Hi! I’m Lozenge

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 universalism 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).

Welcome lozenge. Always nice to have another humanist join, especially one who apparently reads! I’m not quite as well-versed in economics as you, so looking forward to your perspective.


I second Lausten’s welcome, we could use an interesting new voice around here.
I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

I’m old and not a college grad, skilled labor (culinary arts & framing carpentry) and reading on the side was my university of the streets, so my bandwidth has its blindspots.

That’s by way of an excuse for why I’m not familiar with the term “human sciences” and had to look it up. But I know how to learn . . .

About the course

Human Sciences is an interdisciplinary degree course which enables students to study humans from multiple interconnecting perspectives across the biological and social sciences.

Underlying the degree concept is the recognition that it is important to understand connections among biological, social, and cultural phenomena in order to address the major issues and problems humans face in a rapidly changing world. The programme offers an exciting and challenging alternative to more traditional undergraduate courses.

Central topics include:

  • the evolution of humans and their behaviour
  • molecular and population genetics
  • population growth and ageing
  • ethnic and cultural diversity
  • and human interaction with the environment, including conservation, disease, and nutrition.

University of Oxford’s Institute of Human Sciences webpage


Now you have me curious, sounds you have some interesting stories you could share. Would love to hear some more.

Welcome to our community !!!

And you seem very well educated.

1 Like

Welcome. Glad to have you here. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Your first was fun. Wanted to make a response earlier, but had to do a little google trawling, which lead to new avenues, then Maddy scratching on the door, took me back into the real world.

It’ll give me extra time to chew on the your thoughts.

Thanks for joining in.

1 Like

Welcome Lozenge, looking forward to your posts.

1 Like

I am French, and I think France would benefit a lot from learning and getting closed to (what we call) Anglo-Saxon culture (GB and the US). This is what was done during the Enlightenment, and it gave rise to very nice things. I see the US (as a nation) as a mix between GB and French Enlightenment, and this explain to me why the US has surpassed so much these two countries.

Anti-Americanism in France drives us in the bad direction. France needs to renew its Enlightenment humanism soon, learning from GB and the US (more utilitarianism, more pragmatism, more entrepreneurship, more “dignity culture” over “honor culture”, etc.) otherwise I fear it will end badly. The need to “renew” or improve this French humanism (what is politicitized into the “universalisme Républicain”) is what prompted me to get close to humanist circles.

Not rejecting full-blown my cultural background though (which would be difficult anyway), I think we have some good things, but France has a too strong authoritarian tradition (the king, the absolute monarch, Napoléon, Gaullism, etc.), which is pervasive (pervades other (political) school of thoughts), and is at odd with humanism.

I think France is much more closed-minded, nationalistic and illiberal that it thinks it is.

I can’t comment on that , but I can comment on the positive impact a multi-cultural society fosters.

Each nation anywhere in the world has something that is wonderful and unique to that culture. When all these cultural abilities mix, the variations multiply exponentially and the entire socio-economic standard rises along with the discovery or invention of new ideas and customs.
This is especially noticeable in the arts, like food, music, dance, and other activities that stimulate empathy (a commonly shared emotional experience).

I agree with that, I am pro-cultural diversity and cosmopolitanism. Saw that it is in cosmopolitan areas that science made the best progress.

Not for relativism, nonetheless. I think cultures (American culture, French culture, etc.) should be freely approached with a critical eye.

NB: Culture is not race, first of all, because race does not exist, and second because cultures are just ideas, not peoples. So when critically assessing a culture, we are not, or at least we should not be perceived as, lacking respect to anybody.

1 Like

Feminism should, I believe, be included in the different philosophies (naturalism, consequentialism, individualism, etc.) that define secular humanism.

In an ideal world, we would not need feminism, and individualism and humanism should be fine (women are humans, and should be treated as such based on the principles of humanism, why making a difference?), but as a point of fact, history (and evolution) has left us with such an amount of prejudices against women (and men) that we specifically need to “deconstruct” them, if humanism was to be applied to everybody, including men.

Anti-feminism (in its many different forms) hurts women as much as men.

Feminism is of course equal rights for women and the liberation of women body (birth control, etc.), but not only.

We should re-think some socio-cultural norms about men and women. We don’t need the irrationalist, anti-humanistic, anti-science, differentialist (if not essentialist), collectivistic post-structuralism for that. For instance:

_It is not sufficient that men participates in the household duties, they should also share the “mental load”, that is, being more mentally committed and present to this aspect of life. I was drawn to this issue by feminist thinker Caroline Fourest, in this great speech “L’avenir du féminisme”, at the Institut Diderot, in December 2022. The video version is here, the transcript of the speech is here.

_We should teach and allow men to communicate better their emotions and let down machismo, in order for them to be closer to and more supportive with their wife (but also between men, and with children). Recently, some experimental research and psychotherapy have been developed and get available in this direction (see for instance the APA GUIDELINES for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men, or this study on depression symptoms in men and women).

_We should better understand what explains the gender differences in the labour market, in order to see how to tackle this situation in the most humanistic way. The 2023 Nobel Prize in economics awarded to Claudia Goldin, goes in that direction.

I am inspired by liberal feminists such as Olympe de Gouges, Françoise Giroud, Simone Veil, Élisabeth Badinter, Abnousse Shalmani, Caroline Fourest.
I know less the GB and American feminists, and all in all, I unfortunately came to feminism only recently. Some sharing on feminism thought would be very welcome.

1 Like

Bienvenue à toi une seconde fois, nous sommes compatriotes

Welcome to you a second time, we are fellow countrymen

1 Like


I must precise that, although I have been consuming a lot of American media these last years on a daily basis, I realize with the interactions I have on this forum that the American English spoken in conferences, shows, interviews, etc. differs a lot from the American English spoken/written spontaneously. For instance, I never encountered the word “gritty” and had to search it in the dictionary. The grammar and the spelling seems to differ a lot too (“you’re” instead of “your”).

On the other hand, I worry that I misuse some words, leading to misunderstanding and little disaccords. For instance, I know the term “liberal” has now the meaning “progressive” in the US, but I am not sure to what extent we can still use it to mean “relating to or denoting a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise.”

Or I don’t know if telling to another person “your grandma” is impolite or not.

Don’t worry be happy

About the meaning of liberal, the US people seem to have the same problem as us.

[Just what is meant by "liberal"] among others topics.

Incidentally i think that “you’re” is for "you are " and not for " your "

1 Like

Well don’t use me as your guide to American grammar or spelling correctness. I suck and am prone to many errors, plus I have a bit of dyslexia, which doesn’t help any.

Okay so we immigrated before my twin and were a half year old, and had a rule that we followed all the way through high school, in the home we speak German outside we speak English, so I have the curious experience of growing up bilingual from before I could remember. That was reinforced by regular visits to the Davis Movie Theater, Chicago’s German speaking movie house with Germany newsreels for intermission.
In my early twenties I spent 3 years in Germany and Switzerland and was gobsmacked by how differently we speak inside the family from how we speak outside in the public world.
So I can relate.


Thank you for the dictionary entry link :smile:

I feel the spoken spontaneous language is far richer than what you nicely called the “public language”

I would say the same from French !!!

Well for an American, I appreciate in other places it’s not near the novelty it is here.

Hello Lozenge - I just joined CFI, too. Your English is great for a non-native speaker. Looking forward to reading more about your perspective on issues.

Dear Olisdad, I was hesitating on how to welcome you, since I am myself a newcomer :laughing:

Thank you for the compliment.

Saw that you live on a farm, it sounds very impressive to me since, in my impression, US landscapes and farms are huge.

Welcome, and looking forward to discussing with you~