Paul Kurtz

American professor of philosophy (1925-2012)

Paul Winter Kurtz (21 December 192520 October 2012) was a prominent American skeptic and secular humanist.

Quotes edit

  • Free inquiry entails recognition of civil liberties as integral to its pursuit, that is, a free press, freedom of communication, the right to organize opposition parties and to join voluntary associations, and freedom to cultivate and publish the fruits of scientific, philosophical, artistic, literary, moral and religious freedom.
    • Paul Kurtz (1983) In defense of secular humanism, p. 15
  • Free inquiry requires that we tolerate diversity of opinion and that we respect the right of individuals to express their beliefs, however unpopular they may be, without social or legal prohibition or fear of success.
    • Paul Kurtz (1983) In defense of secular humanism, p. 16
  • The meaning of life is not to be discovered only after death in some hidden, mysterious realm; on the contrary, it can be found by eating the succulent fruit of the Tree of Life and by living in the here and now as fully and creatively as we can.
    • Paul Kurtz, ‎Vern L. Bullough, ‎Tim Madigan (eds.). Toward a New Enlightenment: The Philosophy of Paul Kurtz. (1994) p. 20
  • Another explanation for the persistence of the paranormal, I submit, is due to the transcendental temptation. In my book by that name, I present the thesis that paranormal and religious phenomena have similar functions in human experience; they are expressions of a tendency to accept magical thinking. This temptation has such profound roots within human experience and culture that it constantly reasserts itself.
    • In: The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 25, (2001), p. 47
  • I believe that a person should take an affirmative outlook. There are always problems in life, old and new, uncertainties, and unexpected contingencies. The optimal way to deal with this is not to give up in despair, but to move ahead using the best intelligence and resources that we have to overcome adversity.
    • Quoted in: Dave Lane (2008) Isn't Religion Weird? Quotations for Atheists, p. 117
  • (About the New Atheists) I consider them atheist fundamentalists. They’re anti-religious, and they’re mean-spirited, unfortunately. Now, they’re very good atheists and very dedicated people who do not believe in God. But you have this aggressive and militant phase of atheism, and that does more damage than good.

Exuberant Skepticism (2012) edit

D.J. Grothe (host), Paul Kurtz (3 February 2012). Paul Kurtz - Exuberant Skepticism. For Good Reason (James Randi Educational Foundation). Retrieved on 27 May 2014.

  • Skepticism is part of reflection... In religion and ethics, in politics, you have to be skeptical of claims that people make. It applies to all parts of life. Your own beliefs and the beliefs of others, and your willingness to examine these, to see if they hold up under scrutiny.
    • 9:40–10:10
  • I think skepticism is an antidote for nonsense –and there's always nonsense in life– and also it's the method for discovering what's true or false. And yes, we should use it throughout life.
    • 22:54–23:09

Multi-Secularism: A New Agenda, (2014) edit

Paul Kurtz (2014), Multi-Secularism: A New Agenda,

  • Secularism needs to be adapted to diverse cultural conditions if it is to gain ground. I submit that we cannot legislate secularism uberhaupt without recognizing the cultural traditions in which it emerges. Accordingly, multi-secularism seems to be the best strategy to pursue: that is, adapting secular ideas and values to the societies in which they arise.
    • p. 1
  • Life, when fully lived under a variety of cultural conditions, can be euphoric and optimistic; it can be a joy to experience and a wonder to behold
    • p. 58
  • If there are any lessons to be learned from history, it is that we should be skeptical of all points of view, including those of the skeptics. No one is infallible, and no one can claim a monopoly on truth or virtue. It would be contradictory for skepticism to seek to translate itself into a new faith. One must view with caution the promises of any new secular priest who might emerge promising a brave new world—if only his path to clarity and truth is followed. Perhaps the best we can hope for is to temper the intemperate and to tame the perverse temptation that lurks within.
    • p. 338

External links edit

Wikipedia has an article about: