Analytic Philosophy (Alternative title 'Analytic Atheism?')

In Stephen Bullivant & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Atheism. Oxford University Press. pp. 307-319 (2013)
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Most analytic philosophers are atheists, but is there a deep connection between analytic philosophy and atheism? The paper argues a) that the founding fathers of analytic philosophy were mostly teenage atheists before they became philosophers; b) that analytic philosophy was invented partly because it was realized that the God-substitute provided by the previously fashionable philosophy - Absolute Idealism – could not cut the spiritual mustard; c) that analytic philosophy developed an unhealthy obsession with meaninglessness which led to a new kind of atheism that dismissed talk of God as factually meaningless (neither true nor false) rather than meaningful but false; but d) that this new-fangled atheism (unlike the old-fashioned atheism of the founders) is false, since it relies on theories of meaning – verificationism and falsificationism – which are themselves false. The primary focus is on Bertrand Russell, though other analytic philosophers such as Ayer, Neurath and Flew are also extensively discussed.

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Author's Profile

Charles R. Pigden
University of Otago

References found in this work

Intellectual Autobiography.Rudolf Carnap - 1963 - In Paul Arthur Schilpp (ed.), The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap. LaSalle, Illinois: Open Court. pp. 3--84.
Theology and falsification.Antony Flew & Basil Mitchell - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press. pp. 28-29.

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