What school of thought do you identify most with, and why?
I'm just beginning to look at philosophy, and find humanism attractive (AC Grayling' s work especially). Please post your favorite/most convincing "ism" (for example, but not limited to, determinism, humanism, nihilism, objectivism) and a bit on what led you there. I'm focusing primarily on systems of ethics, sources of meaning and free will. Feel free to post about how these systems impact your political views as well.
Thanks in advance :)

Tags: determinism, free, humanism, objectivism, philosophy, politics, will

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What school of thought do you identify most with, and why?

I'm a freethinker first and foremost, and tend to dislike the application of an "-ism", but I'm attracted to Humanism, particularly the aspect stated as "the conceptual boundaries of Humanism, not what we must believe but a consensus of what we do believe", and that science and rationality are put at the top of the list.


Humanist Manifesto III

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

The lifestance of Humanism—guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience—encourages us to live life well and fully. It evolved through the ages and continues to develop through the efforts of thoughtful people who recognize that values and ideals, however carefully wrought, are subject to change as our knowledge and understandings advance.

This document is part of an ongoing effort to manifest in clear and positive terms the conceptual boundaries of Humanism, not what we must believe but a consensus of what we do believe. It is in this sense that we affirm the following:

Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence.

Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be. We welcome the challenges of the future, and are drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known.

Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.

Life's fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of want and encouragement in times of plenty.

Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.

Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness. Progressive cultures have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature's resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life.

Humanists are concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views. We work to uphold the equal enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society and maintain it is a civic duty to participate in the democratic process and a planetary duty to protect nature's integrity, diversity, and beauty in a secure, sustainable manner.

Thus engaged in the flow of life, we aspire to this vision with the informed conviction that humanity has the ability to progress toward its highest ideals. The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone.

Before I adopted any of the "isms" I hold dear, I was a critical thinker concerned with morality. I'd say: skepticism (more broadly, a rationalist, naturalist worldview) and secular humanism. I was a Catholic Humanist before I even knew what humanism meant...throughout my childhood, I kept trying to bend Catholicism to fit into a humanist mold. 

RE:...........determinism, humanism, nihilism, objectivism...........

Pardon my ignorance, (sarcasm NOT intended) but are those the only 4 options?

I suppose I'm an anti-ism-ist lol......
Reading up on each one a bit I am an anti-ism-ist. I am more of a sociologist, (the science of all isms).....I find isms too classifying, and a shoty way to define oneself and the beliefs one holds. Any rationally thinking human being is always open to information no matter what "ism" it is.....but the ismness of the ism itself is a turn off. But the ideas within the ism are (sometimes) valid.

Can my answer just be free thinker? No ish about it ;)

Sorry about the ambiguity, I meant those as examples of what I meant as an "ism." 

I definitely agree that labels can be confining. Anyone who accepts one should keep challenging it with new information, avoiding complacency. Lol it reminds me of my family and their political beliefs- they will vote for any republican without even looking up his/her ideas, and when I ask them their ideas on a problem, they either say "the republican view" or admit apathy.

That being said, "isms" can be conversation- starters about the ideas within them, and a good reference (not absolute) as to what a person's belief system is.

I'm curious about how people on a free-thinking blog approach labels, and more than anything about what schools of thought are out there.

I'm curious about how people on a free-thinking blog approach labels, and more than anything about what schools of thought are out there.

I like lables. I like to group and classify. I like to look at things from a macro perspective, so I find generalisations about populations useful. I'm comfortable using the shorthand of 'labling' and acknowledging that lables have limits. I can see all the beautiful individual trees and acknowledge that they're part of one forest.

I think that trying to avoid a lable in order to assert the one, two, or seven things about you that don't completely align with the stereotypical or fundamental definition of a lable is egotistical and hyper-individualistic. Most people understand that many lables can have flexible boundaries yet still be cohesive enough to have meaning. Lables are valueable to me when they represent things that share significant commonalities, not just when they identify a set of identical data.

You can lable all perfect spheres as round and still describe other things that deviate from perfect roundness as round. Why squabble over the fact that you're more of a "roundish" person than a "round" person. Now, if we're dealing with something that is more oblong than round, calling it round loses it's value. You can say it's rounded, but it's more informative to call it oblong.

So if that example made you want to kill yourself, I apologize. What I'm trying to get at is this: if you only share 70% of the values/characteristics of a group, adding an asterisk to your lable makes sense. But don't be like, 'man, I'm too individual to fit into that group.' If you share 50% of the values, maybe you should hypenate the label. If you only share 30%, why the hell are you calling yourself a "roundist"?

@Renee: RE Sorry about the ambiguity, I meant those as examples of what I meant as an "ism." 

No apology necessary. Forgive my sarcasm, it was not directed at you AT ALL...I can be a smart ass sometimes. I was really just wondering honestly what all the different schools of thought are. I honestly don't know that much on the subject. Normally my sarcastic comments are met with someone like Gallup's Mirror providing more info that I can reference, but instead of asking a straight question I tend to become over complicate it..........I LOVE the subject and agree. I would like to know more about the isms. But I still wouldn't say I am defined by them, personally.

I am not sure if Discordianism counts...

When I was young, I concluded that destiny is a lie. There is no higher purpose to existence. We simply are.Within this worldview, our individual histories are the collective outcomes of the decisions each of us make in response to the outcomes of random events and the outcomes of others decisions..

   As a teen I discovered this philosophy is called existentialism.

  I also describe my self as agnostic. Not in the context of theism, which claims faith as knowledge of the unknowable, but in the sense that I have no compulsion to claim knowledge.where such knowledge does not exist.

So I am an agnostic existentialist.

I think am close to this more than any other.

Since I don't know what is meant by talk of gods, am a naturalist.


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