Article

Atheism

Matt McCormick

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online May 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0009
Atheism

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Philosophy
  • Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art
  • Epistemology
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • History of Western Philosophy
  • Metaphysics
  • Moral Philosophy
  • Non-Western Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Social and Political Philosophy

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

The term “atheist” describes a person who does not believe that God or a divine being exists. The sort of divine being that has received the most attention in atheological arguments has been the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving creator of the universe that is the central focus of the major monotheistic traditions. It has come to be widely accepted that to be an atheist is to deny that a God or gods exist. Atheism can be narrow or wide in scope; that is, a person can be a narrow atheist about the existence of a particular divine being, such as Zeus. Or a person can lack belief in the existence of any supernatural beings. Theism and atheism are primarily ontological positions about what sorts of things exist. Some theists believe that there is sufficient evidence to rationally justify the conclusion that God is real; others believe in God, but take a weaker view about the state of the evidence, sometimes invoking faith. Atheists typically take the view that there is sufficient evidence to justify concluding that there is no God. Agnosticism is an epistemological category; it describes someone who is not sure whether there is a God or not. Typically, the agnostic has the view that there is insufficient available evidence to draw a reasonable conclusion one way or the other, and as a result the responsible attitude is to suspend judgment. While some authors in the past have offered criticisms of believing or argued against the existence of God, atheism as we know it is a relatively recent development. People began to consider the possibility of a fully viable alternative to theism after Darwin, and the practice of giving a direct philosophical argument for the nonexistence of God became common even later.

Article.  7552 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.