“In his book Exuberant Skepticism
, Professor Paul Kurtz provides a salubriously rational conduit through life, and a potent antidote to supernaturalist mystification. It is a skeptical gospel, both seasoned and constructive.”
—Adolf Grünbaum, PhD, Andrew Mellon Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburg, primary research professor of History & Philosophy of Science, research professor of Psychiatry, chairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science, former president of the International Union for History & Philosophy of Science and author of Philosophical Problems of Space & Time (2nd ed.), The Foundations of Psychoanalysis: A Philosophical Critique, “The Pseudo-Problem of Creation in Physical Cosmology,” “The Poverty of Theistic Morality,” and “The Poverty of Theistic Cosmology”
For more than three decades, philosopher Paul Kurtz has been a strong advocate of skepticism, not only as a philosophical position, but also as a fulfilling way of life. Contrary to the view that skepticism is merely a negative, nay saying, or debunking stance toward commonly held beliefs, skepticism as defined by Kurtz emerges reborn as “skeptical inquiry”—a decidedly positive philosophy ready and able to change the world.
In this definitive collection, editor John R. Shook has gathered together seventeen of Paul Kurtz’s most penetrating and insightful writings. Altogether these essays build an affirmative case for what can be known based on sound common sense, reason, and scientific method. And as each essay cogently and convincingly explains, so much can be known, from the natural world around us to the moral responsibilities among us.
The work is organized in four topical sections. In the first, “Reasons to Be Skeptical,” Kurtz presents compelling reasons why the methods of inquiry used by the sciences deserve respect. In short, science provides reliable knowledge, without which humanity would never have emerged from the age of myth and widespread ignorance. In the second section, “Skepticism and the Non-Natural,” Kurtz shows how skeptical inquiry can be fruitfully used to critique both paranormal claims and religious worldviews. He also investigates whether science and religion can be compatible. In the third section, “Skepticism in the Human World,” he considers how skeptical inquiry can be applied to politics, ethics, and pursuit of the good life. Realizing the essential connections between scientific knowledge, technological power, and social progress, Kurtz has understood, as few other philosophers ever have, how the methods of intelligence can be applied to all areas of human endeavor.
The volume concludes with Kurtz’s authoritative reflections on the skeptical movement that he founded and has led. As he never tires of explaining, the forces of blind faith and stubborn unreason still fight for control of the mind, so the skeptic can never rest. If there is a brighter future for humanity, a future in which every person enjoys a realistic opportunity for the pursuit of excellence, Kurtz’s exuberant skepticism can show us the way.
Binding: Paperback250 pages
Shipping Weight: 1lbs
Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), professor emeritus of philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was the author or editor of more than fifty books, including The Transcendental Temptation, The Courage to Become, and Embracing the Power of Humanism, plus nine hundred articles and reviews. He was the founder and chairman of the Institute for Science and Human Values and Prometheus Books. He was also the founder and chairman emeritus of the Center for Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He appeared on many major television and radio talk shows and lectured at universities worldwide.
John R. Shook is the author of The Essential William James, Dewey's Empirical Theory of Knowledge and Reality, and Pragmatism: An Annotated Bibliography, 1898-1940. He is also the editor of Exuberant Skepticism by Paul Kurtz; Pragmatic Naturalism and Realism; Dewey's Enduring Impact: Essays on America's Philosopher (with Paul Kurtz); The Future of Naturalism (with Paul Kurtz); and F. C. S. Schiller on Pragmatism and Humanism: Selected Writings, 1891–1939 (with Hugh McDonald), among other works. He is the director of education and a senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry and a research associate in philosophy at the University at Buffalo.