Critical Humanism: A Manifesto for the 21st Century // Ken Plummer
2021, Polity, 224 pages,
We live in a mutilated world and our humanity seems irrevocably damaged. Many critics suggest we have reached the end of humanity. In this challenging book, Ken Plummer suggests that such claims may be premature; instead, what we need is a new transformative understanding of humanity.
Critical Humanism critically reflects upon and reimagines humanism for the twenty-first century. What is now required is a fresh, wide-ranging imaginary of an open, worldly, plural and caring humanity. It needs to take a critical stance towards older, often divisive ideas of what it means to be human, while reconnecting to a wider understanding of the rich diversity of life in the pluriverse.
In an age of post- and transhumanist turns, Plummer provides a personal, political and passionate call for thinkers, researchers and activists to not turn their backs on humanism. We need instead to create a vital new political imaginary of being human in a connected planet. We simply cannot afford to be anti-human or posthuman. Restoring our belief in humanity has never been more important for edging towards a better world for all.
"[R]efreshing: [Plummer’s] vision of critical humanism is aspirational and ambitious, yet it strives to sustain humility based on historical experiences."
"This book is an extraordinarily brave and enormously comprehensive attempt to re-energize an interest in the battered concept of humanism, fully realizing its author’s intention to provide 'a vision of something better'."
Laurie Taylor, University of York, and presenter of Thinking Allowed, BBC Radio Four
"Plummer engages with an extraordinary range of different literatures and a lifetime of reflection to consider what it will take to be truly human in the twenty-first century. We should grapple seriously with his impassioned and challenging arguments."
Rob Stones, Western Sydney University
"Ken Plummer’s mission has been to expand the range and depth of decencies; here he seeks larger principles on which to ground mutual regard. This is a fundamental study – rooted in conscience, sociological learning and intimate generosity. Critical Humanism stirs the mind."
Harvey Molotch, New York University, and University of California, Santa Barbara
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a book of maps or charts: a road atlas
a book of illustrations or diagrams on any subject
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Architecture a stone carving of a male figure, used as a column to support the entablature of a Greek or Greek-style building.