Varieties of Philosophical Humanism and Conceptions of Science

In A forthcoming volume on science and humanism. Chicago: Chicago University Press (forthcoming)
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Abstract
This chapter describes some of the varieties of philosophical humanism and different conceptions of, and attitudes towards, the natural sciences. I focus on three kinds of humanism evident in 20th century European philosophy – humanism as essentialism, humanism as rational subjectivity, and existential humanism. Some are strongly allied to the sciences, others are antipathetic to them, while others offer subtler positions. By emphasising this diversity, I want to oppose claims about the inevitability of an 'alliance' of science to humanism, and that claim that to be a humanist is something we must approve or applaud. At best, those 'alliances' and that praiseworthiness will only be true of certain varieties of humanism.
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