Thursday, December 20, 2007

Beyond Humanism?

I say again and again that atheism is not a world view or philosophy. It's just "not theism"; a disagreement with god talk that is only useful in our current overly religious social context. So what is my world view? How do I classify my system of ethics? I like the ideals of Secular Humanism, and Humanism in general, but the central focus on "human" has always bothered me.

I like Peter Singer’s ideas of extending our compassion to creatures beyond our own species. If you are an atheistic naturalist then you should understand there is no clear border between humans and other animals, so why shouldn’t the golden rule and other common sense ethical principles extend to them as well?

The Secular Humanist list of affirmations does say: "We want to protect and enhance the earth, to preserve it for future generations, and to avoid inflicting needless suffering on other species." However that idea is not directly implied in the term "Humanism".

Yes I am a hypocritical meat eater, but I might not always be. I’m still mulling things over. Can anyone think of a name for a positive ethical philosophy along the lines of Humanism, but with a broader scope to include all sentient creatures with the capacity to suffer?