Atheism: The Basics - Graham Oppy

Atheism: The Basics

The Basics

Atheism: The Basics is a concise and engaging introduction to belief in the non-existence of deities. Atheism has long fascinated people but debate around this controversial position may seem daunting. Les mer
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Atheism: The Basics is a concise and engaging introduction to belief in the non-existence of deities. Atheism has long fascinated people but debate around this controversial position may seem daunting. In this lively and lucid book, Graham Oppy addresses the following important questions:

* What does it mean to be an atheist?

* What is the difference between atheism, agnosticism, theism and innocence?

* How has atheism been distributed over time and place?

* What does science tell us about atheism?

* Are there good reasons to be an atheist?

* Are there good reasons not to be an atheist?

* What do we mean by 'new atheism'?

With a glossary of key terms and suggestions for further reading throughout, the book considers key philosophical arguments around atheism, making this an ideal starting point for anyone seeking a full introduction to the arguments between those who hold atheistic beliefs and those who do not.
Forlag: Routledge
Innbinding: Paperback
Språk: Engelsk
Sider: 182
ISBN: 9781138506961
Format: 20 x 13 cm

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'This is an important, and notably even-handed, contribution to our understanding of atheism and atheists. It is fascinating, eye-opening, admirably careful, and always clear.'

Russell Blackford, University of Newcastle, Australia

'Oppy provides a concise, informative, and highly engaging introduction to the subject, dispelling many of the most common misconceptions about atheism and atheists. The biographical profiles of notable atheists in world history bring out the human side of atheism. If you are looking for a brief introduction to atheism, you cannot do better than this book.'

Neil A. Manson, University of Mississippi, USA

'This is an intriguing, fact-filled book that anyone interested in atheism and theism ought to read. Oppy is one of atheism’s foremost academic defenders and this book provides a succinct and accessible introduction to his thinking. Highly recommended.'

Stephen Law, Heythrop College, University of London, UK

'All in all, Oppy’s book is well written, lively and—for the most part—concise and accessible. The book does cover much, if not most, of the basics of atheism (as the series claims), and the inclusion of a glossary of key terms as well as suggestions for further reading make for a good starting point. '

Maartje Gortworst, Utrecht University, Netherlands



This is a very good proposal. It provides a clear raison d’etre for the book: to be educative rather than to advance either a pro- or anti-atheist position, and to raise the tone of debate in a rather emotive area. It also explains how this aim is to be achieved: by carefully distinguishing atheism from other positions with which it tends to be conflated. It is particularly valuable to distinguish atheism from both anti-religious and naturalist views.

One attractive feature is that it covers a variety of approaches to the topic - historical, political and philosophical – though I would guess the last of these would predominate in what one might think of as the heart of the book: chapters 4 and 5.

It’s good that the chapters build up to what then can be a sophisticated and informed analysis of how the contemporary theist/atheist debate over atheism is conducted.

the main audience will I think be more likely to be undergraduates, for which this book would make an extremely suitable background text for introductory courses in the philosophy of religion or theology – one or both of which will be offered by philosophy or theology & religious departments, too numerous to list

The chapters are all appropriate, and are usefully ordered.

Strongly recommend publication

Recommended reading

Lawrence J. Jost, University of Cincinnati, USA.

I believe that the proposal is sound in the main and would be a valuable addition to the texts now available.

I should think the main audience would be undergraduates in courses on atheism itself (rather rarely taught as such but I do teach such a course and would welcome this edition) and, of course, philosophy of religion classes.

I think that the book sounds suitable for beginners and I have tried to indicate a very few suggestions for improving it, viz. more on late 20th C. discussion and the problem of evil. I also think that there should be a discussion of meaning and purpose in life and why atheism has a more sophisticated approach to these questions than does traditional theism.

Recommend Publication

Required reading/essential purchase

From my reading of other work by Oppy I would say that he is a top-notch expert in the field and his entry into the field of basic works for beginners would be very welcome


Hitching a Ride with Arthur Dent

Setting the Record Straight

Snapshots from History

Facts and Figures

Common Complaints

Reasons and Arguments

On the Road Again

What to Read Next

Glossary of Key Terms


Graham Oppy is Professor of Philosophy at Monash University, Australia.