Advisory Board Memorial

Dr. Paul Kurtz

Paul Kurtz, Ph.D., FAAAS is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is founder and chairman of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSICOP) which publishes the Skeptical Inquirer, and is founder and chairman of the Council for Secular Humanism, the Center for Inquiry, and Prometheus Books.
 
He has had authored or edited over forty books and over 800 articles. They include What Is Secular Humanism?, Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?, Affirmations: Joyful And Creative Exuberance, Science and Ethics: Can Science Help Us Make Wise Moral Judgments?, Living Without Religion: Eupraxsophy, The Courage to Become: The Virtues of Humanism, The Transcendental Temptation: A Critique of Religion and the Paranormal, Forbidden Fruit: The Ethics of Humanism, and Humanist Manifesto 2000: A Call for New Planetary Humanism.
 
Paul is editor in chief of Free Inquiry magazine, a publication of the Council for Secular Humanism. He was co-president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Humanist Laureate and president of the International Academy of Humanism. As a member of the American Humanist Association, he contributed to the writing of Humanist Manifesto II. The asteroid (6629) Kurtz was named in his honor.
 
He believes that the nonreligious members of the community should take a positive view on life. Religious skepticism is only one aspect of the secular humanistic outlook. He coined the term eupraxsophy to refer to philosophies or lifestances such as secular humanism and Confucianism that do not rely on belief in the transcendent or supernatural. A eupraxsophy is a nonreligious lifestance or worldview emphasizing the importance of living an ethical and exuberant life, and relying on rational methods such as logic, observation and science (rather than faith, mysticism or revelation) toward that end. The word is based on the Greek words for “good practice and wisdom”. Eupraxsophies, like religions, are cosmic in their outlook, but eschew the supernatural component of religion, avoiding the “transcendental temptation”.
 
Paul earned his BA from New York University in 1948, then went to Columbia University, where he earned his MA in 1949 and his PhD in philosophy in 1952. The title of his dissertation was “The Problems of Value Theory”. From 1952 to 1959, he taught at Trinity College in Connecticut. He then was a professor of philosophy at Union College in New York State from 1961 to 1965, and during that time he also was a visiting lecturer at the New School for Social Research. In 1965 he became professor of philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and taught there until retiring in 1991.
 
Watch What is Secular Humanism?.