There would seem to be a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding in the public mind about the life stance of modern humanism and its philosophical underpinnings. As a committed humanist Pat Duffy Hutcheon has made many invaluable contributions to the clarification of the nature and origin of evolutionary naturalism as a necessary component of modern humanism. This collection of topical essays is the most recent addition to her ongoing pursuit, following her analysis of cultural development in Building Character and Culture (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1999) and her earlier seminal work tracing the evolution of the naturalistic basis of social-scientific thought in Leaving the Cave (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1996). This, her newest book presents the ideas in the context of their time, of some of the most prominent thinkers who have, in one way or another, shaped the evolving philosophy of humanism over the centuries. It is a much needed and most welcome resource for any thoughtful person who wants to better appreciate the naturalistic view of human existence rather than the supernatural or mystical approaches that so regrettably dominate the current scene.
Pat Duffy Hutcheon, now retired, taught sociology at the Universities of Regina and British Columbia. She is also the author of A Sociology of Canadian Education, Building Character and Culture and The Road to Reason: Landmarks in the Evolution of Humanist Thought. Recently Pat Duffy Hutcheon was named 'Canadian Humanist of the Year 2000'.