List of atheists (philosophy)

List of atheists (philosophy)


* John Anderson (1893–1962): Scottish-born Australian philosopher, founder of the empirical maphilosophy known as 'Sydney realism'. ["This degree of radicalism Sydney could endure. But what of a man who had signed up as a communist immediately on his arrival, who was unashamedly an atheist, a realist where philosophers were expected to be idealists, who freely mixed with students when he was expected to meet them only in classes or, very occasionally, in their studies? Trouble was bound to loom ahead." John Passmore: 'Anderson, John (1893–1962)', "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, 2004 [] (accessed April 29, 2008).]
* Hector Avalos (1958–): Mexican-American professor of Religious Studies at Iowa State University and author of several books about religion. [From a "Freethought Radio" podcast: Avalos: "I was a child evangelist and preacher, and I used to go around a lot of churches in Arizona specifically [...] it was coming along sort of in stages [...] slowly through high school, and so by the first year of college, I pretty much had realised that I am an atheist." [...] Annie Laurie Gaylor: "What made you an atheist?" Avalos: "Well I always say, reading the Bible did. The more I read the Bible and I tried to use the Bible to convert other people to Christianity, I realised, well I have to learn the arguments of the other religions I'm trying to convert. And the more I tried to learn the arguments and compare them to mine, the more I realised, I could make the arguments for their side just as well. Then it went into, you know, how do I know that "anything" I believe is true? And eventually I realised I have no evidence for "any" religion being true, and at that point, I was an atheist." FFRF podcast [ Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence] (mp3), June 2, 2007 (accessed April 25, 2008). ]
* A. J. Ayer (1910–1989): British philosopher and advocate of logical positivism. Though technically he viewed the idea of God existing as meaningless, he was happy to call himself an atheist. ["Conversely, an absolute denial of God's existence is equally meaningless, since verification is impossible. However, despite this assertion, Ayer may be considered a practical atheist: one who sees no reason to worship an invisible deity." "2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubt", by James A. Haught, Prometheus Books, 1996, p. 276.] ["I was thoroughly irritated when Freddie Ayer, the philosopher who was at Christ Church with me, presented me with a book inscribed: 'To my fellow atheist'." Lord Dacre, 'I liked the elegant, frivolous life...', "Daily Telegraph", January 28, 2003, Pg. 17.]
* Julian Baggini (1968–): British writer specialising in philosophy, author of "Atheism: A Very Short Introduction". ["The reverend Dr Tom Ambrose was sacked yesterday by his bishop for being "arrogant, aggressive, rude, bullying, high-handed, disorganised and at times petty", as a Church of England tribunal put it. Twice, he even spat at parishioners. You might expect that, as an atheist, I might rub my hands over this clerical outrage." Julian Baggini, [ Thought for the day - BBC Radio Bristol] , blog entry, April 11, 2008 (accessed April 22, 2008).]
* Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876): Russian philosopher, writer and anarchist. [Multiple quotes from Bakunin substantiating his atheist views [] .]
* Jonathan Barnes (1942–): British philosopher, translator and historian of ancient philosophy, and brother of the novelist Julian Barnes. [" "I don't believe in God," [Julian] Barnes says in the book's opening line, "but I miss Him." It's a statement Barnes's brother, Jonathan, a philosopher and confirmed atheist, dismisses as "soppy." Jonathan provides a sanguine counterpoint to Julian's perpetual fretting, or what he calls "pit-gazing." Jonathan is resigned to the fact that one day he will cease to exist. Julian keeps looking for a loophole. He wouldn't mind dying, he admits, "as long as I didn't end up being dead afterwards." " Review of "Nothing To Be Frightened Of" by Julian Barnes, "Ottawa Citizen", July 6, 2008, Pg. B2.]
* Bruno Bauer (1809–1882): German philosopher, theologian and historian, the first propounder of the Jesus myth hypothesis. ["Feuerbach's book received criticism from two quarters: expectedly from Christian theologians but surprisingly, from the atheists Max Stirner and Bruno Bauer." Van A. Harvey, [ Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach] , Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2007 (accessed May 22, 2008).]
* Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986): French author and existentialist philosopher. Beauvoir wrote novels and monographs on philosophy, politics, social issues and feminism. [" [Beauvoir] remained an atheist until her death." [ Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)] , "The Internet Encyclopedia or Philosophy" (Accessed April 21, 2008)] ["I cannot be angry at God, in whom I do not believe." Haught (1996), p. 293]
* Simon Blackburn (1944–): British academic atheist philosopher known for his efforts to popularise philosophy. ["Some years ago, without realizing what it might mean, I accepted a dinner invitation from a Jewish colleague for dinner on Friday night. I should say that my colleague had never appeared particularly orthodox, and he would have known that I am an atheist." Simon Blackburn, [ Religion and Respect] (pdf) on his website, August 2004 (accessed April 23, 2008.)]
* Ludwig Büchner (1824–1899): German philosopher, physiologist and physician who became one of the exponents of 19th century scientific materialism. ["Büchner's materialistic interpretation of the universe in "Kraft und Stoff" created an uproar for its rejection of God, creation, religion, and free will and for its explanation of mind and consciousness as physical states of the brain produced by matter in motion. His continued defense of atheism and atomism and his denial of any distinction between mind and matter ("Natur und Geist", 1857; "Nature and Spirit") appealed strongly to freethinkers, but dialectical materialists condemned his acceptance of competitive capitalism, which Büchner viewed as an example of Charles Darwin's "struggle for survival." " ' [ Büchner, Ludwig] ', "Encyclopædia Britannica Online" (accessed August 1, 2008).]
* Albert Camus (1913–1960): French philosopher and novelist, a luminary of existentialism. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957. [David Simpson writes that Camus affirmed "a defiantly atheistic creed." [ Albert Camus (1913–1960)] , The Internet Encyclopedia or Philosophy, 2006, (Accessed June 14, 2007).] cite book | last = Haught | first = James A. | title = 2,000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubt | year = 1996 | publisher = Prometheus Books | id = ISBN 1-57392-067-3 | pages = pp. 261-262]
* Rudolf Carnap (1891–1970): German philosopher who was active in central Europe before 1935 and in the United States thereafter. He was a leading member of the Vienna Circle and a prominent advocate of logical positivism. [Martin Gardner said "Carnap was an atheist..." [ A Mind at Play: An Interview with Martin Gardner] , by Kendrick Frazier, "Skeptical Inquirer", March/April 1998 (Accessed July 2, 2007).] ["Carnap had a modest but deeply religious family background, which might explain why, although he later became an atheist, he maintained a respectful and tolerant attitude in matters of faith throughout his life." Buldt, Bernd: "Carnap, Paul Rudolf", "Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography" Vol. 20 p.43. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2008. ]
* Robert Todd Carroll (1945–): American writer and academic, professor of philosophy at Sacramento City College until 1997, and keeper of the Skeptic's Dictionary website. ["If I had to sum up my own atheism, I think I would have to say that it amounts to this: I have no interest in the supernatural. I also have no interest in what others believe about the supernatural as long as their belief does not involve intolerance of those who disagree with them." Robert Todd Carroll, [ Skeptic's Dictionary entry: atheism] (accessed April 28, 2008).]
* Noam Chomsky (1928–): American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author, and lecturer, Institute Professor and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, credited with the creation of the theory of generative grammar. ["Like everyone participating I'm what's called here a "secular atheist," except that I can't even call myself an "atheist" because it is not at all clear what I'm being asked to deny." Noam Chomsky, "Edge" Discussion of [ Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival] , November 2006 (accessed April 21, 2008). ]
* Auguste Comte (1798–1857): French positivist thinker, credited with coining the term "sociologie" (sociology). ["Despite his atheism, Comte was concerned with moral regeneration and the establishment of a spiritual power." Mary Pickering, 'Auguste Comte and the Saint-Simonians', "French Historical Studies" Vol. 18, No. 1 (Spring 1993), pp. 211-236.] ["But tragically, Comte's "remarkable clearness and extent of vision as to natural things" was coupled with a "total blindness in regard to all that pertains to man's spiritual nature and relations." His "astonishing philosophic power" served only to increase the "plausibility" of a dangerous infidelity. Comte was, once unmasked, a "blank, avowed, unblushing Atheist." [...] Some of the Reformed writers were careful enough to note that technically Comte was not an atheist since he never denied the existence of God, merely his comprehensibility. Practically, however, this made little difference. It only pointed to the skepticism and nescience at the core of his positivism. The epistemological issues dominated the criticism of Comte. Quickly, his atheism was traced to his sensual psychology (or "sensualistic psychology", as Robert Dabney preferred to say)." Charles D. Cashdollar, 'Auguste Comte and the American Reformed Theologians', "Journal of the History of Ideas" Vol. 39, No. 1 (January&ndashMarch 1978), pp. 61-79.]
