The Transcendental Temptation


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A landmark work. Mandatory reading for anyone who wants to learn to be a good skeptic. In this widely acclaimed and highly controversial book, Paul Kurtz examines the reasons why people accept supernatural and paranormal belief systems in spite of substantial evidence to the contrary. According to the author, it is because there is within the human species a deeply rooted tendency toward magical thinking - the "transcendental temptation" - which undermines critical judgment and paves the way for willful beliefs. He explores in detail the three major monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - finding striking psychological and sociological parallels between these religions, the spiritualism of the 19th century, and the paranormal belief systems of today. There are sections on mysticism, belief in the afterlife, the existence of God, reincarnation, astrology, and ufology. Kurtz also explains the nature of skepticism as an antidote to belief in the transcendental.

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Author by Paul Kurtz
Genre eBook Philosophy
Read Book 516
ISBN Number 0879756454

The Transcendental Temptation


Available: macOS, Windows, Android, Tablet

In this landmark work, Paul Kurtz examines the reasons why people accept supernatural and paranormal belief systems in spite of substantial evidence to the contrary. According to Kurtz, it is because there is within the human species a deeply rooted tendency toward magical thinking—the “transcendental temptation”—which undermines critical judgment and paves the way for willful beliefs. Kurtz explores in detail the three major monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—finding striking psychological and sociological parallels between these religions, the spiritualism of the nineteenth century, and the paranormal belief systems of today. This acclaimed and controversial book includes sections on mysticism, belief in the afterlife, the existence of God, reincarnation, astrology, and ufology. Kurtz concludes by explaining and advocating rational skepticism as an antidote to belief in the transcendental.

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Author by Paul Kurtz
Genre eBook Philosophy
Read Book 516
ISBN Number 9781616148287

The Transcendental Temptation A Critique Of Religion And The Paranormal


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ISBN Number OCLC:1091220756

Living Without Religion


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Paul Kurtz was one of America's foremost expositors of humanist philosophy. In Living without Religion he introduced a new word to describe humanism - eupraxophy. Derived from the Greek roots eu (good), praxis (practice), and sophia (philosophical and scientific wisdom), eupraxophy means literally "good conduct and wisdom in living." Eupraxophy draws upon the disciplines of the sciences, philosophy, and ethics - yet it is more than these. Not simply an intellectual position, eupraxophy expresses convictions about the nature of the universe and how to live one's life with commitment and dedication. It thus combines both a cosmic outlook and a life stance. Kurtz maintains that the eupraxopher can lead a meaningful life and help create a just society, and he offers concrete recommendations for the development of the humanism of the future. An entire section of this book is devoted to the careful definition of religion, which clearly demonstrates than an authentic moral life is possible without religious belief. Following Kurtz's Transcendental Temptation and Forbidden Fruit, Living without Religion completes a trilogy of humanist works that responds to theistic critics of modern secular humanism.

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Author by Paul Kurtz
Genre eBook Philosophy
Read Book 159
ISBN Number UCSC:32106010987334

Meaning And Value In A Secular Age


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The secular age has confronted human beings with a fundamental challenge. While the naturalistic worldview rooted in science has persuasively shown that traditional religious conceptions of the universe are unsustainable, it has so far offered no compelling secular narratives to replace the religious narratives so entrenched in civilization. In the absence of religion, how do thoughtful contemporary individuals find meaning in a secular world? In this book, philosopher Paul Kurtz argues for a new approach that he calls eupraxsophy. Kurtz first coined the term in 1988 to characterize a secular orientation to life that stands in contrast to religion. Derived from three ancient Greek roots, eupraxsophy literally means "good practice and wisdom." Drawing upon philosophy, science, and ethics, eupraxsophy provides a thoroughly secular moral vision, which respects the place of human values in the context of the natural world and presents an empirically responsible yet hopeful picture of the human situation and the cosmos in which we abide. Editor Nathan Bupp has conveniently gathered together Kurtz’s key writings about the theory and practice of eupraxsophy for the first time in this volume. Written with eloquence and scope, these incisive essays show how Kurtz's brand of humanism moves above and beyond the current "new atheism." Eupraxsophy successfully bridges the cultural divide between science and value and provides a genuine and constructive alternative to religion. Bupp’s informative introduction places the concept of eupraxsophy in historical perspective and shows why it is critically important, and relevant, today.

