AMERICAN HUMANISM: Its Meaning for World Survival by Howard Mumford Jones

AMERICAN HUMANISM: Its Meaning for World Survival

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KIRKUS REVIEW

American dynamism is dedicated to cultural rather than political hegemony. Thus the intellectual milieu in America has profound significance in terms of its own survival and its influence abroad. America's humanism springs from the traditions of the renaissance, anti-theological and based on classical authority. To explore the difference between American and European humanism today, it is necessary to turn to higher education. Here, Mumford observes, worship of the multiplicity rather than the unity of knowledge has given rise to the revered doctrine of the expertise. This doctrine supports our acceptance of a utilitarian definition of learning, and we endorse a tripartite, mutually exclusive curriculum. That humanism might not be lost we have adopted a course of studies called ""the humanities"", a poor substitute. In spite of the inherent defects of the American brand of Western humanism it has ""better survival value than systems giving up belief in rationality because it is secular, and celebrating impotence because their adherents are afraid."" This volume is #14 in the World Perspectives series. Parts of it were used as bases for lectures given by the author at Clark University. While it is general it will be quite stimulating for those who deal in abstraction.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1957
Publisher: Harper