, with full freedom of expression and civil liberties, throughout all areas of economic, political, and cultural life.

Tenth, Humanism, in accordance with scientific method, believes in the unending questioning of basic assumptions and convictions, including its own. Humanism is not a new dogma, but is a developing philosophy ever open to experimental testing, newly discovered facts, and more rigorous reasoning.

Human beings, using their own intelligence and cooperating liberally with one another, can build an enduring citadel of peace and beauty upon this earth.

—Corliss Lamont, from The Philosophy of Humanism, 1990

  
  

Note: The blog, A Matter of Doubt - An Atheist podcast and all things philosophy, has a page entitled Corliss Lamont: 10 Central Propositions in the Humanist Philosophy that includes content similar to that shown above.

Copyright © 1997-2013 by Humanist Society of Metropolitan New York. All rights reserved.

This page last revised:  October 29, 2013.

Follow the link below to return to the Humanist Society of Metropolitan New York Home Page.

Return to Home Page.