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Author by Paul Kurtz
Genre eBook Philosophy
Read Book 361
ISBN Number 9781616142797

Toward A New Enlightenment


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Paul Kurtz has been the dominant voice of secular humanism over the past thirty years. This compilation of his work reveals the scope of his thinking on the basic topics of our time and his many and varied contributions to the cause of free thought. It focuses on the central issues that have concerned Kurtz throughout his career: ethics, politics, education, religion, science, and pseudoscience. The chapters are linked by a common theme: the need for a new enlightenment, one committed to the use of rationality and skepticism, but also devoted to realizing the highest values of humanist culture. Many writings included here were first published in magazines and journals long unavailable. Some of the essays have never before been published. They now appear as a coherent whole for the first time. Also included is an extensive bibliography of Kurtz's writings. Toward a New Enlightenment is essential for those who know and admire Paul Kurtz's work. It will also be an important resource for students of philosophy, political science, ethics, and religion. Among the chapters are: "Humanist Ethics: Eating the Forbidden Fruit"; "Relevance of Science to Ethics"; "Democracy without Theology"; "Misuses of Civil Disobedience"; "The Limits of Tolerance"; "Skepticism about the Paranormal: Legitimate and Illegitimate"; "Militant Atheism vs. Freedom of Conscience"; "Promethean Love: Unbound"; "The Case for Euthanasia"; and "The New Inquisition in the Schools."

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Author by Paul Kurtz
Genre eBook Philosophy
Read Book 401
ISBN Number 9781351294386

What Is Secular Humanism


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Are there any ethical values and principles that nonreligious individuals can live by? In a time when many have forsaken otherworldly religions, what does human life mean? What is its significance? Secular humanism attempts to answer these questions in a way that resonates with human aspirations and the findings of science. It provides a scientific, philosophical, and ethical outlook that exerts a profound influence on civilization and that may be traced back to the ancient world, through the modern world, down to the present. Today many schools of thought broadly identify with humanist ideas and values. By conjoining the term secular with humanism, we may narrow its focus and meaning, enabling us to distinguish secular humanism from other forms of humanism ... in the contemporary world Secular Humanism offers a bold new paradigm.

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Author by Paul Kurtz
Genre eBook Philosophy
Read Book 62
ISBN Number 1591024994

In Defense Of Secular Humanism


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Are the fundamentalists shaking the foundations of the American republic?When they condemn humanism's influence in the schools, are they not actually attacking modern education, science, culture, and philosophy?Is it possible to be moral without benefit of clergy or creed?Can humanism help open doors so that individuals, singly and in cooperation with others, can create lives that are rich in enjoyment, eloquent and meaningful?What is humanism, and why have humanists come under attack by religious conservatives and the fundamentalist right? Humanism is not a dogma or a creed, writes Paul Kurtz. Humanists have confidence in human beings, and they believe that the only bases for morality are human experience and human needs. Humanists are opposed to all forms of supernaturalistic and authoritarian religion. Many humanists believe that scientific intelligence and critical reason can assist in reconstructing our moral lives . . . Humanists believe in freedom and pluralistic democracy as virtually our first principle, and we are disturbed by any authoritarian effort to impose one point of view on America. Defense of the open, democratic society should be the first point humanists make in response to the Moral Majority, making it clear that in our reading of the American tradition, pluralism is essential.In Defense of Secular Humanism is a volume of collected essays by one of the leading exponents of secular humanism. It is a closely reasoned defense of one of the most venerable ethical, scientific and philosophical traditions within Western civilization.Paul Kurtz (Amherst, NY), professor emeritus of philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, is president of the International Academy of Humanism and is one of the leading spokespersons for Secular Humanism today. He is the author or editor of over thirty-five books, including most recently Embracing the Power of Humanism (Rowman & Littlefield) and The Courage to Become (Praeger/Greenwood).

