Dating for agnostics

30-Apr-2016 12:20

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Instead, “atheism” should be defined as a psychological state: the state of not believing in the existence of God (or gods).This view was famously proposed by the philosopher Antony Flew and arguably played a role in his (1972) defense of an alleged presumption of “atheism”.Although Flew’s definition of “atheism” fails as an umbrella term, it is certainly a legitimate definition in the sense that it reports how a significant number of people use the term.Again, there is more than one “correct” definition of “atheism”.The “a-” in “atheism” must be understood as negation instead of absence, as “not” instead of “without”.Therefore, in philosophy at least, atheism should be construed as the proposition that God does not exist (or, more broadly, the proposition that there are no gods).Philosophers write articles on and have devoted journal issues (French & Wettstein 2013) to the New Atheism, but there is nothing close to a consensus on how that term should be defined.

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Departing even more radically from the norm in philosophy, a few philosophers and quite a few non-philosophers claim that “atheism” shouldn’t be defined as a proposition at all, even if theism is a proposition.Answers like “I don’t know”, “no one knows”, “I don’t care”, “an affirmative answer has never been established”, or “the question is meaningless” are not answers to this question.