Contemporary Humanism: An Introduction

Overview

Contemporary humanism is explained as a view that typically combines:

1. an emphasis on the role of science and reason

2. the acceptance of atheism

3. The view that this is very probably the only life we have. There is no heaven or hell awaiting us

4. a commitment to the existence and importance of moral value

5. emphasis on our individual moral autonomy and responsibility

6. a commitment to political secularism

7. belief that we can enjoy significant, meaningful lives even if there is no God, and whether or not we happen to be religious

All seven views will be unpacked and religious and other critiques of them will be examined. In particular, we will explore the limits of science and reason and whether science can threaten religious belief, the possibility of leading meaningful lives in the absence of religion, political secularism and the separation of Church and State, how best to raise moral citizens (within a religious framework vs. within a secular framework), and the work of campaigning humanist groups such as Humanists UK and the American Humanist Association.

Programme details

9.45am
Registration (in-person attendees only)

10.00am
What is Humanism?

11.15am
Tea/coffee

11.45am
Humanism, Political Secularism and Ending Religious Privilege

1.00pm
Lunch break

2.00pm
Atheism vs. Theism and The Meaning of Life

3.15pm
Tea/coffee

3.45pm
Raising Moral Citizens – a Humanist Approach

5.00pm
Course disperses

Fees

Description Costs
Tuition - in-person attendance (includes tea/coffee) £85.00
Tuition - virtual attendance £75.00
Baguette £6.10
Hot lunch (three courses) £16.50

Funding

If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses

Tutors

Dr Stephen Law

Tutor

Stephen Law is the Director of the CertHE and Director of Studies Philosophy. Stephen has written many books, including several popular philosophy titles such as The Philosophy Gym (Headline, 2003), Companion Guide to Philosophy (Dorling Kindersley, 2007) and Greatest Philosophers (Quercus, 2008). He is also the Editor of THINK, the journal of the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

Dr Thiago Alves Pinto

Chair

Thiago Alves Pinto holds an LLB (Hons.) from Centro Universitário Curitiba (Brazil), a Master's degree in International Human Rights Law from Åbo Akademi University (Finland), and a DPhil in Law from the University of Oxford. He is currently a Departmental Lecturer in Legal Studies and International Human Rights Law and the Director of Studies in Theology and Religious Studies at the Department for Continuing Education.

Application

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.

Accommodation

Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email res-ctr@conted.ox.ac.uk for details of availability and discounted prices.

IT requirements

For those joining us online

We will be using Zoom for the livestreaming of this course. If you’re attending online, you’ll be able to see and hear the speakers, and to submit questions via the Zoom interface. Joining instructions will be sent out prior to the start date. We recommend that you join the session at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time – just as you might arrive a bit early at our lecture theatre for an in-person event.

Please note that this course will not be recorded.