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Author by Paul Kurtz
Genre eBook Philosophy
Read Book 273
ISBN Number 9781615926404

Skepticism And Humanism


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As we begin the third millennium there is cause for cautious optimism regarding the human prospect. Democratic revolutions and the doctrine of universal human rights have captured the imagination of large sectors of humanity, while major advances in science and technology continue to conquer disease and extend life, contributing to rising standards of living, affluence, and cultural freedom on a worldwide basis. Paradoxically, at the same time ancient authoritarian fundamentalist religions have grown in vitriolic intensity along with bizarre New Age, media-driven paranormal belief systems. Also surprising is the resurgence of primitive tribal and ethnic loyalties, unleashing wars of intolerance and bitterness. In Skepticism and Humanism, Paul Kurtz locates these threatening developments within a long-standing and largely unchallenged theological worldview. He proposes, as an alternative to religion, a new cultural paradigm rooted in scientific naturalism, rationalism, and a humanistic outlook. An estimated 60 percent of scientists are atheists or agnostics. However, the skeptical world view has been given little currency even in advanced societies, because of a cultural prohibition against the criticism of religion. At the same time, science has become increasingly narrow and specialized so that few people can draw on its broader intellectual and cultural implications. Skepticism and Humanism attempts to meet this need. It defends skepticism as a method for developing reliable knowledge by using scientific inquiry and reason to test all claims to truth. It also defends scientific naturalism-an evolutionary view of nature, life, and the human species. Kurtz sees the dominant religious doctrines as drawn from an agricultural/nomadic past, and emphasizes the need for a new outlook applicable to the postindustrial information age. At the same time, he rejects postmodernism for abandoning science and embracing a form of nihilism. There can be no doubt that as a new global civilization emerges, scientific naturalism, rationalism, and secular humanism have something significant to say about the meaning of life. Skepticism and Humanism shows how they can to foster democratic values and social prosperity. The book will be important for philosophers, scientists, and all those concerned with contemporary issues. Paul Kurtz taught at Trinity College, Vassar College, and State University of New York at Buffalo. He is founder of Prometheus Books, a major publisher of philosophical works. He is the author of some thirty books including Toward a New Enlightenment (available from Transaction) Humanist Manifesto 2000, and A Secular Humanist Declaration. He is chairman of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, and editor-in-chief of Free Inquiry magazine.

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Author by Paul Kurtz
Genre eBook Philosophy
Read Book 306
ISBN Number 1412834112

Exuberance


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Happiness is within everyone's grasp and is only a matter of making the right choices. Taking destiny into one's own hands and having the creative audacity to strive, seek, and meet challenges is the essence of life's drama and exaltation. Life per se has no meaning; it only presents opportunity to be seized and acted upon, thus paving the way for personal achievement and the full life. Paul Kurtz, in Exuberance, shows his readers how to banish drudgery from life and how to find happiness in the active life. Drawing upon his personal experience, knowledge, and success, Kurtz explains his philosophy of life, discussing learning and work, pleasure, eroticism and sexuality, morality, the need for love and friendship, and participation in contemporary issues. He suggests that self-power, resourcefulness, daring, creativity, and intelligence help guide and control one's life in spite of the many obstacles along the way. Only the individual can initiate his own success and therefore can take pride in accomplishing what he sets out to do. Exuberance also shows the reader how to cope with an ambiguous world. Life is charged with unexpected events and bizarre happenings. It is filled with richly diverse and idiosyncratic characters. Constant effort and exertion is needed in making a living, meeting new friends, falling in love, raising children, seeing projects through, and coming to terms with old age and death. Dealing with these problems directly rather than fleeing from life's risks reinforces a person and leads him towards an exuberant, rich, zestful life. According to Dr. Kurtz, the fulfillment of one's own purpose is in creating one's own ends and expending the power and energy to attain them. Thus, life's great sin, he suggests, is being lazy and noncreative.

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Author by Paul Kurtz
Genre eBook Philosophy
Read Book 178
ISBN Number 9781615929122