Atheism: A Philosophical Justification

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Temple University Press, 1992 - Religion - 541 pages
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In this book Michael Martin provides logical reasons for being an atheist. Carefully examining the current debate in Anglo-American analytic philosophy regarding God's existence, Martin presents a comprehensive critique of the arguments for the existence of God and a defense of arguments against the existence of God, showing in detail their relevance to atheism. Claiming that atheism is a rational position while theistic beliefs are not, he relies both on logic and evidence and confines his efforts to showing the irrationality of belief in a personal supreme being who is omniscient, omnipotent, perfect, and the creator of heaven and earth.
The author's approach is two-fold. By presenting and criticizing arguments that have been advanced in favor of belief, he makes a case for "negative atheism." By offering arguments against atheism and defending it from these attacks, he presents a case for "positive atheism." Along the way, he confronts the views of numerous philosophers—among them Anselm, Aquinas, Plantinga, Hick, and Swinburne—and refutes both classical and contemporary arguments that have been advanced through the history of this debate.
In his conclusion, Martin considers what would and would not follow if his main arguments were widely accepted, and he defines and distinguishes atheism from other "isms" and movements. Building on the work of religious skeptics and atheists of the past and present, he justifies his reconstruction of this philosophical dispute by citing some of the most interesting and important arguments for atheism and criticisms of arguments for the existence of God that have appeared in recent journal articles and have yet to be systematically addressed. Author note: Michael Martin is Professor of Philosophy at Boston University and author of several books, including The Legal Philosophy of H.L.A. Hart: A Critical Appraisal and The Case Against Christianity (both from Temple).
 

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The justifications for atheism are given expansive treatment, including full treatment of the most prominent counter-arguments. The first partis given to "negative arguments" that answer the most prominent theistic arguments or cast doubt on the proposition that "God exists". The second part is given to "positive arguments" that explicitly support the proposition that "No god exists". 

Contents

0 NEGATIVE ATHEISM
29
The Meaningfulness of Religious Language
40
The Ontological Argument
79
The Teleological Argument
125
The Argument from Religious Experience
154
The Argument from Miracles
188
Some Minor Evidential Arguments for
210
Beneficial Arguments for
229
Atheistic Teleological Arguments
317
The Argument from Evil
334
The Free Will Defense
362
Natural Evil
391
Soul Making Theodicy
413
The Finite God Theodicy 1436
436
ATHEISM DEFINED AND CONTRASTED
463
NOTES
479

Faith and Foundationalism
249
0 POSITIVE ATHEISM
281

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About the author (1992)

Michael Martin is Professor of Philosophy at Boston University and author of several books, including The Legal Philosophy of H.L.A. Hart: A Critical Appraisal and The Case Against Christianity (both from Temple).

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