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Motsamai Molefe

In this article, I motivate for the view that the best account of the foundations of morality in the African tradition should be grounded on some relevant spiritual property – a view that I call 'ethical supernaturalism'. In contrast to this position, the literature has been dominated by humanism as the best interpretation of African ethics, which typically is accompanied by a direct rejection of 'ethical supernaturalism' and a veiled rejection of non-naturalism (Gyekye 1995: 129–43; Metz 2007: 328; Wiredu 1992: 194–6). Here primarily, by appeal to methods of analytic philosophy, which privileges analysis and (moral) argumentation, I set out to challenge and repudiate humanism as the best interpretation of African ethics; I leave it for a future project to develop a fully fledged African spiritual meta-ethical theory.

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Heidi Hakkarainen

This article explores the ways the emerging concept of humanism was circulated and defined in early nineteenth-century German-language press. By analyzing a digitized corpus of German-language newspapers and periodicals published between 1808 and 1850, this article looks into the ways the concept of humanism was employed in book reviews, news, political reports, and feuilleton texts. Newspapers and periodicals had a significant role in transmitting the concept of humanism from educational debates into general political language in the 1840s. Furthermore, in an era of growing social problems and political unrest, humanism became increasingly associated with moral sentiments. Accordingly, this article suggests that its new political meanings and emotional underpinnings made humanism culturally contagious, particularly immediately before and during the 1848/49 revolutions.

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Susan Stedman Jones

This paper explores the nature of Durkheim’s theoretical language concerning the whole and the individual. I look at the questions of holism and individualism throughout his thought, but I particularly focus on ‘L’individualisme et les intellectuels’, where he enters the debate over the Dreyfus affair, espousing the language of intellectual and moral right. I examine the historical and philosophical background of this and the tensions between individualism and socialism, within neglected aspects of French political history. Here a new language of individuality and right was forged, not simply through the pressure of events, but through a re-thinking of socialist holism from within a philosophical tradition.

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Ethnographic Humanism

Migrant Experiences in the Quest for Well-Being

Anne Sigfrid Grønseth and Robin Oakley

The articles in this volume reinforce the power of ethnographic humanism, of anthropology in action. The focus is on the relationship between macro political forces and their influence on the varied experiences of health in advanced industrial capitalist contexts. Our approach views migrants as capable agents negotiating new lives for themselves and confronting the challenges they face. We strongly advocate socially informed policy that offers at minimum recognition to migrants as full fledged members of the new society that they have voluntarily or involuntarily migrated to.

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An Intellectual Genealogy of the Revolt against “Esprit de Système”

From the Renaissance to the Early Enlightenment

Jeffrey D. Burson

William J. Bouwsma speaks of the sixteenth century as the “waning of the Renaissance,” a period during which the notion of empowering human nature through rhetoric, arts, and letters, so characteristic of Quattrocento civic humanism, was shaken by

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David E. Cooper

Among the general educated public, the question whether humanism and science are antagonists would receive various answers, primarily because the question itself would be variously taken. There are those who, echoing F.R. Leavis’s retort to C.P. Snow’s call for ‘two cultures’, would insist that science has little or no place alongside humane studies in the education of the civilised person. But there are those – members, perhaps, of the British or American Humanist Association – who would insist that humanism in the modern world just is scientific humanism. The appearance of a necessary opposition between these two groups would, however, be illusory. The followers of Leavis have in mind by humanism the pursuit of the literae humaniores and their descendants, such as history. This is the humanism intended when the word was coined, early in the nineteenth century, to refer to the pursuits of the Renaissance umaniste. Members of the BHAor AHAhave something different in mind: humanism as a practical concern with human well-being which eschews religious and other ‘supernaturalist’ doctrines. Clearly a humanist in this second sense need not exclude science from a central place in education. Conversely, a Leavisite humanist need not subscribe to the antireligious viewpoint of Humanist Associations.

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Raymond Suttner

Non-racialism is examined in relation to the concepts of race, generic humanism and universalism in order to establish conditions under which non-racialism can be implemented as an emancipatory concept. Denial of the salience or even the existence of the concept 'race' and also tendencies to organise on the basis of race essentialism are examined. It is accepted that race does not exist at an ontological level, in that it is not required for the constitution of the human subject. But race does exist historically and socially. To ignore its existence in addressing the question of non-racialism would be to deny the validity of the experience of racial inequality. At the same time, organisation on the basis of race, while sometimes motivated by strategic considerations, carries the danger of slippage and a permanent racialised identity. The post-1994 period is seen as opening the road to universalism and thus removing the basis for strategic essentialism.

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Khaled Furani

science ( Cole 1999 ). While Boas’s Jewishness enabled his freedom in the way he used his intellect, that very intellect could make it through the discipline’s discursive checkpoints only if arriving at a faith in humanism, which is how it did in fact

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On Misfitness

Reflections in and out of Fashion

James D. Faubion

contributors do not merely remind us of the brutality of the doxic. They caution us that, in and of our various figurations of the anthropic, our various ‘humanisms’, doxic but also orthodox, even heterodox, we ourselves risk perpetuating pathologization and

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Rudi Visker

A few years ago, while reading Sartre’s ‘reflections on the Jewish question’ in the course of a seminar on Being and Nothingness,1 I was literally dumbfounded by the uncanny similarity between some of Sartre’s expressions and what I had written myself under the influence of authors like Lyotard or Lacan, whom I took to be his antipodes. The more I read, the less difference I saw and the more I underwent a kind of depersonalisation.