"Thousands of philosophers--from the ancient Greeks to modern thinkers--have defended atheism, but none more comprehensively than Martin. His lengthy arguments, detailed and incisive, are sharpened by modern developments in logic and inductive reasoning and by special attention to contemporary thinkers whose subtle writings are unknown to the general public... Atheists should read it to bolster their creed, and theists should read it to test their faith against the deadly force of Martin's attack." --Martin Gardner, The Humanist "A tour-de-force for the mind... This is a book to be read several times and savored while being slowly digested... If one follows Martin's reasoning throughout this book, one will have gone through the most thorough and vigorous examination of the logical arguments surrounding atheism and theism that has ever been offered." --Gordon Stein, American Rationalist "[This book] has the impact of a runaway train. It is certainly the best philosophical justification of atheism that I have ever read... Even readers with little philosophical background will find themselves richly repaid." --Free Inquiry "This is a bold work which presents its case with clarity, rigour, and a thorough knowledge of the most recent articles and monographs in the field of philosophy of religion... The details of Martin's arguments deserve the close attention of all philosophers of religion." --Michael Banner, Journal of Theological Studies "The arguments in this clearly written work are sound and conclusive. There is scarcely a questionable sentence in the entire enormous work. A comprehensive work of solid scholarship, Atheism: A Philosophical Analysis is an important contribution to the philosophy of religion." --Wallace Matson, University of California, Berkeley "Martin's net is much more broadly cast than [Bertrand] Russell's to provide a comprehensive defense of atheism that pulls together criticisms scattered throughout atheistic literature. Clearly and systematically, Martin defends negative atheism the absence of belief in god or gods, by attacking the major classical and contemporary arguments for God's existence." --Choice
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).