Edited by Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni
The adjective ‘humanistic’ derives from Humanism. Literature about humanism tackles this concept in two main senses. In a wider sense humanism is understood as a kind of Weltanschauung stressing the dignity and worth of human beings and the search of good for them. Humanism in this wider sense has been proposed with different nuances and a variety of approaches throughout history, sometimes stressing the rational capacity of man and rejecting transcendent realities (Huxley, 1957, 1961) and sometimes embracing religion and transcendent values (Maritain, 1936). In this wider sense humanism includes diverse approaches ranging from: the homo mensura definition given by Protagoras: ‘man is the measure of all things’, to the multiple post-humanistic or even anti-humanistic approaches developed in the late 20th century which were built over the failures of past humanist experiments. The structuralism of authors such as Michel Foucault, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jacques Lacan and Louis Althusser might be perceived in that perspective. Other post-humanistic approaches reflect contemporary concerns about global climate change and the unpredictable influences of technology and biotechnology on human nature (Hayles, 1999; Sloterdijk, 1999; Badmington, 2000) or question anthropocentrism and the role of men in society (Regan & Singer, 1989).
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