I proffer a success argument for classical logical consequence. I articulate in what sense that notion of consequence should be regarded as the privileged notion for metaphysical inquiry aimed at uncovering the fundamental nature of the world. Classical logic breeds necessitism. I use necessitism to produce problems for both ontological naturalism and atheism.
The so-called “New Atheism” is a relatively well-defined, very recent, still unfold- ing cultural phenomenon with import for public understanding of both science and philosophy. Arguably, the opening salvo of the New Atheists was The End of Faith by Sam Harris, published in 2004, followed in rapid succession by a number of other titles penned by Harris himself, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Victor Stenger, and Christopher Hitchens.
We raise various puzzles about the relationship between God and the meaning of life. These difficulties suggest that, even if we assume that God exists, and even if God’s existence would entail that our lives have meaning, God is not and could not be the source of the meaning of life. We conclude by discussing implications of our arguments: these claims can be used in a novel argument for atheism; these claims undermine an extant argument for God’s existence; and (...) they suggest that atheism is consistent with our lives having meaning. (shrink)
Although critics often argue that the new atheists are arrogant, dogmatic, closed-minded and so on, there is currently no philosophical analysis of this complaint - which I will call 'the vice charge' - and no assessment of whether it is merely a rhetorical aside or a substantive objection in its own right. This Chapter therefore uses the resources of virtue epistemology to articulate this ' vice charge' and to argue that critics are right to imply that new atheism is (...) intrinsically epistemically vicious, and it ends with some remarks about the rationality of allowing such intrinsically vicious doctrines to feature within public debate about important matters concerning science, religion, and politics. (shrink)
This paper consider three families of arguments for atheism. First, there are direct arguments for atheism: arguments that theism is meaningless, or incoherent, or logically inconsistent, or impossible, or inconsistent with known fact, of improbable given known fact, or morally repugnant, or the like. Second, there are indirect arguments for atheism: direct arguments for something that entails atheism. Third, there are comparative arguments for atheism: e.g., arguments for the view that (atheistic) naturalism is more theoretically (...) virtuous than theism. (shrink)
While the cognitive science of religion is well-trodden ground, atheism has been considerably less scrutinized. Recent psychological studies associate atheism with an intellectual virtue, inferentiality. Theism, on the other hand, is associated with an intellectual “vice”, intuitive thinking. While atheism is allied with the attendant claim that atheism is the result of careful rational assessment of the relevant evidence, theism is considered the result of a lack of reflection on the relevant evidence. Atheism, then, is (...) rational, but theism, then, is irrational. In this essay, we will assess the import of these studies and the attendant claims that these differences in thinking styles entail differences in rationality. (shrink)
Descartes argues that, apart from the existence of a veracious God, we can have no reason to believe that we possess reliable cognitive faculties, with the result that, if atheism is true, not even our seemingly most certain beliefs can count as knowledge for us. Since the atheist denies the existence of God, he or she will be precisely in this position. I argue that Descartes' argument is sound, and that atheism is therefore self-refuting.
People in many parts of the world link morality with God and see good ethical values as an important benefit of theistic belief. A recent survey showed that Americans, for example, distrust atheists more than any other group listed in the survey, this distrust stemming mainly from the conviction that only believers in God can be counted on to respect morality. I argue against this widespread tendency to see theism as the friend of morality. I argue that our most serious (...) moral obligations -- the foundations of what can be called “ordinary morality ” -- remain in place only if God doesn’t exist. In recent years, some atheists have reacted to society’s distrust of them by claiming that atheism accommodates ordinary morality just as well as theism does. The truth is even stronger: only atheism accommodates ordinary morality. Logically speaking, morality is not common ground between theists and atheists. Morality depends on atheism. (shrink)
Arguing for Atheism introduces a wide range of topics in the philosophy of religion and metaphysics. Robin Le Poidevin does not simply defend a denial of God's existence; he presents instead a way of intepreting religious discourse which allows us to make sense of the role of religion in our spiritual and moral lives. Ideal as a textbook for university courses in the philosophy of religion and metaphysics, Arguing for Atheism is also designed to be accessible, in its (...) style and its numerous explanations, to the general reader. (shrink)
