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Types And History Of The Development Of Humanism

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Background of humanism

Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism and empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition. The meaning of the term humanism has fluctuated according to the successive intellectual movements which have identified with it. The term was coined by theologian Friedrich Niethammer at the beginning of the 19th century to refer to a system of education based on the study of classical literature (‘classical humanism’). Generally, however, humanism refers to a perspective that affirms some notion of human freedom and progress. It views humans as solely responsible for the promotion and development of individuals and emphasizes a concern for man in relation to the world. In modern times, humanist movements are typically non-religious movements aligned with secularism, and today humanism typically refers to a nontheistic life stance centered on human agency and looking to science rather than revelation from a supernatural source to understand the world. The word ‘humanism’ is ultimately derived from the Latin concept humanitas. It entered English in the nineteenth century. However, historians agree that the concept predates the label invented to describe it, encompassing the various meanings ascribed to humanitas, which included both benevolence toward one’s fellow humans and the values imparted by bonae litterae or humane learning (literally ‘good letters’).

Those who have spoken Latin and have used the language correctly do not give to the word humanities the meaning which it is commonly thought to have, namely, what the Greeks call φιλανθρωπία (philanthropy), signifying a kind of friendly spirit and good-feeling towards all men without distinction; but they gave to humanitas the force of the Greek παιδεία (paideia); that is, what we call eruditionem institutionemque in bonas artes, or ‘education and training in the liberal arts’. Those who earnestly desire and seek after these are most highly humanized. For the desire to pursue of that kind of knowledge, and the training given by it, has been granted to humanity alone of all the animals, and for that reason it is termed humanitas, or ‘humanity’.

History of Humanism

In 1808 Bavarian instructive magistrate Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer instituted the term Humanismus to portray the new established educational programs he wanted to offer in German auxiliary schools, and by 1836 ‘humanism’ had been retained into the English language in this sense. The coinage increased all inclusive acknowledgment in 1856, when German student of history and philologist Georg Voigt utilized humanism to depict Renaissance humanism, the development that thrived in the Italian Renaissance to restore established learning, an utilization which won wide acknowledgment among antiquarians in numerous countries, particularly Italy.

However, in the mid-eighteenth century, amid the French Enlightenment, a progressively ideological utilization of the term had come into utilization. In 1765, the writer of an unknown article in a French Enlightenment periodical discussed ‘The general love of humankind … an excellence up to this point very anonymous among us, and which we will dare to call ‘humanism’, for the time has come to make a word for such an excellent and vital thing’.The last piece of the eighteenth and the mid nineteenth hundreds of years saw the making of various grass-roots ‘humanitarian’ and kind social orders devoted to human advancement and the spreading of information (some Christian, some not). After the French Revolution, the possibility that human excellence could be made by human reason alone autonomously from conventional religious organizations, credited by rivals of the Revolution to Enlightenment philosophes, for example, Rousseau, was fiercely assaulted by persuasive religious and political preservationists, for example, Edmund Burke and Joseph de Maistre, as a worship or excessive admiration of humanity. Humanism started to gain a negative sense. The Oxford English Dictionary records the utilization of ‘humanism’ by an English minister in 1812 to demonstrate the individuals who have faith in the ‘minor humankind’ (rather than the heavenly nature) of Christ, i.e., Unitarians and Deists.[19] In this spellbound air, in which set up ministerial bodies would in general circle the wagons and reflexively contradict political and social changes like broadening the establishment, widespread tutoring, and so forth, liberal reformers and radicals grasped the possibility of Humanism as an elective religion of mankind.

The revolutionary Proudhon (best known for announcing that ‘property is burglary’) utilized ‘humanism’ to depict a ‘culte, déification de l’humanité’ (‘revere, exaltation of humankind’) and Ernest Renan in L’avenir de la science: pensées de 1848 (‘The Future of Knowledge: Thoughts on 1848’) (1848– 49), states: ‘It is my profound conviction that unadulterated humanism will be the religion of things to come, that is, the clique of all that relates to mankind—all of life, blessed and raised to the dimension of an ethical value.’ At about a similar time, ‘humanism’ as a rationality focused on mankind (rather than standardized religion) was likewise being utilized in Germany by the Left Hegelians, Arnold Ruge, and Karl Marx, who were condemning of the nearby inclusion of the congregation in the German government. There has been a relentless perplexity between the few employments of the terms altruistic humanists look to what they consider their precursors in basic reasoning and human-focused rationality among the Greek logicians and the extraordinary figures of Renaissance history; and academic humanists stress the semantic and social orders expected to comprehend and translate these thinkers and craftsmen.

