Jyl Gentzler is the Humanist Advisor at Amherst College. (She is also the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Writing Center, and Director of the Teaching and Learning Collaborative)
According to the Humanist Manifesto of the American Humanist Association (AHA), Humanism “is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity. The life stance of Humanism— guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience— encourages us to live life well and fully.” Just recently, the AHA has committed itself explicitly to working for social justice. As they explain, "As an ethical worldview based on rationality and scientific reasoning, humanism rejects the divisive superstitions and stereotypes that have long marginalized certain groups of people such as women, people of color and LGBTQ individuals, and denied them their full humanity.
Many of us who do not identify with any particular religious tradition, because we are not theists, nonetheless value the sort of social fellowship and individual moral support and growth that religious communities often encourage. It is my goal as Humanist Advisor to provide all members of the Amherst Community opportunities to discuss important issues and share our individual perspectives in a safe environment conducive to measured, rational, and compassionate discourse.
As do the other members of the RSL staff, I offer confidential one-on-one counseling. I specialize in philosophical counseling, a type of counseling whose history goes back to Socrates. Declaring that an unexamined life is not worth living, Socrates believed that the primary value of philosophy is help us to discover how to live a good life, a discovery that is facilitated in dialogue with others.
Position: Humanist Advisor
Office Hours: By Appointment (Click here to schedule)
Contact Information: Amherst College, Box 2253, Amherst, MA 01002-5000; (413) 542-5806 (office); Philosophy Department, Writing Center , Teaching and Learning Collaborative; email: Jyl Gentzler