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
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
For most of them, criteria of morality is welfare of humanity and its source
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
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
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.
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
4) Instead of secular morality, religious morality will be accepted.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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