“The Oxford Handbook of Atheism” (Bullivant & Ruse, eds.)

Next month, Oxford will release The Oxford Handbook of Atheism, edited by Stephen Bullivant (St. Mary’s University College) and Michael Ruse (Florida State University). The publisher’s description follows:

Recent books by, among others, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens have thrust atheism firmly into the popular, media, and academic spotlight. This so-called New Atheism is arguably the most striking development in western socio-religious culture of the past decade or more. As such, it has spurred fertile (and often heated) discussions both within, and between, a diverse range of disciplines. Yet atheism, and the New Atheism, are by no means co-extensive. Interesting though it indeed is, the New Atheism is a single, historically and culturally specific manifestation of positive atheism (the that there is/are no God/s), which is itself but one form of a far deeper, broader, and more significant global phenomenon.

The Oxford Handbook of Atheism is a pioneering edited volume, exploring atheism – understood in the broad sense of “an absence of belief in the existence of a God or gods” – in all the richness and diversity of its historical and contemporary expressions. Bringing together an international team of established and emerging scholars, it probes the varied manifestations and implications of unbelief from an array of disciplinary perspectives (philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology, demography, psychology, natural sciences, gender and sexuality studies, literary criticism, film studies, musicology) and in a range of global contexts (Western Europe, North America, post-communist Europe, the Islamic world, Japan, India). Both surveying and synthesizing previous work, and presenting the major fruits of innovative recent research, the handbook is set to be a landmark text for the study of atheism.

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2 responses to ““The Oxford Handbook of Atheism” (Bullivant & Ruse, eds.)

  1. “Positive” atheism sounds uncomfortably like “Positivism” plus “Atheism.” Take a look at that second meaning, because the first meaning almost makes the term “Positive Atheism” redundant. The second may make it tyrannical:

    pos·i·tiv·ism
    ˈpäzətivˌizəm,ˈpäztiv-/Submit
    nounPHILOSOPHY
    noun: positivism
    1.
    a philosophical system that holds that every rationally justifiable assertion can be scientifically verified or is capable of logical or mathematical proof, and that therefore rejects metaphysics and theism.
    a humanistic religious system founded on this.
    another term for logical positivism.
    2.
    the theory that laws are to be understood as social rules, valid because they are enacted by authority or derive logically from existing decisions, and that ideal or moral considerations (e.g., that a rule is unjust) should not limit the scope or operation of the law.

  2. That definition is right off the top of a Google search for Positivism.

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