This article explores atheist meaning-making by employing a multidimensional model of meaning operationalized by the Sources of Meaning and Meaning in Life Questionnaire . When compared to a representative sample of “religionists” and “nones” , atheists show lower degrees of meaningfulness, but they do not suffer from crises of meaning more frequently. However, subsequent cluster analysis reveals that heterogeneity within atheism has to be taken into account. Three types of atheists are identified. ‘Low-commitment’ atheists are characterised by generally low (...) commitment; they report very low meaningfulness and a high frequency of crises of meaning. ‘Broad-commitment’ atheists exhibit considerably higher levels of meaningfulness and rare crises of meaning. They evidence, in particular, high scores on the dimension of well-being and relatedness. The third type, primarily committed to “selfactualization,” exhibits moderate levels of meaningfulness, with crises of meaning being literally absent. Common to most atheists is a particular commitment to self-knowledge, freedom, knowledge, individualism, and comfort. In comparing male and female atheists, gendered patterns of commitment are discovered. (shrink)
Although Kant argues that morality is prior to and independent of religion, Kant nevertheless claims that religion of a certain sort (“moral theism”) follows from morality, and that atheism poses threats to morality. Kant criticizes atheism as morally problematic in four ways: atheism robs the atheist of springs for moral action, leads the atheist to moral despair, corrupts the atheist’s moral character, and has a pernicious influence on the atheist’s community. I argue that Kant is right to (...) say that moral theism can help support morality, and that (for some people), morality leads to religion. But I also argue that one may refrain from accepting the existence of God and still act from respect for the moral law, resist despair, cultivate and retain a virtuous character, and pose no moral threat to one’s community. Indeed, theism, even moral theism, raises moral risks of its own. This article includes discussions of different versions of the highest good, and of two main types of atheism (skeptical and dogmatic). (shrink)
Atheisms Today -- The God of Metaphysics -- The God of the Poets -- Difficult Atheism -- Beyond A/theism? Quentin Meillassoux -- The Politics of the Post-Theological I: Justifying the Political -- The Politics of the Post-Theological II: Justice -- General Conclusion: How to Follow an 'Atheism' That Never Was.
In recent years, a series of bestselling atheist manifestos by Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens has thrust the topic of the rationality of religion into the public discourse. Christian moderates of an intellectual bent and even some agnostics and atheists have taken umbrage and lashed back. In this paper I defend the New Atheists against three common charges: that their critiques of religion commit basic logical fallacies (such as straw man, false dichotomy, or hasty generalization), that their own (...)atheism is just as “faith-based” as the religious beliefs they criticize, and that their expressed disrespect for religious belief is immoral. (shrink)
The question of whether or not God exists is endlessly fascinating and profoundly important. Now two articulate spokesmen--one a Christian, the other an atheist--duel over God's existence in a lively and illuminating battle of ideas. In God?, William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong bring to the printed page two debates they held before live audiences, preserving all the wit, clarity, and immediacy of their public exchanges. With none of the opaque discourse of academic logicians and divinity-school theologians, the authors make (...) claims and comebacks that cut with precision. Their arguments are sharp and humorous, as each philosopher strikes quickly to the heart of his opponent's case. For example, Craig claims that we must believe in God to explain objective moral values, such as why rape is wrong. Sinnott-Armstrong responds that what makes rape wrong is the harm to victims of rape, so rape is immoral even if there is no God. From arguments about the nature of infinity and the Big Bang, to religious experience and divine action, to the resurrection of Jesus and the problem of evil, the authors treat us to a remarkable display of intelligence and insight--a truly thought-provoking exploration of a classic issue that remains relevant to contemporary life. (shrink)
Preprinted in God and the Problem of Evil(Blackwell 2001), ed. William Rowe. Many people deny that evil makes belief in atheism more reasonable for us than belief in theism. After all, they say, the grounds for belief in God are much better than the evidence for atheism, including the evidence provided by evil. We will not join their ranks on this occasion. Rather, we wish to consider the proposition that, setting aside grounds for belief in God and relying (...) only on the background knowledge shared in common by nontheists and theists, evil makes belief in atheism more reasonable for us than belief in theism. Our aim is to argue against this proposition. We recognize that in doing so, we face a formidable challenge. It’s one thing to say that evil presents a reason for atheism that is, ultimately, overridden by arguments for theism. It’s another to say that it doesn’t so much as provide us with a reason for atheism in the first place. In order to make this latter claim seem initially more plausible, consider the apparent design of the mammalian eye or the apparent fine-tuning of the universe to support life. These are often proposed as reasons to believe in theism. Critics commonly argue not merely that these supposed reasons for theism are overridden by arguments for atheism but rather that they aren’t good reasons for theism in the first place. Our parallel proposal with respect to evil and atheism is, initially at least, no less plausible than this proposal with respect to apparent design and theism. (shrink)
Prologue -- Introduction -- The virtuous atheist -- The oral and written public sphere -- Books and pamphlets -- Periodicals -- The philosophe response -- Institutional reactions in France -- The Christian Enlightenment? -- Beyond the Christian Enlightenment -- Appendices. D'Holbach's publications, 1752-1789 -- Responses in French to d'Holbach's publications, 1752-1789 -- The corpus of periodical press articles produced in reaction to d'Holbach's publications.
