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Spectres of False DivinityHume's Moral Atheism$
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Thomas Holden

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199579945

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579945.001.0001

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Hume's Moral Atheism

Hume's Moral Atheism

(p.1) 1 Hume's Moral Atheism
Spectres of False Divinity

Thomas Holden (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter defines and introduces the conceptual category of ‘moral atheism’ — i.e. the denial of the existence of a deity with moral attributes — and distinguishes between two main versions of the position. A ‘weak moral atheist’ rejects the existence of a morally praiseworthy divinity; while a ‘strong moral atheist’ rejects the existence of a morally assessable divinity. The chapter also relates the category of moral atheism to early modern ways of thinking about religion, irreligion, and atheism. It introduces the main interpretive thesis of the book: the claim that Hume is a strong moral atheist. It also addresses a preliminary objection from the lack of explicit textual evidence.

Keywords:   atheism, deity, Hume, irreligion, moral atheism, moral attributes

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