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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to Humanism
Peter Cave has written another excellent book. He explores the theme of humanism sensitively, pointing out common misconceptions about humanism that often lead to ill founded criticisms, while at the same time answering the more genuine concerns people have about the subject, and explaining the difficulties humanists have concerning religion. In tackling topics, ranging...
Published on 16 Jun 2009 by Cliff Collis

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A poor advert for humanism
Despite being described as a beginner's guide, this is not easy to read, especially the opening chapters, though it does get more straightforward as it proceeds. Unfortunately it's mainly a matter of poor writing style - the subjects and concepts discussed are not especially complicated.

Sadly, the author presents a militantly anthropocentric view of the...
Published 10 months ago by M. D. Holley


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to Humanism, 16 Jun 2009
Peter Cave has written another excellent book. He explores the theme of humanism sensitively, pointing out common misconceptions about humanism that often lead to ill founded criticisms, while at the same time answering the more genuine concerns people have about the subject, and explaining the difficulties humanists have concerning religion. In tackling topics, ranging from, religion, morality, politics, living and dying and the meaning of life, he argues we should take responsibility for our own actions and lives, and treat others as responsible agents based on our intuitive understanding of humanity and its values, rather than defer to religion. Further to do so is not necessarily selfish, neither will it lead to chaos and hedonism, but rather a celebration of best qualities of a very unique species.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humanism, 17 April 2012
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This is a beginner's guide, but it's not lightweight. The author outlines the Humanist positions of the great philosophers. Quite a lot of space is spent on the argument against God before getting to what, for me, is the nitty-gritty - how does a Humanist make sense of life and death? The answer is is clear and, yes, humane: all decisions about our behaviour must be made on a case-by case basis, since there is no creed to fall back on for answers, with reference to Humanist morality.This morality is based on kindness, empathy and doing no harm to humans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Human, 15 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Humanism: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides) (Kindle Edition)
I'm very happy with this book as it's my current 'pet subject', well explained and informative.
People of all Religions should read this in order for mankind to come out of the 'Superstitious era' and move into a brighter future.
I like the convenience of buying it on Amazon--no problems and very reliable service.Thanks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book., 6 Dec 2012
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This book was very differnt but very informative. The deliver was very quick, I have since passed this book on.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, Human and Humourous, 15 May 2009
A great and very readable introduction to what it means to be a Humanist from Peter Cave, who is getting a reputation for explaining some of life's complex thoughts in a down-to-earth, intelligent and often witty way. If you're a human, buy this.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humanism, 22 Dec 2009
This book is extremely well structured. It offers a very clear view of every aspect of humanism. In my opinion it should be read by all people who have open minds and especially also by those who have the deluded idea that scripture is the word of their God. "Humanism" will appeal to agnostics and religious doubters. It is not exclusively the domain of atheists. It represents all that is good and moral, without being tied to any religious apron strings!
Devout religious people have yet to learn that they do not have a monopoly on what is good, moral or right.
They assume that anyone who has no religion is automatically evil. To them I say "Judge not, that ye be not judged!"
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction and a good read, 27 May 2009
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S. Mathies - See all my reviews
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Humanism is a fascinating topic, and Peter Cave manages to impart a wealth of information in the witty style of an after dinner speech.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A poor advert for humanism, 10 Oct 2013
By 
M. D. Holley (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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Despite being described as a beginner's guide, this is not easy to read, especially the opening chapters, though it does get more straightforward as it proceeds. Unfortunately it's mainly a matter of poor writing style - the subjects and concepts discussed are not especially complicated.

Sadly, the author presents a militantly anthropocentric view of the world. John Gray, in his book 'Straw Dogs', is evidently right to criticise some humanists on this point. I was amused to read the story of McTaggart's cat in chapter 7, especially as I had just finished reading a book about cats. McTaggart's cat is held up as an example of a brainless and worry free existence. A story like this perhaps tells us more about Peter Cave's lack of perception than it does about the cat's.

The author is over-fond of superficially clever word riddles reminiscent of an autistic but arrogant 14 year old boy. Here lies the main problem I have with the book - the humanism it describes comes across as self satisfied, smug, amoral, written for an exclusive elite who hold themselves above the masses. Humanism potentially represents a higher level of morality than is possible within religion, but Peter Cave leans towards an "anything goes" approach.

The discussion on politics adds little, for it is equally possible for a good humanist to be a conservative, a liberal or a socialist.

To summarise, this is a badly written book that paints humanism in a very unappealing light. I would encourage prospective readers to sample Sam Harris, Steven Pinker, Frans de Waal or Richard Dawkins for a more sympathetic (and more elegantly written) description of contemporary humanism. How disappointing to see this book recommended on the British Humanist Association website. Apparently humanism is a very broad church indeed!
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I didn't get beyond Chapter 2, 23 May 2010
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I'm a Humanist, and bought this book to learn more about Humanism. However, the author's writing style was dreadfully pompous, and I abandoned it after a couple of chapters. His sentences were unnecessarily verbose, and his points were not clearly made. I found myself re-reading paragraphs to try to interpret the meaning of their language (never mind their philosophy!) It may be useful to some as a philosophical or academic text, but it is definitely not an accessible guide for beginners.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a badly written book, 30 Jun 2014
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This is a dreadful little book. I bought it because it is heavily advertised by the British Humanist Association, so I thought it would be a good place to start.

But as another reviewer commented, it's a poor advert for humanism. I have no problem with the ideas expressed, but the prose style is awful. I can't quite think of the right word to describe it: self-indulgent, smug, wilfully opaque, rambling ... It's simply tedious to read.

This is the second book I have bought in this series, and the other was just as bad. I think Oneworld must just be a second-rate publishing company. I'm not buying any more.
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