Arguing for Atheism: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion 1st Edition

14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415093385
ISBN-10: 0415093384
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Well exhibits the fascination and philosophical centrality of the philosophy of religion as anchoring otherwise abstract metaphysical issues in the pressing concerns of human existence ... a worthwhile contribution'. - Mind

'Le Poidevin's Arguing for Atheism is the best recent introduction to the philosophy of religion ...I would highly recommend it this book to students and professors alike - Quentin Smith, Western Michigan University

'Clear, honest and fairminded; it makes a good introduction, not just to the question of God, but to metaphysics in general - Donald Cupitt, Emmanuel College, Cambridge

'A lucid and valuable discussion of the issues it raises about purpose, God, ethics, evil and immortality.' - The Scientific and Medical Network

About the Author

Robin Le Poidevin is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Leeds. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (September 22, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415093384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415093385
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #910,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 15, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is an introduction to philosophy of religion written by an atheist. Le Poidevin manages to discuss a number of technical metaphysical issues in a highly readable way, which is exactly what we would hope to find in a college textbook such as this. My only criticism of Arguing for Atheism concerns what Le Poidevin did not address. His book contains nothing on miracles or religious experience, nor any reference to any of the new arguments for atheism, including Michael
Martin's atheistic teleological argument or Quentin Smith's atheistic cosmological argument (even though the book comes with an endorsement by
Smith). Indeed, Le Poidevin seems unaware of some very influential atheist philosophers, like Michael Martin and Antony Flew. Still, Arguing for Atheism is an outstanding atheist introduction to philosophy of religion that is well worth purchasing. -- Jeffery Jay Lowder
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Eric Breitenstein on February 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Robin Le Poidevin has written one of the best books defending atheism. He fairly and accurately considers his opponent's arguments, yet he still goes through meticulously and points out the flaws in each one.
The book is divided into three parts. Part one should be the most interesting to the atheist. Poidevin discusses theistic explanations, like the cosmological and teleological arguments, and finds them to be wanting. His discussion is fair and balanced, and he takes interesting approaches to dealing with them (for example, his discussion of modal realism in regards to the ontological argument).
In part two Poidevin attempts to make arguments *for* atheism, instead of simply refuting theistic claims. This section may appeal less to the atheist and theist than to someone who is still "unsure." I found his treatment of the problem of evil (AE) to be interesting, yet he claims that it is "the most powerful argument for atheism," which is a bit of an overstatement. At best, AE offers support to an atheist, but it is not the knock-down argument Poidevin makes it out to be. His other argument "for" atheism is really just pointing out the problems with theistic ethics. He states the Euthyphro dilemma, then discusses the ethics in much greater depth. I won't go into it here, but although his discussion was interesting, I am not sure it is really an argument "for" atheism.
Part three will probably not interest the atheist all, but the theist may find it more interesting than parts 1 or 2. As an atheist, I found all 3 parts to be interesting, and part 3 especially so for its treatment of difficult issues.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By M. R. Bas on April 19, 1998
Format: Hardcover
With the great knowledge about the philosophy of religion that the author has, he shows how to dissect generally accepted theistic doctrines and ways of thinking that will eventually lead to theism. This Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Leeds approaches all the common and basic theistic premises in a very reasonable way, thereby not immediately taking the stand of the atheist, but leaving theistic questions multi-answerable at first. Yet, after having viewed theistic premises with the eye of the honest philosopher, the only solution for such philosophical problems will turn out to be a non-theistic one. With some humour here and there, and with fair and honest arguments for atheism the book will refute theism in a way that treats theistic conceptions in a respectful way, even though theism eventually will seem to be non-true. Robin Le Poidevin will demonstrate a logical succession of strategies that will hollow out theism step by step. Every chapter is to be considered an outstanding, analytic step towards total disproval of theism. After having dissected and consequently refuted theism in all its forms 'the fair philosopher' offers the possibly disillusioned ex-theist a way to regain the feelings and emotions that came about when practicing religion. 'Religion without God' therefore, will be the last chapter, where Le Poidevin stresses the fact that God is a fiction, but one can also project one's religious needs onto other things. This last chapter will not appeal to the person who has been an atheist all of his life, but I find it important to mention this last chapter because it stresses Le Poidevin's integrous fashion of refuting atheism; fair, down-to-earth and without a biased attitude towards theism whilst refuting this particular perception of existence totally.Read more ›
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36 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Jason A. Beyer on June 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
*Arguing for Atheism* is a strange book. The title suggests that the book is an attempt to argue for the truth of atheism. Its subtitle, *An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion* suggests that it is meant to introduce the reader to issues in the philosophy of religion. To the book's credit, it attempts to do both, but as a result, it does neither adequately.
First for the title. This book is not *really* an argument for atheism. Atheism is the denial of God's existence. Le Poidevin does not really do this. In part 3 of the book, he defends an instrumentalist view of religion. This is fine and dandy, but given his view that religion is analogous to involving oneself in a work of fiction, Le Poidevin should not be an atheist. If his instrumentalism about religion is correct, then "God does not exist" is no more a candidate for literal truth or falsity than "God exists". (In his defense, Le Poidevin is not the first to make this error. Antony Flew has claimed both that God-talk is meaningless and that God does not exist.) Le Poidevin is really arguing for a God-less religion akin to Don Cupitt, whose work he discusses. If Le Poidevin is an atheist, he is an atheist in the biblical sense of one who denies God in his heart.
As for his arguments for "atheism", I find that most of them move way too quickly. He spends much of the chapter on evil discussing why the theist must adopt libertarian free will; very little time is actually spent on using evil as an argument for atheism. His discussion of how evolution explains apparent design is only one paragraph long, and no mention is made of the importance of "mis-design". Focusing here will actually allow him to argue *for* atheism rather than *against* theism.
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