The term eupraxsophy (originally eupraxophy) is based on the Greek words for “good,” “practice,” and “wisdom.” It was coined by prominent secular humanist Paul Kurtz to refer to a philosophy or life-stance that is exuberant yet not based on a transcendent or supernatural belief-system. Examples would include Confucianism, some forms of Buddhism, and Secular Humanism.
A eupraxsophy is a life that is ethical, moral, purposeful, and fulfilling. Instead of relying on faith, mysticism, or revelation to lead a meaningful and productive life, a “eupraxsophite” will apply reason, logic, empiricism and science toward that end. Freethinking is vital to understanding (and ultimately bettering) ourselves and the world around us. So it’s more than just a nonreligious worldview. Rather than merely emphasize an absence of faith, as atheism or agnosticism do, a eupraxsophy develops something meaningful in its place.
This isn’t to say that such an approach is exclusive to secularists. Plenty of religious people, of varying levels of piety, make similar efforts (even if they don’t realize it). The difference is that secular humanists like me – having eschewed faith traditions that we’ve found to be flawed, unproven, or otherwise inadequate – need to develop our own guiding force in life. Being irreligious doesn’t mean that we’re nihilistic, cynical, or self-interested, but that we’re grounding our way of life in a naturalistic context.
In fact, eupraxsophies, like religions, can still maintain a cosmic outlook despite the lack of supernatural elements. I still marvel at the beauty and scope of the natural world, from the ecosystems of my community to the expansive universe beyond. I still feel driven to live an exuberant life and to ensure that others can as well. My capacity for empathy and reflection informs my ethical and moral obligations. There is as much meaning in my life as in the life of any religious person.
So if your life is driven by God or another supernatural force, that’s fine. But keep in mind that I have my own life stance that suits me just fine, and that doesn’t necessitate me believing the same things you do in order to be a good person. I’d be more than happy to exchange thoughts on the matter, giving that a big part of being eupraxsophic is constant contemplation – I wouldn’t be a good rationalist if I didn’t leave myself open to new ideas and opinions. So let’s start a dialogue.