Books and publications
The following are all available at www.humanism.org.uk/shop/philosophers.
The first of the Humanist Philosophers ‘ Group publications, this pamphlet looks at paternalism in public policy offering an examination of arguments to do with autonomy and who is best fit to judge what is in our interests, and explores the circumstances under which paternalism may or may not be morally acceptable. Published January 2001.
Religious Schools: the case against : SOLD OUT
Please check back for reprint.
The Humanist Philosophers ‘ Group explore the historical background to religious schools and the philosophical arguments against them. This highly respected pamphlet is increasingly being quoted by education specialists as mounting evidence amply demonstrates and lends support to the issues raised in this timely publication. Published 2001.
The Humanist Philosophers approach the sensitive subject of death with their trademark wits about them. Thinking About Death explores the meaning and power of death from a humanist perspective, without the immediate solace of supernatural or religious mythologising. Edited by Peter Cave and Brendan Larvor. Contributors include: Anthony Flew; John Harris; Suzanne Uniacke and Adam Smith who explore the questions humanists ask about death and dying.
This pamphlet considers the historical and philosophical background to Humanism and explores what it means to be a humanist in the 21st century. It re-examines some of the early ideals associated with Humanism – the idea of progress, and its optimistic regard for human beings and human nature – in light of the atrocities of the last century, and the current need for humans to address pressing political and environmental concerns. Published 2002. Read an extract.
The Case for Secularism: a neutral state in an open society, argues for the secular approach in ways intended to appeal both to humanists and to religious believers. It is edited by Professor Richard Norman, emeritus professor of moral philosophy at the University of Kent.
“What did John Stuart Mill ever do for us?” was the title of a seminar arranged by the Humanist Philosophers’ Group to celebrate the bicentenary in 2006 of John Stuart Mill’s birth. This timely collection of essays derives from that seminar. Mill was a great defender of liberty, of free speech, of free thought, of free experiments in living. In our own day, the awareness of terrorist dangers has renewed tensions between the promotion of liberty and the need to prevent unnecessary harms. Edited by Peter Cave, the essays include John Stuart Mill on…: the Good Life by A. C. Grayling; Religion by Richard Norman; Liberty of Thought and Discussion by Brendan Larvor; Punishment by Michael Clark; Sexual Equality by Peter Cave; “Hate Speech” by A.C.Grayling.
Books by members of the Humanist Philosophers Group
Why should we believe in God without any evidence? How can there be meaning in life when death is final? With historical adherents including such thinkers as Einstein, Freud, Philip Pullman, and Frank Zappa, “Humanism”‘s central quest is to make sense of such questions, explaining the ethical and metaphysical by appealing to shared human values, rationality, and tolerance. Essential reading for atheists, agnostics, ignostics, freethinkers, rationalists, skeptics, and believers too, this Beginner’s Guide will explain all aspects of the Humanist philosophy whilst providing an alternative and valuable conception of life without religion.
This introductory course for adults covers: Humanism; A good life without religion; Making sense of the world; Humanist ethics; Humanist history and humanist organisations today; and reading suggestions. It is particularly recommended for those who think they might be humanists and would like to find out more. All sections include questions for discussion and may be photocopied for group study. Now in its 5th reprint, this 28-page A4 booklet has been revised, redesigned and printed on good quality paper with a colour cover, in response to readers’ suggestions.
Free Speech : A Very Short Introduction by Nigel Warburton (OUP, February 2009)
In this, the 200th title in the Very Short Introductions series, Humanist Philosophers member Nigel Warburton offers a concise guide to important questions facing modern society about the value and limits of free speech, and the arguments for and against our right to maintain it. The author explores controversial issues including Holocaust denial and the status of modern copyright law, as well as past and present philosophical discussions.
Philosophy: The Latest Answers to the Oldest Questions by Nicholas Fearn(Atlantic, June ’06)
“Admirable, both in style and content”. – Hilary Putnam
What’s it All About?: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life by Julian Baggini (Granta, July ’05)
“Baggini makes philosophy not only mind- stretching but also entertaining”. – Publishing News
Is Nothing Sacred? – Ben Rogers (ed) (Routledge, August 2004)
“I do feel a sense of the sacred in a number of respects and I could quote other scientists who feel the same.” – Richard Dawkins. Essays based on the Humanist Philosophers’ Group 2001 conference, covering life, art, nature and liberty, and bringing together outstanding philosophers and thinkers, including Simon Blackburn, Michael Clark, Richard Dawkins, Ronald Dworkin, John Harris, Alan Haworth, Alan Holland, Matthew Kieran, Richard Norman, Suzanne Uniacke and Nigel Warburton. Listen to Ben Rogers and Richard Norman discussing the book on R4′s Thinking Allowed here. “A collection that demands to be read by anyone with an interest in philosophy, even (perhaps especially) if they have a faith”. (David Self in TES, 1/10/04).
Richard Norman – On Humanism (Routledge, June 2004)
A timely and powerfully argued philosophical defence of humanism. It is also an impassioned plea that we turn to ourselves, not religion, if we want to answer Socrates’ age-old question: What is the best kind of life to lead?
A robust and entertaining defence of atheist and humanist beliefs.
Stephen Law – The Philosophy Gym: 25 Short Adventures in Thinking (Headline, March ’04)
“A vivid, enlightening introduction to clear thinking”. – Philip Pullman.
Nicholas Everitt – The Non-Existence of God: An Introduction (Routledge, November 2003)
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