Hi! I’m Lozenge, 30 years old.
Here to know the humanist community, and to learn.
Started to self-identify as a secular humanist 5 years ago, to which I was introduced by Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker, who are my favorite humanist figures, whom I continue to follow. I discovered CFI last year, and quite appreciated the definition it provides of humanism (stressing consequentialism and freedom).
I am a liberal secular humanist, that is, I believe humanism needs economic and political liberalism to function, and vice versa ; and I believe economic and political freedom need a philosophical basis, which is secular humanism. It appears to me liberal secular humanism constitutes a tradition, with people like Condillac, Antoine Destutt de Tracy, Jean-Baptiste Say, Alain, Raymond Aron, Raymond Boudon, Abnousse Shalmani.
But I noticed that many economic liberals (conservatives and anarcho capitalists) are unfortunately not humanist, and I suspect many humanists are not economic liberals.
I was trained in the human sciences; and believe that human sciences and ‘hard’ sciences are on a continuum, thus, should not be put apart and divided. Not for scientism in human sciences though (systematic use of hard sciences methods in human sciences fields), as it does not always give very good results. Human sciences should nonetheless aim for clarity and usefulness (objective observations of the world, with explicit terminology and methodology).
Empirical univeralism is important, in my understanding. We should be universalist for ethical reasons (in order to treat fairly our fellows) and scientific reasons (because we all belong to one same species), but empiricist in that universalism, in order to avoid ethnocentrism: avoid reflecting our own values and wishes on others, and observing and discovering factual differences and similarities instead. Otherwise, univeralism can lead to bad things, like colonialism for instance.
Edit: Add that I am an individualist (which I imply in the word “liberal” in “liberal secular humanist”). I define individualism as: (1) the freedom for the individual to choose their own value (Raymond Boudon) (2) the framework that analyzes all the collective phenomena as stemming from individuals actions, interactions, goals, and thoughts (Karl Popper)
Of course, being an individualist does not mean that one does not recognize that human beings are social animals, and as a point of fact, human beings do are social animals, and therefore, the individualist philosophy should allow them to function well in society, which implies being moral.
There are many forms of individualism: romantic individualism (aka narcissism), anarcho-individualism (aka egoism; Max Stirner), hippie individualism (Jack Kerouac, Richard Alpert), aristocatric individualism (Nietzche), existentialist individualism (Kierkegaard, Sartre) ; and none of them offer a reliable basis for morality nor a well-functioning in society.
Humanism does offer a reliable basis. Individualism therefore needs humanism, but humanism also needs individualism.
Individualistic humanism can I believe help to live a fulfilling, meaningful, and moral life, because it embraces all of what it means to be a human.
(I am not a native speaker of English, and was not raised nor lived for a significant period of time in an English-speaking country).