Chapter

Hume's Moral Atheism

Thomas Holden

in Spectres of False Divinity

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579945
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722776 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579945.003.0001
Hume's Moral Atheism

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This chapter defines and introduces the conceptual category of ‘moral atheism’ — i.e. the denial of the existence of a deity with moral attributes — and distinguishes between two main versions of the position. A ‘weak moral atheist’ rejects the existence of a morally praiseworthy divinity; while a ‘strong moral atheist’ rejects the existence of a morally assessable divinity. The chapter also relates the category of moral atheism to early modern ways of thinking about religion, irreligion, and atheism. It introduces the main interpretive thesis of the book: the claim that Hume is a strong moral atheist. It also addresses a preliminary objection from the lack of explicit textual evidence.

Keywords: atheism; deity; Hume; irreligion; moral atheism; moral attributes

Chapter.  5029 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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