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Types of humanism

‘Renaissance humanism’ is the name later given to a custom of social and instructive change occupied with by metro and religious chancellors, book authorities, instructors, and essayists, who by the late fifteenth century started to be alluded to as ‘humanists’ .It created amid the fourteenth and the start of the fifteenth hundreds of years, and was a reaction to the test of academic college training, which was then ruled by Aristotelian reasoning and rationale. Scholasticism concentrated on getting ready men to be specialists, legal counselors or expert scholars, and was instructed from affirmed course readings in rationale, normal logic, prescription, law and theology. There were critical focuses of humanism at Florence, Naples, Rome, Venice, Mantua, Ferrara, and Urbino. Humanists responded against this utilitarian methodology and the limited exactness related with it. They tried to make a citizenry (often including ladies) ready to talk and compose with expert articulation and clearness and in this way fit for drawing in the city life of their networks and influencing others to righteous and reasonable activities. This was to be practiced through the investigation of the studia humanitatis, today known as the humanities: language structure, talk, history, verse and good philosophy.

While according to a “Religious humanists’ are non-superstitious humans who nevertheless see ethical humanism as their religion, and who seek to integrate (secular) humanist moral philosophy with congregational rituals centered on human needs, interests, and abilities. Though practitioners of religious humanism did now not formally organize below the title of ‘humanism’ till the late 19th and early twentieth centuries, non-theistic religions paired with human-centered moral philosophy have a long history. A unified Ethical Culture motion used to be first based in 1876; its founder, Felix Adler used to be a former member of the Free Religious Association, and conceived of Ethical Culture as a new faith that would retain the moral message at the coronary heart of all religions. Ethical Culture used to be spiritual in the experience of playing a defining function in people’s lives and addressing troubles of ultimate concern. Nowadays religious humanists in the United States are represented by companies such as the American Ethical Union, and will genuinely describe themselves as ‘ethical humanists’ or ‘humanists’. Secular humanists and religious humanists organize together as section of large countrywide and worldwide groupings, and differentiate themselves primarily in their attitude to the merchandising of humanist thinking.

Early attempts at inventing a secular religious way of life knowledgeable the Ethical Culture movement. The Cult of Reason (French: Culte de la Raison) was once a faith based on deism devised throughout the French Revolution with the aid of Jacques Hébert, Pierre Gaspard Chaumette and their supporters.[70] In 1793 during the French Revolution, the cathedral Notre Dame de Paris used to be grew to become into a ‘Temple of Reason’ and for a time Lady Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on quite a few altars.[71] In the 1850s, Auguste Comte, the Father of Sociology, established Positivism, a ‘religion of humanity’.[72] One of the earliest forerunners of present day chartered humanist organizations used to be the Humanistic Religious Association fashioned in 1853 in London. This early group was once democratically organized, with male and female contributors collaborating in the election of the management and promoted understanding of the sciences, philosophy, and the arts.

The big difference between so-called ‘ethical’ humanists and ‘secular’ humanists is most pronounced in the United States, although it is turning into less so over time. The philosophical big difference is not mirrored at all in Canada, Latin America, Africa, or Asia, or most of Europe. In the UK, where the humanist motion was once strongly influenced by Americans in the nineteenth century, the leading ‘ethical societies’ and ‘ethical churches’ evolved into secular humanist charities (e.g. the British Ethical Union grew to be the British Humanist Association and later Humanists UK). In Scandinavian countries, ‘Human-etik’ or ‘humanetikk’ (roughly synonymous with ethical humanism) is a famous strand inside humanism, originating from the works of Danish logician Harald Høffding. The Norwegian Humanist Association belongs to this tendency, recognized as Human-Etisk Forbund (literally ‘Human-Ethical League’). Over time, the emphasis on human-etisk has emerged as less pronounced, and today HEF promotes each ‘humanisme’ and ‘human-etisk’. In Sweden, the primary Swedish humanist group Humanisterna (‘Humanists’) began as a ‘human-ethical association’, like the Norwegian humanists, before adopting the more standard secular humanist model famous in most of Europe. Today the big difference in Europe is often superficial.


In conclusion, humanism are feelings of human beings who believe in a natural universe as understood via reason, people who wish to stay moral and meaningful lives except belief in the supernatural, and people who care for their fellow human beings. Humanists are floating Ethics Science knowledgeable by means of science, inspired by way of art, and motivated by compassion.

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Types And History Of The Development Of Humanism. (2021, August 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from
“Types And History Of The Development Of Humanism.” Edubirdie, 16 Aug. 2021,
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