Understanding Humanism

Humanist Ethics

How do humanists decide what it means to be good and how do they think we can best answer moral questions?

Humanists believe that the origins of our moral capacities lie inside human beings and our evolution as social animals. They believe that, when deciding how to act, we should use reason and empathy, considering the consequences of our actions and the likely impact on other people and animals.

5+

Overviews
Age 5+
Humanist ethics

Presentations
Age 5+
Humanist ethics

Slides to support the information sheets and activities

Activities
Age 5+
Being good

The Fox and the Stork

Aesop’s fable about the Golden Rule

Most People

A story about how most of us are good most of the time

Moral dilemmas

External Resources
Age 5+
The Fox and The Stork

A short animated video of the Aesop’s Fable, exploring the Golden Rule.

Most People

A short film of Michael Leannah’s picture book, exploring the question of whether being good comes naturally to us.

7+

Overviews
Age 7+
Humanist ethics

Presentations
Age 7+
Humanist ethics

Slides to support the information sheets and activities

Information
Age 7+
Being good

What is a humanist approach to being good?

Individual humanists answer the question

The Golden Rule

Activities
Age 7+
Golden Rule activities

The Golden Rule around the world

Applying the Golden Rule

The sweet shop

Explore different reasons to be good

Moral dilemmas

External Resources
Age 7+
The life you can save

A short animation presenting how humanist philosopher Peter Singer uses empathy, reason, and evidence to try to reduce suffering around the world.

Assessments
Age 7+
Humanist ethics: multiple choice questions

Humanist ethics: fill in the blanks

11+

Overviews
Age 11+
Humanist ethics

Presentations
Age 11+
Humanist ethics

Slides to support the information sheets and activities

Information
Age 11+
Being good

What is a humanist approach to being good?

Individual humanists answer the question

The evolution of morality

Are atheists immoral?

Activities
Age 11+
Moral dilemmas

Films
Age 11+
What makes something right or wrong?

Stephen Fry explains how humanists make decisions about how to act.

How can we know what is right and wrong?

Watch a number of humanists answering the question

Moral standards

Philosopher AC Grayling describes where we might begin to find answers about how we should behave towards others.

External Resources
Age 11+
The life you can save

A short animation presenting how humanist philosopher Peter Singer uses empathy, reason, and evidence to try to reduce suffering around the world.

Assessments
Age 11+
Humanist ethics: multiple choice questions

Humanist ethics: fill in the blanks

Humanist ethics: humanist responses

How might a humanist respond?

14+

Information
Age 14+
Being good

What is a humanist approach to being good?

Individual humanists answer the question

The evolution of morality

Are atheists immoral?

Activities
Age 14+
Moral dilemmas

Films
Age 14+
What makes something right or wrong?

Stephen Fry explains how humanists make decisions about how to act.

How can we know what is right and wrong?

Watch a number of humanists answering the question

Moral relativism

Philosopher Stephen Law explains moral relativism and some of the problems with it.

Moral standards

Philosopher AC Grayling describes where we might begin to find answers about how we should behave towards others.

The origins of morality

Richard Norman explains what it is about our nature that gives rise to moral questions.

External Resources
Age 14+
The life you can save

A short animation presenting how humanist philosopher Peter Singer uses empathy, reason, and evidence to try to reduce suffering around the world.

Right & Wrong: The life you can save

The life you can saveAn animation from the BBC on humanist philosopher Peter Singer and our obligations to reduce suffering

16+

Films
Age 16+
What makes something right or wrong?

Stephen Fry explains how humanists make decisions about how to act.

How can we know what is right and wrong?

Watch a number of humanists answering the question

Moral relativism

Philosopher Stephen Law explains moral relativism and some of the problems with it.

Moral standards

Philosopher AC Grayling describes where we might begin to find answers about how we should behave towards others.

The origins of morality

Richard Norman explains what it is about our nature that gives rise to moral questions.

Other Resources
Age 16+
Being Good

E-book: A guide to the humanist approach to ethics

External Resources
Age 16+
The life you can save

A short animation presenting how humanist philosopher Peter Singer uses empathy, reason, and evidence to try to reduce suffering around the world.

Right & Wrong: The life you can save

The life you can saveAn animation from the BBC on humanist philosopher Peter Singer and our obligations to reduce suffering

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Understanding Humanism

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