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Humanism and the World Today

Unfortunately, due to a scheduling change, we have to reschedule this discussion to Sat Nov 10 in the Lantino/Hispanic conference room A at the main SF library. Sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause.

Andrew E. Wilson Ph.D. will lead a discussion on how Humanism, as a philosophy, intersects with the world in the 21st century; and how we, as humanists, should engage with the world. Some of the questions considered will include:

-- What are some of the most important issues in the world from a humanist point-of-view?
-- How does a humanist approach to these issues differ from that of an atheist or other non-believer?
-- In particular, does the humanist approach offer benefits that bring solutions to some of these issues into our reach?

The format of this talk will be a brief (less than 20 mins.) presentation of Andrew's thoughts, followed by approximately 60 mins. of group discussion.

Andrew E. Wilson Ph.D. is a self-guided student of humanism. In his day job, Andrew is a member of the faculty at Saint Mary's College of California, where he teaches various Marketing courses in the School of Economics and Business Administration. Andrew's professional research is in the field of consumer psychology, and has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Psychology & Marketing, and the Journal of Supply Chain Management.

This event is sponsored by the Bay Area Humanists. Everyone is welcome.

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  • Andrew W.

    Here's a link to my ppt slides. Thank you to everyone for coming and participating!

    http://bit.ly/QAdYXS

    November 11, 2012

  • Jim B.

    The discussion leader, Andrew, did an excellent job framing the discussion of humanism today. We then divided ourselves up into 3 groups each discussing a different topic. The discussions were lively and friendly. I think everyone there enjoyed the meeting.

    November 11, 2012

  • Bonnie J B.

    Well organized, Dr. Andrew E. Wilson presented a banquet of food for thought. Enjoyed the discourse and the format immensely.

    November 10, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I thought it was a great lecture and I liked the discussion group format. I especially liked that we had plenty of time to hash out things in the group. Often group discussions are just five or ten minutes. But that is never enough to really hash anything out.

    November 10, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    While I certainly agree that Methodological Naturalism (as is paradigmatically exemplified by the scientific method) is eminently capable of describing the Natural world, I am curious to know how other Humanists respond to the accusation that Philosophical Naturalism (i.e Materialism) is an inherently unfalsifiable notion. That is, the very thing that should disprove Materialism (namely, the manifest influence of some supernatural agent) could never be identified as such by a Materialist because he/she awould always describe the inexplicable phenomenon in question as just another unknown part of the Natural world. My answer is repeatability: The free will of a truly supernatural agent should be unrepeatable by definition. If the same initial conditions a nd boundary conditions produce the same result then you are uncovering Nature.

    October 29, 2012

    • Jim B.

      Naturalism assumes that the world is an orderly place governed by what we call natural laws. The fact that science has been so successful is consistent with the truth of naturalism. Naturalism would be falsified if the universe were shown not to be governed by these laws. An example would be prayer. If prayer could be shown to be clearly efficacious, after all necessary controls are put in place (in the case of healing to remove any phycological effects), statistical requirements satisfied and the studies shown to be reproducible, we would have to conclude that supernaturalism has a better explanation than naturalism because, at least at this time, there are no natural laws or even hypotheses that could explain the phenomena. So, naturalism would be falsified.

      1 · November 8, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thank you very much for your prompt responses Jim, I am looking forward to further discussions on these key topics.

      November 8, 2012

  • Jim B.

    David, I think you are right. As a Humanist I subscribe to the philosophy of naturalism which is atheistic. But Humanism has a long history (going back to the Greeks) of trying to figure out how to live a good life and build a good society without relying on the supernatural. I call these two aspects of Humanism the "Twin Pillars of Humanism". Someone who calls him/herself and atheist may or may not subscribe to the second pillar of Humanism

    October 29, 2012

  • David A.

    Sheryl, that's a good point although i suspect that he intends to differentiate between the approaches expected of stripped-down 'philosophical atheism' and of 'philosophical humanism.' I doubt he would argue there are no people who occupy the intersection of those realms.

    October 29, 2012

  • Tyler M.

    I agree with Sheryl. I don't see how humanism and atheism are mutually exclusive.

    October 23, 2012

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