This paper addresses recent examples of militant atheism. It considers the theistic reply that describes atheism as deriving from a “God-shaped hole” in the human soul. The paper will argue that American pragmatism offers a middle path that avoids militant atheism without suffering from this problem. The paper describes this middle path and considers the problem that is seen in Rorty’s recent work: how the pragmatist can remain critical of religious fundamentalism without succumbing to a militant version (...) of atheism. The solution proposed is tolerant acceptance of religion along with melioristic criticism developed within shared norms of inquiry. (shrink)
Does St Thomas Aquinas have anything to teach us on the subject of atheism? We might doubt it, even if we share his basic outlook. The reason would be the very fact that in his day there were so few who did not share it. It was, as they say, an age of faith. The profession of some sort of religious belief, indeed monotheism, was virtually universal, not just in Europe but in practically all of what Europeans then knew (...) of the world. No doubt there were individual cases of "godlessness". The learned would also have known something about atheistic philosophies in pagan antiquity. But on the whole, the medievals seem to have had little incentive to take atheism very seriously. It hardly comes as a surprise to find that St Thomas's own writings contain no thematic treatment of it. Only in modernity does "serious" atheism seem to resurface. (shrink)
While there has been much work on cosmological arguments, novel objections will be presented against the modern day rendition of the Kalām cosmological argument as standardly articulated by William Lane Craig. The conclusion is reached that this cosmological argument and several of its variants do not lead us to believe that there is inevitably a supernatural cause to the universe. Moreover, a conditional argument for atheism will be presented in light of the Big Bang Theory.
William James wrote about varieties of religious experience (See http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/JamVari.html) but I don't know of anyone who has documented the varieties of atheism. Unlike James I don't here attempt to collect data about what atheists say and do, and how they came by their atheism. This is, instead, an analytical paper describing how various sorts of atheistic position can arise in opposition to various sorts of theistic position. Clarity about this could help to make debates about atheism (...) and theism more fruitful. -/- This document attempts to make clear that there are several forms of atheism, of varying ’strength’ in their opposition to theism, and that there are several types of theism to which each type of atheism can be opposed. This means that instead of atheism being just a single viewpoint it covers a multitude of cases, each definable by a type of theism and a type of objection to that form of theism. -/- The document is freely available online here: http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/projects/cogaff/misc/varieties-of-atheism.html. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal, Andrew Johnson seeks to defend the “New Atheism” against several objections. We provide a philosophical assessment of his defense of contemporary atheistic arguments that are said to amount to bifurcation fallacies. This point of discussion leads to our critical discussion of the presumption of atheism and the epistemic justification of atheism.
