The Cambridge Companion to Atheism
by Michael Martin
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Reviewed by Metapsychology Online Reviews:
The main section of the anthology — The Case against Theism — covers a number of topics in philosophy of religion (especially as they are developed in Anglo-American thought), ranging from the arguments for the existence of God, to the relation between atheism and other branches of philosophy such as philosophy of mind (“Naturalism and Physicalism” by Evan Fales), philosophy of science (“Atheism and Evolution” by Daniel Dennett and “Kalam Cosmological Arguments for Atheism” by Quentin Smith), and ethics (e.g., “The Autonomy of Ethics” by David Brink). With the exception of William Lane Craig’s “Theistic Critiques of Atheism,” this section of the anthology makes a case for atheism and conceives of this case (largely) to be merely a case against theism. Thus, most essays in this section are written in dialogue with prominent arguments for theism, especially the arguments developed by Alvin Plantinga. In fact, in order to give justice to this section of the anthology, the reader appears to be almost required to have read Plantinga’s e.g., God, Freedom and Evil and Warranted Christian Belief…
…I have argued that an “advanced student” (acquainted with philosophy of religion) is likely to be disappointed by The Cambridge Companion to Atheism since the anthology contains merely the well-rehearsed arguments against theism (without the theist’s side of the debate) and does not paint a picture of atheism as an intellectual and ethical movement in its own right. Let me add that a “general reader” would not for the most part find the anthology a desired reading either. Most contributions are written by professional philosophers to professional philosophers. They presuppose a fair fluency with respect to the traditional arguments, concepts, and even texts in the history of philosophy and in contemporary Anglo-American philosophy of religion.