Introduction to Humanism


A Primer on the History, Philosophy, and Goals of Humanism

Humanism is a godless philosophy based on reason and compassion.

…is a ten-word, static definition of humanism. The free individual learning courses are a million-word, dynamic, ongoing exploration of humanism. This brief survey course, Introduction to Humanism, will fall somewhere in between, providing a one-to-two-hour overview of humanism’s history, philosophy, and goals.

By the time you’ve finished the two lessons of this course, you’ll have a general understanding of what humanism is (and what it is not!), the role of humanism in history, the core principles of humanism, and what humanism offers the individual and society. We hope this course will inspire you to delve deeper into the rich culture of humanism by exploring other courses.

Introduction to Humanism is divided into two sections. Lesson 1 summarizes the history of humanist ideas and their role in developing the modern world. Lesson 2 explores the meaning and scope of the humanist lifestance in the current era.

Before moving on, let’s lay the foundation by offering some formal definitions of humanism. After finishing this course, you’ll be better prepared to articulate your own definition.