In the past decade, the cognitive science of religion has worked to find an evolutionary explanation for supernatural belief. The explanations are convincing, but have created the stereotype that atheism is unnatural. In a similar way studies linking religious belief and health have vilified atheism as unhealthy. But belief is too complex, health is too nuanced, and the data are too varied to draw such a generalization. Catherine Caldwell-Harris has developed a psychological profile to understand nonbelief as an (...) expected outcome of individual difference and therefore natural. In a similar manner I argue that we should study the relationship between belief and health through the lens of individual differences. This approach is especially promising given recent research which indicates personality fully accounts for the relationship with well-being previously attributed to belief. This approach has the added benefit of neutralizing the conversation by understanding atheism as the healthy expression of a natural personality. (shrink)
While Hume has often been held to have been an agnostic or atheist, several contemporary scholars have argued that Hume was a theist. These interpretations depend chiefly on several passages in which Hume allegedly confesses to theism. In this paper, I argue against this position by giving a threshold characterization of theism and using it to show that Hume does not confess. His most important confession does not cross this threshold and the ones that do are often expressive rather than (...) assertive. I then argue that Hume is best interpreted as an atheist. Instead of interpreting Hume as a proto-logical positivist and arguing on the basis of Hume’s theories of meaning and method, I show that textually he appears to align himself with atheism, that his arguments in the Dialogues on Natural Religion support atheism, and that this position is most consistent with Hume’s naturalism. But, I hold that his atheism is soft and therefore distinct from that of his peers like Baron d’Holbach—while Hume really does reject theism, he neither embraces a dogmatically materialist position nor takes up a purely polemical stance towards theism. I conclude by suggesting several ways in which Hume’s atheistic philosophy of religion is relevant to contemporary discussions. (shrink)
The dramatic change in the focus and overall project of French philosophy since World War I has become increasingly apparent, with one of the resultant developments being, as Geroulanos has identified, the emergence of “an atheism that is not humanist.” This article discusses parallels between the philosophical methodology of Gabriel Marcel and this new form of atheism. In so doing, it explores connections between Marcel and French philosophy’s more recent “turn to religion,” and uses these to demonstrate how (...) Marcel’s notion of disponibilité or “availability” operates with respect to Marcel’s conception of philosophy itself. (shrink)
Michel Onfray e André Comte-Sponville são os dois mais famosos representantes do ateísmo filosófico francês contemporâneo, que continua uma tradição iniciada no século XVIII de negação irreligiosa da noção monoteísta de Deus. Embora compartilhando várias ideias, como o naturalismo e, obviamente, a rejeição do monoteísmo, suas propostas têm diferenças importantes. Onfray imputa à religião a maioria dos males enfrentados pela humanidade, recusando-se a fazer qualquer concessão à tradição religiosa monoteísta, e propondo uma filosofia libertária de tipo hedonista e materialista. Comte-Sponville (...) vê aspectos positivos na religião no tocante à manutenção da unidade social e propõe uma espiritualidade mística ateia. O artigo faz uma breve apresentação de suas teses e formula críticas a ambas as propostas. Onfray está muito mais preocupado em convencer de uma proposta política do que em argumentar filosoficamente em favor de uma tese e Comte-Sponville não parece perceber as consequências auto-refutadoras do naturalismo, que também torna muito problemática a própria noção de moralidade. Palavras-chave: Michel Onfray; Comte-Sponville; ateísmo; neoateísmo; naturalismo.Michel Onfray and André Comte-Sponville are the most famous representatives of philosophical contemporary French atheism, which is a continuation of a tradition begun in the 18 th Century of irreligious denying of the monotheistic notion of God. Although sharing many ideas, like naturalism and, obviously, the rejection of the monotheistic conception of God, their proposals show important distinctions. Onfray blames on religion most of evils faced by humanity, refusing to make any concession to monotheism, and proposing a libertarian, hedonistic, materialistic philosophy. Comte-Sponville sees positive aspects in religion regarding the keeping of social unity, and puts forward an atheistic spirituality. The article makes a brief presentation of both theses and formulates criticisms to each of them. Onfray is much more concerned with convincing of a political proposal than with arguing in favour of his thesis philosophically, and Comte-Sponville does not seem to notice the self-defeating consequences of naturalism, which also makes very problematic the very notion of morality. Keywords: Michel Onfray; Comte-Sponville; atheism; neoatheism; naturalism. (shrink)
