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Reasonable Atheism: A Moral Case Fro Respectful Disbeliefby Scott F. Aikin
Synopses & Reviews
A recent poll from the University of Minnesota finds that atheists are America’s least trusted social group. Perhaps compounding this negative impression is the attack-dog persona taken on in the past decade by the "New Atheists." Not only have they been quite public about their disbelief, but they’ve also stridently lambasted religious belief generally in a number of bestselling books.
Disturbed by this negative public perception and the deterioration in the tone of open debate, the authors of this eminently reasonable work attempt to introduce a note of civility and rational clarity. To both religious believers and fellow atheists they counsel a measured approach that combines serious intellectual engagement with respect for the reasonableness of the other side’s position.
The heart of the book is the authors’ moral case for atheism. Atheism, they contend, manifests a decidedly moral concern for others and their wellbeing. The authors further argue that atheism is driven by the kinds of moral considerations that should be familiar to all religious believers. Atheists are motivated by a moral concern for others, a desire to alleviate suffering and combat evil, and an appreciation for the value of life, freedom, and responsibility.
In the end, the authors make not only a compelling case for atheism but also for the value and necessity of mutual respect in a democratic society composed of diverse citizens.
Book News Annotation:
Having previously collaborated on A Guide for the Perplexed, Aikin and Talisse (both philosophy, Vanderbilt) explain to religious believers that atheism is a morally and intellectually responsible position, and that the same moral commitments that religious believers place at the core of their religious conviction can be appealed to in making a case for atheism. They think that if atheists and believers can respect each other for their choices, the state of democratic politics in the US would improve. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The authors make not only a compelling moral case for atheism but also for the value and necessity of mutual respect in a democratic society composed of diverse citizens.
About the Author
Scott F. Aikin (Nashville, TN) is a senior lecturer in the philosophy department at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of Pragmatism: A Guide for the Perplexed (with Robert B. Talisse) and Epistemology and the Regress Problem.
Robert B. Talisse (Nashville, TN) is a professor of philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of Democracy and Moral Conflict, Pragmatism: A Guide for the Perplexed (with Scott F. Aikin), A Pragmatist Philosophy of Democracy, and Democracy After Liberalism.
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