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Alternative lectures: What is Humanism? (Part 1)


Lecture 1

Professor of Sociology Frank Furedi answers the question ‘What is Humanism?’ in this short lecture filmed in the WORLDbytes studio. Whilst humanist ideas have been around for a long time, he observes, they have never been more weakly affirmed than at present. Humanism, we learn, begins to flourish in renaissance Italy and finds more mature expression in the 17th and 18th centuries. Modern determinisms such as 19th century economic determinism or today’s eco-determinism, biological determinism or psychological determinism are all really evasions or excuses that diminish our own sense of taking responsibility for what happens. A Humanist outlook should equip us with an orientation towards reason, problem-solving and a healthy scepticism towards determinisms (or the fates) in the present day. Professor Furedi doesn’t overcomplicate the issue or use mystifying jargon in this refreshing and enlightening lecture.

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Related topics: History, Social Change

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WORLDbytes – The School of Citizen TV » Alternative lectures: Humanism (Part 2) said:

[…] Video Alternative lectures: Humanism (Part 1) […]

Derek Hampson said:

Professor Furedi’s analysis of humanism as an antidote to scientific determinism is paradoxical. The subjectivist reasoning, which Professor Furedi so values as humanistic, is also the medium in which scientific determinism flourishes. In this analysis humanism is a metadeterminism. Earlier forms of humanism were more consistent in their antagonism to the rationalism that contemporary humanism has this love/hate relationship with. I am thinking here of the Italian Humanists of the 14th and 15th century, who, rather than appealing to reason, prioritise poetic imagination as the true foundation of human society and its institutions.

James E said:

This program is a great introduction to the concepts of humanism and the evolution of its perception over time

Mari said:

This is a very clear explanation of a complicated subject. If humanists are so open to new ideas are they open to any deterministic explanations to human behavior?

Iseult said:

It’s interesting to learn that early humanist thinking emerged in the Ancient Greek period as these were times when humans had much less control over their situations than we do now, for example they could do less to counteract the effects of adverse weather on crops and many people did not have the franchise. I’m very interested in ancient history, especially from a sociological point if view so I found this account fascinating!

Harmony said:

This is obviously a well thought out and structured explanation of a subject which I think many would find hard to understand. Personally, I do not believe in humanism, I believe that God is real and that he has a plan for everybody. However, everyone has the power to make their own choices and choose to deviate from this plan. WE ARE NOT ROBOTS

Suhail Patel said:

Frank Furedi was a very lovely man and this lecture shows just how well learned he is. Looking forward to part 2.

Piotr said:

This is very refreshing. I’m often struck by eco-warriors’ lack of belief in humanity and distrust of human agency. This helps to put their views into some perspective as a secular religion. Good film!

Newson said:

very clear look forward to part 2 more of these please

Edward said:

At last someone who can just explain humanism -my lecturer could do with this