This paper explores the ways that Daniel C. Dennett’s bestselling 2006 book Breaking the Spell traffics in a set of distinctly American presumptions about the relationship between religion and science. In this Americanized atheism, religion is presumed to be a set of logically organized propositional beliefs–a misbegotten science in need of correction or elimination. I show that a convergent critique, drawing on both evolutionary theory and deconstruction, highlights the limitations of this approach. This convergence highlights the theme of accident (...) in both pluralist evolutionary biology and continental philosophy of religion. Thematizing accident opens up a new conversational space between a deconstructive approach to religion and postadaptationist evolutionary theory, with implications not only for a philosophical understanding of religion, but for new, postsecular atheisms. (shrink)
Early parental loss or trauma has been proposed by some as a significant factor in the adoption of atheist, non-theist, or irreligious worldviews. Relevant empirical data, however, have been limited, impressionistic, methodologically questionable, or limited to historically prominent figures. Survey data from the GSS and a study of affirmatively non-theistic and irreligious secular group affiliates in the U.S. do not provide evidence of disproportionately high rates of early parental loss among individuals who describe themselves as “atheist” or “anti-religious,” reject belief (...) in God, or express strong anger about religion. Loss of a parent or other loved may play a role in turns toward, as well as away from, God and religion for some. There is also evidence of comparatively high rates of parental loss in the lives of historically prominent figures, both religious and non-religious. Present results, however, do not support the hypothesis that early loss is a disproportionately frequent experience in the lives of atheistic or irreligious people. (shrink)
A revised and expanded version of a talk given by Richard Rorty on the occasion of the award of the Meister-Eckhart Sachbuch preis in December 2001, the article provides for its author an occasion for highlighting the latest developments regarding the condition of reli- gion, religiosity, belief, faith, and atheism. Starting from the common sense and rather numerous instances of those who are „religiously unmusical,“ Richard Rorty looks briefly at the meandering course of secularization, endors- ing the idea that (...) the conflict between science and religion is a struggle for supremacy between two institutions. Dealing mostly with Gianni Vattimo’s book Credere di credere, the American philosopher builds, in his unmistak- able style, rich in highlights and shades, a case for the question of the (post)modernist believer, but also an occasion to notice the entrenching line separating the religious from the non-religious person, as two opposing ways of interpreting transcendence: as dependence, for the religious person; as hope, for the non-religious one. (shrink)
É possível viver no mundo sem Deus? É possível viver no mundo sem religião? O autor deste texto apresenta uma resposta afirmativa a essas indagações, fundamentando-a com as ideias de Bertrand Russell. Para o autor, quando a noção de viver bem é fundamentada na verdade provisória da ciência e contrária à vida proposta pela religião, os fiéis e os representantes eclesiásticos utilizam argumentos emocionais e falaciosos para postular a verdade da fé. Ele parte do pressuposto de que entre religião e (...) ciência há conflitos, e não diálogos. Os conflitos se instauram na medida em que se percebe que a verdade humana é de processos, erros e acertos, não de certezas. A certeza da existência de Deus e do plano divino se justifica a partir de argumentos emocionais, que no mais das vezes levam a atos de crueldade e violência, como mostra a história. Para melhor compreender de que maneira os argumentos emocionais dos fiéis são legitimados, o autor recorre ao caso pessoal de Russell, quando o filósofo se viu impedido de lecionar na Faculdade de Filosofia Municipal de Nova York, nos anos 40 do século XX, devido a seu pensamento contrário à religião. Palavras-chave : Ateísmo; Religião; Ciência; Fundamentalismo religioso.Is it possible to live without God? Is it possible to live without religion in the midst of faithful? Starting from the premise of conflict, not dialogue, between religion and science, the author uses the ideas of Bertrand Russell to support affirmative answers to these questions. When the notion of the good life is based on the provisional truth of science, rather than on religion, the faithful and the ecclesiastic representatives postulate the truth of faith using emotional and fallacious arguments. The conflict between religion and science arises with the perception that human truth is based on processes, errors and successes, not on certainties. The conviction of the existence of God and of a divine plan is justified by emotional arguments, in general accompanied by acts of cruelty and violence, as we know from history. In order to improve our understanding of how the faithful attempt to justify their emotional arguments, the author cites Russell's case, when the philosopher was prevented from teaching at the College of the City of New York (CCNY), in the 1940s due to his anti-religious ideas. Key words : Atheism; Religion; Science; Religious fundamentalism. (shrink)
