Understanding Humanism: new textbook from Routledge out today

29 September, 2022

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A breakthrough new book for undergraduate students, Understanding Humanism, is out today. It is written by Humanists UK’s Chief Executive Andrew Copson, its Director of Understanding Humanism Luke Donnellan, and humanist philosopher Richard Norman.

Understanding Humanism is an easy-to-read and informative overview of the beliefs, practices, and values of humanism as a non-religious worldview.

By examining key discussions about humanism and inviting readers to engage with arguments, Understanding Humanism serves as the ideal textbook for those approaching the topic of humanism for the first time. Intended primarily for education audiences, offering libraries and classrooms a thorough modern account of humanism. It covers both humanism as a broad historical tradition of thought as well as the reality and personal experience of living as a humanist today.

As well as drawing on the collective expertise of its authors, the book benefits from stories unearthed as part of Humanists UK’s Humanist Heritage project.

Though targeted mainly at undergraduates, the textbook will also be of interest to members of the wider public interested in deepening their understanding of the humanist philosophy and the lives of humanists today.

Authors Andrew Copson, Luke Donnellan, and Richard Norman commented:

‘We hope that this new resource will support students’ learning about humanism as a non-religious worldview. It should be useful for anyone studying religious studies or philosophy at undergraduate level, and for anyone teaching about humanism in schools. We also hope it will be of interest to members of the wider public interested in deepening their understanding of humanist philosophy and the lives of humanists today.’

The book can be purchased directly from Routledge and is also available to buy from Blackwells, Amazon, WHSmith, and all good bookshops, with both paperback and hardback available at £32.99 and £120.00 RRP. You can also contact your local librarian with details of the book and ask them to order a copy for your library.

Universities can request an inspection copy on the Routledge website.

Author royalties from the book go towards supporting the work of Humanists UK.

About the authors:

Andrew Copson is the Chief Executive of Humanists UK and President of Humanists International. He is the author of the Sunday Times bestseller, The Little Book of Humanism (2020), written with Vice President of Humanists UK, Alice Roberts, with whom he also wrote The Little Book of Humanist Weddings (2021). With AC Grayling, he edited the Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Humanism (2015) and Secularism: A Very Short Introduction (2019).

Luke Donnellan is the Director of Understanding Humanism at Humanists UK, where he manages their programme of teacher training and education resources. He has worked as a primary school teacher and as a TV producer of video resources for teachers and students. He has written two online courses on humanism: Introducing humanism and Humanist lives.

Richard Norman is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kent, patron of Humanists UK, and an expert on humanism. His books include The Moral Philosophers (1983) Free and Equal (1987) Ethics, Killing and War (1995) On Humanism (2004, 2012) and Religion and Atheism.


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at press@humanists.uk or phone 020 7324 3072 or 020 3675 0959.

Understanding Humanism follows The Little Book of Humanism, written by Vice President of Humanists UK Alice Roberts and Chief Executive Andrew Copson in 2020.  The book was published in 2020 and quickly topped the book sales charts to become a Sunday Times bestseller.

For more on Humanists UK affiliated and recommended books, please visit our website.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.