The western humanist tradition

van Hooft, Stan 2012, The western humanist tradition, in Oxford textbook of spirituality in healthcare, Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, pp.43-48.

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Title The western humanist tradition
Author(s) van Hooft, Stan
Title of book Oxford textbook of spirituality in healthcare
Editor(s) Cobb, Mark R.
Puchalski, Christine
Rumbold, Bruce
Publication date 2012
Chapter number 7
Total chapters 63
Start page 43
End page 48
Total pages 6
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of Publication Oxford, England
Keyword(s) Spirituality
healthcare
philosophy
caring
ethics
Summary In this essay, I describe the development of at least three traditions of humanism: the Platonic, the Aristotelian, and the Promethean. These traditions have developed and intermingled so as to produce the complex and multifaceted face of humanism today. The first, Platonic tradition involves a turning away from the world in order to find wisdom and spirituality in a metaphysical realm. The Aristotelian tradition stresses the need to be at home in the world and happy in life even as we contemplate their unchangeable realities. It speaks of the perfectibility of human beings in muted tones and shows a reverence for the changeable world, as well as for the fragile, vulnerable, fallible, and mortal condition of being human. However, it is the Promethean tradition, with its celebration of science, progress, and technology, that has had the greatest effect upon modern civilization and spirituality. The culmination of these various streams of thought was the Enlightenment: a movement that its greatest philosopher, Immanuel Kant, interpreted as giving humanity permission, for the first time, to think for itself. But the Enlightenment leads to a disenchanted world in which spirituality seems to have no place. I argue that my subjectivity is a transcendent reality and that our very subjectivity becomes a real self and a social being insofar as it is drawn towards the Other. Accordingly, a humanist spirituality is possible in the form of reverence, love, and humility in the presence of transcendence. While religions give the names of their gods to this transcendence, humanism gives it other names: Subjectivity, the Other, Beauty, Goodness, and Truth.
ISBN 9780199571390
Language eng
Field of Research 220101 Bioethics (human and animal)
Socio Economic Objective 920205 Health Education and Promotion
HERDC Research category B1 Book chapter
ERA Research output type B Book chapter
HERDC collection year 2012
Copyright notice ©2012, Oxford University Press
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30048386

Document type: Book Chapter
Collection: School of Humanities and Social Sciences
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Created: Fri, 14 Sep 2012, 11:41:34 EST by Stan Van Hooft

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