(Sample Material) UPSC Mains Philosophy (Optional) Study Kit "Socio Political Philosophy (Corresponding Theory)"

Sample Material of UPSC Mains Philosophy (Optional) Study Kit

Topic: Socio Political Philosophy (Corresponding Theory)

Metaphysics of Humanism

Metaphysics of Humanism is based on their epistemology. Humanism believes in material. Regarding the origin of consciousness, it support the accidentalism. It rejects notions of god and other supra religious entities.

Regarding creation of this world, they support scientific theory of evolution.

Ethics of Humanism

Humanism supports morality but it rejects religious morality and believes in secular morality. Therefore they support moral values of secularism, gender and racial equality.

For most of them, criteria of morality is welfare of humanity and its source is reason.

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Phases of Humanism

Greek Humanism was the first phase of humanism. Mains supporters – Protagorus, Thales, Protagorus declared that man is the measure of everything (Mtiomomensuras). They considered perception as a valid means of knowledge.

Greek humanism denied the existence of extra worldly reality like god.

In medieval Europe, philosophical thinking was god-centred, but renaissance made it human – centred Main supporter – Martin Luther, Pico Irasmus Renaissance humanism gave importance to human being but it is different from other forms of humanism because it did not rejected existence of god. They rejected Pope and its authority but supported Christ.

Therefore, it is also said that they rejected Christology but favoured christo centrism.

Renaissance humanism supported positivist epistemology, they also supported human rationality and scientific knowledge.

According to some critics, renaissance humanism which is the important part of Christian humanism is self-contradictory.

Christian humanism or renaissance humanism gives centrality to human beings but it also accepted the existence of god, this makes a contradict views. Because-

1) if god exists then human beings are not at centre of universe
2) Human beings will be dependent on god for liberation.
3) Human rationality and experience will be treated secondary to religious scripture.
4) Instead of secular morality, religious morality will be accepted.

Christian Humanism

In Christianity, human beings are considered to be most important creatures of god. God has created this universe for the enjoyment and consumption of human beings.

Modern Humanism

Main supporter – John Dewey, Nehru, Marx, Sarte, M.N. Roy

Modern humanism thinkers believes in positivist epistemology.

It supports materialism as a metaphysics.

It believes in secular morality.

John Dewey

He formulated naturalist humanism which is based on naturalistic religions. According to naturalistic religion of John Dewey, nature is the ultimate reality therefore be rejects notion of theistic religion like Islam, Christianity.

There are 3 important components of –

1) Nature is more important than god.
2) Experience and rationality are more important than faith.
3) Action is more important than prayer.

Therefore, naturalist humanism rejects omnipotency of god and considers human being as more important. Hence, we should work for humanity.

T. Nehru

Nehru humanism is called Scientific humanism. Accordingly, human beings are more important than other supra natural entities like gods. He also supported scientific knowledge and rationality. Nehru’s scientific humanism in field of society supported pluralism, tolerance and respect for views of others. International sphere, Nehru’s scientific humanism got the expression in form of peaceful co-existence or internationalism.

In practice it could be seen in the form of Non-alignment, Panchsheel and respect for united nations. In the field of politics, Nehru supported democratic values and in the field of economic favoured ‘Planned development economy and mixed economy.’

Humanism of M.N. Roy is called New humanism or Radical humanism.

Roy described his humanism as a new humanism because he claimed that his humanism was based on latest development in field of science.

Main Tenets

1) New humanism gives central position to human beings. It rejects all extra worldly reality like god. Man is the centre of this universe and human beings are ultimate reality. Therefore Roy believed that we should study sun, moon and other entitles scientifically instead of worshipping them religiously.

2) Roy’s humanism gives too much important significance to rationality and opposes faith, unlike religious person he explained rationality on the basis of biological scientific perspective. According to Roy, in the course of evolution, rationality also evolve & not a divine gift.

3) According to Roy, all laws moral and customs should be judged on basis of rationality then only accept it.

4) New humanism also gives importance to morality but it supports secular morality instead of religious morality Roy has explained morality on the basis of human rationality. When human rationality is used to describe the relationship between individual to individual and between individual to society. Then principles of morality emerge therefore god or religious texts are not morality. In the words of Roy – “I am moral not because I want to please god but because I want to be moral.”

Therefore, Roy supported modern ethical values such as gender equality racial equality and welfare of humanity as a whole.

5) New humanism supports materialism. Material world is the real world but Roy’s materialism is different from materialism of Marx.
According to Roy, consciousness originates from matter but after its origin it becomes independent of matter therefore he rejected economic determinism of Marx and gave importance to idea also.

6) New humanism also supports freedom as an important ideal according to Aurbindo Ghosh ‘Freedom is a divine gift but Roy explained freedom on the basis of biology and social development’ According to Roy – ‘Freedom also based on rationality. The ideal of freedom involves when we struggle against social evil and discretionary authority.’

7) New humanism also supports scientific and technological development.

8) New humanism support cosmo-politonism instead of internationalism. According to Roy, national barrier should be removed and whole humanity should be treated as one unit.


1) Roy claims that he has formulated new humanism but there is nothing new in it.
2) New humanism like other forms of humanism also supports materialism which ultimately results in consumerism.
3) Roy’s new humanism is also based on idea of anthropocentrism, but today this view is considered largely responsible for environmental destruction.
4) New humanism rejects god, but in absence of god, some very important questions related to human existence can not be answered.


He has formulated most systematic theory of humanism with emphasis on values like freedom.

Criticism of Marxism

In the early phase of his life, M.N. Roy was hardcore Marxist (1917-30). As a marxist he played leading role in the formation of communist party of Mexico which was first Marxist party outside Russia. He also worked with Lenin but later on he became dissatisfied from with Marxicism and criticized most of ideas of Marx.

1) He criticized dialectical materialism because, dialectical method can successfully work in field of ideas but to seu it in the field of matter is wrong.

2) Roy also criticized economic determinism because economic determinism ignores role of accidental factor and leadership.

3) Class struggle forms the core of Marxism but Roy criticized class-struggle also. In his radical humanism he supports class harmony. Roy also criticized Marx for ignoring role of middle which according to M.N. Roy is the most important class of society.

4) He also criticized surplus value Marx wrongly formulates that only labour creates value, capitalist also plays important rule in value creation Roy also believe no system can function without taking or snatching away some amount of labour, surplus value because money is needed for technological upgradation, infrastruction.

5) According to M.N. Roy, dictatorship of proletariat became dictatorship over proletariat.

6) Roy also rejected notion of revolution according to Roy, ruler could be forced by masses collectively to work for upliftment of whole society.

7) Marx and M.N. Roy both rejects religion but according to M.N. Roy in due course of time Marxism became so dogmatic that it itself became a religion for its follower and Marx became prophet of this religion.

Though Marx criticized many of ideas of Marx but respected Marx for being a great humanist and lover of freedom.


Most of criticism offered by M.N. Roy are mere repetition there is no originality.

German philosopher Edward had revised many of Marxist ideas before M.N. Roy. Therefore sometimes M.N. Roy also called Indian Bernstein. He criticized Marxism and as a substitute Marxism formulated radical humanism but his radical humanism itself has many shortcomings like consumerism.

Therefore it never become popular and could not become a substitute for Marxism.

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