Resumo O fundamentalismo é um fenômeno relativamente recente, pelo menos como posição articulada e autoconsciente. O presente artigo apresenta, de início, uma reflexão sobre o surgimento do termo fundamentalismo, em breve resgate histórico. A seguir, identifica e analisa as características principais dessa atitude, tanto na sua configuração psicológica (subjetivismo fechado), como na sua teoria epistemológica implícita (fideísmo radical, fé ou submissão a uma autoridade religiosa como fonte exclusiva ou predominante de certeza epistemológica), na sua hermenêutica (liberalismo na interpretação de escrituras) (...) e na sua maneira de priorizar um ativismo radical, na perspectiva pragmática (tendência a medidas radicais, à militância e até ao terrorismo no prosseguimento efetivo dos seus fins). Aplicando essa análise, mostra que os debates atuais entre cristãos e "neoateus" parecem frequentemente fundamentalistas, mas não apenas do lado religioso da disputa. Talvez o nome de fundamentalista possa ser reivindicado por alguns que ficariam bem surpresos pela nova titulação. A última parte do artigo discute a religião "usada" e "abusada". Palavras-chave: Ateísmo; Fundamentalismo; Filosofia da religião.Fundamentalism is a relatively recent phenomenon, at least as an articulated and self-conscious position. The present article begins by reflecting on the origin of the term fundamentalism in a brief historical review. Then the principal characteristics of this attitude are identified and analyzed, both in its psychological configuration (a closed subjectivity), as well as in its implicit epistemological theory (radical fideism, faith or submission to a religiou authority as exclusive or predominant source of epistemological certitude), its hermeneutics (literalism in the interpretation of scriptures) and its manner of prioritizing radical activisim in its pragmatic perspective (tendency to radical means, to militancy and even terrorism in the effective persecution of its ends). Applying this analysis, current debates between Christians and "neo-atheists" appear frequently fundamentalist, but not only on the religious side of the dispute. Perhaps the name fundamentalist can be claimed even by some who would be quite surprised by the new christening. The last part of the article discusses "used" and "abused" religion. Key words : Atheism; fundamentalism; philosophy of religion. (shrink)
Translator's preface -- Commentator's preface -- Commentator's introduction -- J.G. Fichte : on the ground of our belief in a divine world-governance -- Commentary: on the ground of our belief in a divine world-governance -- Text: on the ground of our belief in a divine world-governance -- F.K. Forberg : development of the concept of religion -- Commentary: development of the concept of religion -- Text: development of the concept of religion -- G.: a father's letter to his student son (...) about Fichte's and forberg's atheism -- Commentary: a father's letter to his student son about Fichte's and Forberg's atheism -- Text: a father's letter to his student son abou tFichte's and Gorberg's atheism -- Friedrich August : Saxon requisition letter to the Weimar Court and Karl August : Weimar rescript to the University of Jena -- Commentary: Saxon requisition letter to the Weimar Court and Weimar rescript to the University of Jena -- Text: Saxon requisition letter to the weimar court -- Text: Weimar rescript to the University of Jena -- J.G. Fichte: appeal to the public -- Commentary: appeal to the public -- Text: appeal to the public -- K.l. Reinhold: letter to Fichte -- Commentary:letter to fichte -- Text: letter to Fichte -- J.G. Fichte : juridical defense -- Commentary: juridical defense -- Text: juridical defense -- Ernst I. Ludwig : Gotha rescript to the University of Jena -- Commentary: Gotha rescript to the University of Jena -- Text: Gotha rescript to the University of Jena -- Students of the University of Jena : first petition to Duke Karl, August of Saxony, Weimar, Eisenach and Karl August : first reply to the University of Jena and students of the University of Jena : second petition to Duke Karl, August of Saxony, Weimar, Eisenach and Karl August : second reply to the University of Jena -- Commentary: first and second petitions to Duke Karl, August of Saxony, Weimar, Eisenach and first and second replies to the University of Jena -- Text: first petition to Duke Karl, August of Saxony, Weimar, Eisenach -- Text: first reply to the University of Jena -- Text: second petition to Duke Karl, August of Saxony, Weimar, Eisenach -- Text: second reply to the University of Jena -- J.G. Fichte : from a private letter -- Commentary: from a private letter -- Text: from a private letter -- J.G. Fichte : concluding remark by the editor -- Commentary: concluding remark by the editor -- Text: concluding remark by the editor. (shrink)
_Radical Atheism_ presents a profound new reading of the influential French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Against the prevalent notion that there was an ethical or religious "turn" in Derrida's thinking, Hägglund argues that a radical atheism informs Derrida's work from beginning to end. Proceeding from Derrida's insight into the constitution of time, Hägglund demonstrates how Derrida rethinks the condition of identity, ethics, religion, and political emancipation in accordance with the logic of radical atheism. Hägglund challenges other major interpreters of (...) Derrida's work and offers a compelling account of Derrida's thinking on life and death, good and evil, self and other. Furthermore, Hägglund does not only explicate Derrida's position but also develops his arguments, fortifies his logic, and pursues its implications. The result is a groundbreaking deconstruction of the perennial philosophical themes of time and desire as well as pressing contemporary issues of sovereignty and democracy. (shrink)
