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“Paul Kurtz was a voice for a humane secularism before ‘the new atheism’ became fashionable, and his body of writings constitutes an articulate positive vision of what makes life meaningful, purposive, and worth living. We are lucky that he left us with this highly creative summation of his vision, filled with insights and bits of wisdom.”
 New York Times bestselling author of The Better Angels of Our Nature


In this optimistic, life-affirming book, philosopher Paul Kurtz succinctly outlines the main characteristics of happiness. Centered on human concerns and employing rational and scientific methods to determine objective truth, Affirmations is dedicated to the development of individual potential. Emphasizing that the good life is achievable by everyone, Kurtz has coined the term eupraxsophy, based on Greek roots and meaning “good conduct and wisdom in living.” By using critical thinking, he shows how wisdom can be applied to a life of commitment and passion.




For more than three decades, philosopher Paul Kurtz has been a strong advocate of skepticism, not only as a philosophical position, but also as a fulfilling way of life. Contrary to the view that skepticism is merely a negative, nay saying, or debunking stance toward commonly held beliefs, skepticism as defined by Kurtz emerges reborn as “skeptical inquiry”—a decidedly positive philosophy ready and able to change the world. In this definitive collection, editor John R. Shook has gathered together seventeen of Paul Kurtz’s most penetrating and insightful writings. Altogether these essays build an affirmative case for what can be known based on sound common sense, reason, and scientific method. And as each essay cogently and convincingly explains, so much can be known, from the natural world around us to the moral responsibilities among us.



Paul Kurtz, America's leading secular humanist philosopher, affirms that it is possible to live the good life and be morally responsible, without belief in religion. In this original and penetrating book, Kurtz delineates the means by which humanity can transcend the limitations of traditional religious loyalties and achieve a higher stage of ethics. The ultimate key to the good life, Kurtz writes, is to eat of the fruit of the second tree in the Garden of Eden - the tree of life - discovering for ourselves the manifold potentialities for a bountiful existance.




In a world confronted by conflicting moral beliefs and values, the question is often raised, “Can science help us to solve our moral problems?” This volume presents a unique collection of authors who generally maintain that science can help us make wise choices and that an increase in scientific knowledge can help modify our ethical values and bring new ethical principles into social awareness. Editor Paul Kurtz maintains that there is a modified form of naturalistic ethics that is directly relevant to both science and ethics and provides guidelines for our moral choices.




In recent years a noticeable trend toward harmonizing the distinct worldviews of science and religion has become increasingly popular. Despite marked public interest, many leading scientists remain skeptical that there is much common ground between scientific knowledge and religious belief. Indeed, they are often antagonistic. Can an accommodation be reached after centuries of conflict? In this stimulating collection of articles on the subject, Paul Kurtz, with the assistance of Barry Karr and Ranjit Sandhu, have assembled the thoughts of scientists from various disciplines. Among the topics discussed are the Big Bang and the origin of the universe, intelligent design and creationism versus evolution, the nature of the "soul," near-death experiences, communication with the dead, why people do or do not believe in God, and the relationship between religion and ethics.



Kurtz argues that there are objective standards for judging truth claims in science, ethics, and philosophy. Of special interest is the application of the new skepticism to paranormal claims such as reincarnation and faith healing, and to religious beliefs, ethics and politics.






In this widely acclaimed and highly controversial book, Paul Kurtz examines the reasons why people accept supernatural and paranormal belief systems in spite of substantial evidence to the contrary. According to Kurtz, it is because there is within the human species a deeply rooted tendency toward magical thinking - the "transcendental temptation" - which undermines critical judgement and paves the way for willful beliefs. Kurtz explores in detail the three major monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - finding striking psychological and sociological parallels between these religions, the spiritualism of the 19th century, and the paranormal belief systems of today.




Paul Kurtz is one of America's foremost expositors of humanist philosophy. In Living without Religion he has introduced a new word to describe humanism - eupraxophy. Derived from the Greek roots eu (good), praxis (practice), and sophia (philosophical and scientific wisdom), eupraxophy means literally "good conduct and wisdom in living." Eupraxophy draws upon the disciplines of the sciences, philosophy, and ethics - yet it is more than these. Not simply an intellectual position, eupraxophy expresses convictions about the nature of the universe and how to live one's life with commitment and dedication. It thus combines both a cosmic outlook and a life stance. Kurtz maintains that the eupraxopher can lead a meaningful life and help create a just society, and he offers concrete recommendations for the development of the humanism of the future.


Dewey's Enduring Impact: Essays On America's Philosopher

By John R. Shook and Paul Kurtz, Editors


© Institute for Science and Human Values