Paul Kurtz

From Academic Kids

Paul Kurtz (born February 12, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey) is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University at Buffalo (SUNY), but is best known for prominent role in the American skeptical community.

He is founder and chairman of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), the Council for Secular Humanism, the Center for Inquiry and Prometheus Books. He was editor-in-chief of Free Inquiry Magazine, the official organ of the Council for Secular Humanism. He was Co-President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Humanist Laureate and President of the International Academy of Humanism. As a member of the American Humanist Association, he contributed to the writing of Humanist Manifesto II. The asteroid (6629) Kurtz was named in his honor.

Kurtz received his bachelor's degree from New York University, and the MA and PhD degrees from from Columbia University. Kurtz was left-wing in his youth, but has said that serving in the US Army in WWII taught him the dangers of ideology. He saw the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps after they were liberated, and became disillusioned with Communism when he encountered Russian slave laborers who had been taken to Germany by force but refused to return to the Soviet Union at the end of the war.

Kurtz is the publisher of over 650 articles or reviews and has authored and edited over 40 books.

Kurtz believes that the nonreligious members of the community should take a positive view on life. Religious skepticism, according to Paul Kurtz, is only one aspect of the secular humanistic outlook. The term "eupraxophy" was coined by Kurtz as a nonreligious philosophy that embraces ethical, exhuberant, and rational living to promote the betterment of the human condition.

A former co-president of International Humanist and Ethical Union, Kurtz became disillusioned with its policies and leadership. His dream project, the Center for Inquiry International.

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