Spectres of False Divinity presents a historical and critical interpretation of Hume's rejection of the existence of a deity with moral attributes. In Hume's view, no first cause or designer responsible for the ordered universe could possibly have moral attributes; nor could the existence of such a being have any real implications for human practice or conduct. Hume's case for this 'moral atheism' is a central plank of both his naturalistic agenda in metaphysics and his secularizing program in moral (...) theory. It complements his wider critique of traditional theism, and threatens to rule out any religion that would make claims on moral practice. Thomas Holden situates Hume's commitment to moral atheism in its historical and philosophical context, offers a systematic interpretation of his case for divine amorality, and shows how Hume can endorse moral atheism while maintaining his skeptical attitude toward traditional forms of cosmological and theological speculation. (shrink)
This book challenges the widespread assumption that the ethical life and society must be moral in any objective sense. In his previous works, Marks has rejected both the existence of such a morality and the need to maintain verbal, attitudinal, practical, and institutional remnants of belief in it. This book develops these ideas further, with emphasis on constructing a positive alternative. Calling it “desirism”, Marks illustrates what life and the world would be like if we lived in accordance with our (...) rational desires rather than the dictates of any actual or pretend morality, neither overlaying our desires with moral sanction nor attempting to override them with moral strictures. Hard Atheism and the Ethics of Desire also argues that atheism thereby becomes more plausible than the so-called New Atheism that attempts to give up God and yet retain morality. (shrink)
The chapter argues that atheism need pose no hurdle to practicing the Twelve Steps given the importance of action over belief in Twelve Step spirituality. The chapter proposes two theologically anti-realist approaches, fictionalism and reductionism, that provide philosophical coherence to an atheist practicing the Twelve Steps and concludes with a discussion of the virtue of theological open-mindedness.
Victor Stenger (this issue) has responded to my recent criticism of the so-called New Athe- ism movement (2013). Here I endeavor to counter Stenger’s note and highlight several of the ways in which it goes astray. To begin with, however, let me summarize the main points of my earlier paper.
Numerous supposed immoral mandates and commands by God found in religious texts are introduced and discussed. Such passages are used to construct a logical contradiction contention that is called the moral epistemological argument. It is shown how there is a contradiction in that God is omnibenevolent, God can instruct human beings, and God at times provides us with unethical orders and laws. Given the existence of the contradiction, it is argued that an omnibenevolent God does not exist. Finally, this contention (...) is defended from several objections. (shrink)
Dennis Whitcomb argues that there is no God on the grounds that God is supposed to be omniscient, yet nothing could be omniscient due to the nature of grounding. We give a formally identical argument that concludes that one of the present co-authors does not exist. Since he does exist, Whitcomb’s argument is unsound. But why is it unsound? That is a difficult question. We venture two answers. First, one of the grounding principles that the argument relies on is false. (...) Second, the argument equivocates between two kinds of grounding: instance-grounding and quasi-mereological grounding. Happily, the equivocation can be avoided; unhappily, avoidance comes at the price of a false premise. (shrink)
Most analytic philosophers are atheists, but is there a deep connection between analytic philosophy and atheism? The paper argues a) that the founding fathers of analytic philosophy were mostly teenage atheists before they became philosophers; b) that analytic philosophy was invented partly because it was realized that the God-substitute provided by the previously fashionable philosophy - Absolute Idealism – could not cut the spiritual mustard; c) that analytic philosophy developed an unhealthy obsession with meaninglessness which led to a new (...) kind of atheism that dismissed talk of God as factually meaningless (neither true nor false) rather than meaningful but false; but d) that this new-fangled atheism (unlike the old-fashioned atheism of the founders) is false, since it relies on theories of meaning – verificationism and falsificationism – which are themselves false. The primary focus is on Bertrand Russell, though other analytic philosophers such as Ayer, Neurath and Flew are also extensively discussed. (shrink)