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Arguing about Gods Paperback – November 5, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0521122641 ISBN-10: 0521122643 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (November 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521122643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521122641
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Book Description

Examines arguments for and against the existence of God with conclusions supported by detailed analyses of arguments, as well as by the development of a theory about the purpose of arguments, and the criteria that should be used in judging whether or not an argument is successful.

About the Author

Graham Oppy is Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of Arts at Monash University. He is the author of Ontological Arguments and Belief in God, and Philosophical Perspectives on Infinity. He is Associate Editor of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, and serves on the editorial boards of Philo, Philosopher's Compass, Religious Studies, and Sophia.

More About the Author

I am currently Associate Dean Research and Associate Dean Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Arts at Monash University. (I've been Associate Dean Research since 2004; I've taken on the Associate Dean Graduate Studies role in 2007 on a strictly one-year term.)

I was previously Head of the School of Philosophy and Bioethics at Monash (from 2001 through 2004).

I came to Monash in mid-1996 as a Senior Lecturer; I was promoted to Professor in 2005.

From 1993 to mid-1996, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Philosophy Program in the Research School for the Social Sciences at the Australian National University in Canberra.

From mid-1990 through 1992, I was a Lecturer at the University of Wollongong (no, not Wolloomooloo).

Between 1987 and 1990, I was a graduate student in philosophy at Princeton University. My dissertation advisor was Gil Harman; my dissertation was about questions in the philosophy of language.

From 1979 through 1986, I was an undergraduate student at Melbourne University. I completed two degrees: a BA with a major in philosophy; and a B.Sc with a major in mathematics (and a minor in physics).

Skipping back a bit, I was born in Benalla (pop. 8000) in 1960; my family moved to Ballarat (pop. 80,000) in 1965, and were still living there when I started to attend Melbourne University in 1979.

My parents were Methodists; I ceased to be a religious believer when I was in my early teenage years.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Chad McIntosh on November 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If I were asked to shelf three of the most formidable cases for atheism to date, the first would be J. L. Mackie's The Miracle of Theism: Arguments For and Against the Existence of God (Oxford, 1983). Only recently have there been worthy shelf-neighbors to Mackie. On one side of Mackie I would put J. Howard Sobel's Logic and Theism: Arguments For and Against Beliefs in God (Cambridge, 2003). On the other I would put Graham Oppy's recent book, Arguing About Gods (Cambridge, 2006).

In Arguing About Gods, Oppy painstakingly examines a daunting range of arguments for "othodoxly conceived monotheistic gods", or what has been called 'the God of the philosophers' (as opposed to, say, the concept of God specific to only one religion). The survey and critique that initially sets the tone of Oppy's project is commendable, in both depth and conservation with contemporary philosophers of religion. About two thirds of the way into the book, however, those virtues begin to wear thin. Many of the arguments Oppy later considers become increasingly straw-man in character.

For example, take what he gathers to be the argument from mathematical knowledge (Argument 3 in subsection 6, "Arguments from Puzzling Phenomena" of Ch.7 on miscellaneous arguments):

1. There is no (agreed) naturalistic explanation of how we are able to come by knowledge of mathematics.
2. Our knowledge of mathematics is (best) explained as the result of an orthodoxly conceived monotheistic god's so constituting us that we are able to have that knowledge.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Nolan on March 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Oppy provides a masterful and in depth examinations of the major arguments for and against God critiquing in depth the major arguments concerning God's existence. While he focuses mostly on the arguments for God, including the cosmological, teleological, and ontological arguments, he also spends time criticizing the argument from evil, and tempering the conclusions that can reasonably be made from it.

Given Oppy's skilled dismantling of theistic arguments, as well as his stance of being "firmly of the belief that there are no supernatural entities of any kind," it may come as a surprise that he still concludes that there are no arguments, either for or against the existence of God, that ought to change a rational person's mind. But surely there must be some beginning stance that is more rational than another, and which could be the deciding factor in the rationality of theism. Arguing About Gods could have seriously benefited from an examination of the burden of proof, or what presuppositions count as rational.

Even given Oppy's measured conclusions, the book still provides plenty of resources for readers to form their own conclusions, and there are few books that provide a deeper coverage of the arguments. This book will provide much food for thought for those who are already familiar with academic philosophy, and who are looking for one of the best argued and well thought out books on philosophy of religion.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Scott on September 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Oppy's book (along with Dr. Sobel's Logic and Theism) is the strongest atheist book written since Mackie's "The Miracle of Theism". It contains powerful insights into the epistemology of argument and the the main arguments for the existence of God including excellent discussions of the Kalam Cosmological Argument and Godel's Ontological Argument. However, AAG is not for those who are ignorant of philosophy, especially recent philosophy of religion and logic. I would also recommend you reading it along side with Dr. Oppy's other book, "Philosophical Perspectives on Infinity", which tackles all of the associated mathematical questions. These books were originally planned to be one book "God and Infinity", but it would have been too big for a single entity.
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