Pick one of the Humanist thinkers who did not get a chapter of their own in the textbook and write a brief summary of their theoretical approach and work. Do not include any more than one small...

Pick one of the Humanist thinkers who did not get a chapter of their own in the textbook and write a brief summary of their theoretical approach and work. Do not include any more than one small paragraph of biographical information. You may not choose Rogers or Maslow, but Fromm, May, or Frankl would be good choice. It should focus upon the theoretical contributions made by the person.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Given the nature of the prompt, you are probably going to have to do more of the heavy lifting on this one.  You will have to make the decision as to which thinker to choose and how to frame it in the context of the textbook's treatment of Humanistic thinkers.  I think that there is much there from which to choose, but you are going to have to make the final choice yourself.

I think that Erich Fromm is one of the more interesting Humanist thinkers who might not get the established sense of respect that he merits.  It might be for this reason that he did not have a chapter in the text.  Erich Fromm is an interesting Humanist thinker whose theoretical approach and work sought to merge the ideas of Marx and Freud.  Fromm differs from both in that he zealously embraces the Humanist idea of human action and agency amidst external and structural realities that help to form human consciousness.  One of his contributions is to critique the presence of a dogmatic notion of the good.  Fromm is one of the most interesting thinkers in the landscape because he stresses that binary dualism and the dogma that it is associated with it might not be the most effective means of helping individuals self-actualize. Some of Fromm's most insightful analysis is when he is critiquing Freud's reductive tendencies.  Fromm suggests that reducing the complex and intricate nature of human beings to dogmatic notions of the good robs them of much in the way of progressive self-actualization.  In Escape From Freedom, Fromm makes the argument that individuals must struggle to find their own voice against reductive and authoritarian notions of the good. This emphasis on agency and human action even in the midst of intense external reality helps to make him a rather interesting figure in Humanist philosophy.  The emphasis on a positive form of freedom in which human beings can actively define themselves and the world in which they live is one of the Humanist elements in Fromm's work.  

I think that another contribution that Fromm makes to the discourse is to humanize Marx and materialize Freud.  In this light, Fromm's contribution to develop a theory of consciousness that takes Freudian psychological insight and applies a Marxist dimension of materialism to it is profound.  Fromm is able to take two Modernist thinkers and fuse elements of both together.  In the same way, Fromm is able to humanize Marx and expand his philosophy into more than just dialectical materialism.  In adding a psychological element into Marx, Freud has expanded the intellectual capacity of both thinkers. This is where Fromm might be seen as a very insightful thinker, deserving of his own section in a textbook.

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