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The 7 types of humanism and their characteristics

The 7 types of humanism and their characteristics

May 21, 2022

Humanism is a philosophical current that has had a great influence on psychology, politics and the social sciences in general. But nevertheless, it does not exist as something homogeneous, but there are different types of humanism .

Each of these classes of humanism expresses, in its own way, the fundamental idea of ​​this way of thinking: that the lives of all human beings matter and that, by default, we must respect the lives of others without pretending to alter them unjustifiably or without considering his opinion. Let's see how they do it.

What is humanism?

Humanism is a way of thinking that emphasizes the value of the subjective and private experiences of each . Thus, for example, Humanistic Psychology takes many influences from phenomenology (the sensations and private and conscious experiences of each person are valuable and unique) and existentialism (each person constructs a vital narrative that gives meaning to their existence).


In practice, in psychology, humanism has been noted in therapeutic proposals such as Gestalt Therapy by Fritz Perls and the contributions of psychologists such as Abraham Maslow or Carl Rogers. This group of thinkers defended the idea of ​​not imposing a rigid system of intervention on people, but adapting to each case, letting the person take charge of the sessions.

  • Related article: "Maslow's pyramid: the hierarchy of human needs"

The main types of humanism

These are the fundamental characteristics of the different types of humanism. To fully understand them, however, we must bear in mind that each of them has emerged in a different historical context , and can not be understood without understanding the degree of technological, philosophical and ethical development that existed at the time of its appearance.


1. Theocentric humanism

This type of humanism bases all its morality on the existence of a god determined that reveals what is good and what is bad and, therefore, how human beings should be treated.

2. Historical humanism

This was a type of humanism born in Florence at the end of the Middle Ages. In him, the arts and the intellectual activity was focusing little by little on the human, ceasing to consider that the divine was the center of everything.

3. Anthropocentric humanism

This type of humanism was what began to characterize Western societies from the Renaissance and, especially, from the time of the Enlightenment.

Here, the figure of God ceases to be the center of the moral system, and the human being receives all the protagonism . So much attention is given to the code of conduct written in sacred texts and new forms of humanistic ethics are formulated.


In the same way, the idea that one human being can control another is rejected; What can be controlled and subdued is nature, seen as a set of resources that can be used for the welfare of the species.

4. Empirical humanism

This is one of the types of humanisms that try to differentiate themselves from the rest because they are more practical and applied. While other forms of this current of thought are based more on abstract ideas, such as the need not to dominate other human beings, this focuses on the rejection or acceptance of certain actions or specific attitudes .

For example, empirical humanism rejects violence, declares a total freedom of expression and beliefs, and emphasizes the need to highlight the ways of living minority life.

5. Existentialist humanism

This form of humanism emphasizes the importance of rejecting the material and intellectual totalitarianisms that force people to be recruited for a specific cause, preventing them from thinking beyond it.

For existentialist philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre, it is the individual who must construct a meaning for his own life without others interfering in this system of ideas and symbols.

6. Marxist humanism

Very much based on the philosophy of the philosopher Karl Marx, this type of humanism that emerged from World II World emphasizes the idea that the human being is a social being whose identity only emerges from the interaction with others , allowed thanks to the bonds of solidarity present in well-united and united societies.

This philosophy rejects the individualism of many of the other types of humanism, and points out that the welfare of the individual depends on collective phenomena in which everyone must participate so as not to be manipulated.

7. Universalist humanism

It is a way of thinking very influenced by postmodern philosophy . It points out the need to create inclusive societies for all people, respect the different cultures that are present in society and not be guided only by rigid codes of conduct, but quite the opposite: appreciate spontaneity and creativity in all aspects of life .


A Core Definition Of Humanism - A Humanist Response (May 2022).


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