Renaissance humanists thought of human beings as suspended between God and the lower animals, says philosophy professor Jeff Noonan, with the power to choose what type of life to lead.
“If human beings can either emulate a divine model, by cultivating their rationality, or lead the lives of animals by giving themselves over to sensuous pleasures, but both are equally human, then it follows that we should be able to distinguish a humanism from above and a humanism from below,” Dr. Noonan argues.
He will explore the idea in a free public discussion, entitled “Notes towards a Humanism from Below,” at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, in room 1163, Chrysler Hall North.
Noonan says he hopes the talk will be the beginning of a new project that will explore the history, content, and philosophical and political potential of a conception of the human good from its embodied, mortal, and sensuous nature.
The event is part of the Philosophy Dry Run series.
“Instead of defending conclusions, I want to explore ideas with you and see where they might lead,” he says.