* André Comte-Sponville (1952–): French philosopher, author of "L'Esprit de l'athéisme" (2006) and "The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality" (2007). ["This is why I am an atheist, while remaining faithful – as best as I can – to the spirit of Christ, who represents justice and charity." André Comte-Sponville, [ An Atheist Chooses Jesus Over Santa] , Washington Post, December 22, 2007 (accessed April 21, 2008).]
* Marquis de Condorcet (1743–1794): French philosopher, mathematician, and early political scientist who devised the concept of a Condorcet method. ["An atheist, he rejected the burden of original sin, and preached the fundamental 'moral goodness of man.'" [ Condorcet's Reconsideration of America as a Model for Europe] , Max M. Mintz, "Journal of the Early Republic", Vol. 11, No. 4 (Winter, 1991), pp. 493-506 (p. 505), published by University of Pennsylvania Press on behalf of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic]
* Benedetto Croce (1886–1952): Italian philosopher and public figure. [Stated in Will Durant's "Outlines of Philosophy"]
*Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995): French philosopher of the late 20th century. From the early 1960s until his death, Deleuze wrote many influential works on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. [Stated in Mary Bryden's "Deleuze and Religion" Page 157]
* Daniel Dennett (1942–): American philosopher, author of "Breaking the Spell". [Dennett, Daniel C. (2006), "Breaking the Spell", Viking (Penguin), ISBN 0-670-03472-X]
* Diagoras of Melos (5th century BCE): Ancient Greek poet and sophist known as the Atheist of Milos, who declared that there were no Gods. [A History of Freethought, Ancient and Modern, to the Period of the French Revolution, J.M. Robertson, Fourth Edition, Revised and Expanded, In Two Volumes, Vol. I, Watts, 1936. p173 - 174]
* Denis Diderot (1713–84): editor-in-chief of the "Encyclopédie".Will and Ariel Durant, "Rousseau and Revolution", p. 183]
* Theodore Drange (1934–): Philosopher of religion and Professor Emeritus at West Virginia University. Drange authored "Nonbelief & Evil: Two arguments for the nonexistence of God". ["This book... presents the strongest case yet for atheism... Drange carefully analyzes and assesses two major arguments for the nonexistence of God: the argument from Evil and the Argument from Nonbelief." [quoted from the dustjacket description] "Nonbelief & Evil: Two arguments for the nonexistence of God" Theodore M. Drange, Prometheus Books, 1998, ISBN 1-57392-228-5]
* Paul Edwards (1923–2004): Austrian-American moral philosopher and editor of "The Encyclopedia or Philosophy". ["'There is no God, there is no life after death, Jesus was a man, and, perhaps most important, the influence of religion is by and large bad,' he wrote in the current issue of Free Inquiry, a magazine about secular humanism, a school of thought that emphasizes values based on experience rather than religion." [ Paul Edwards, Professor and Editor of Philosophy, Dies at 81] , by Jennifer Bayot, "The New York Times", December 16, 2004 (Accessed April 21, 2008)]
* Dylan Evans (1966–): British philosopher, known for his work on emotion and the placebo effect. ["My kind of atheism takes issue with the old atheism on all three of its main tenets: it values religion; treats science as simply a means to an end; and finds the meaning of life in art." Dylan Evans, 'The 21st century atheist', "The Guardian" (London), May 2, 2005, Pg. 15.]
* Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach (1804–1872): German philosopher whose major work, "The Essence of Christianity", maintains that religion and divinity are projections of human nature. [ [] ]
* Friedrich Karl Forberg (1770–1848): German philosopher and classical scholar. ["An exponent of the Idealist school developed by Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Forberg is best known for his essay "Über die Entwicklung des Begriffs Religion" (1798; "On the Development of the Concept of Religion"), a work that occasioned Fichte's dismissal from the University of Jena on the charge of atheism after he had published a corroborative treatise. Forberg also wrote further apologetical works in support of atheism." ' [ Forberg, Friedrich Karl] ', "Encyclopædia Britannica Online", 2008 (accessed August 1, 2008).]
*Michel Foucault (1926–1984) : French philosopher and social theorist famous for his influential analysis of power and discourse. He is best known for his revolutionary philosophical analyses of social institutions such as "Discipline and Punish" and "The History of Sexuality". [ [] , ]
* A. C. Grayling (1949–): British philosopher and author of, among others, "Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness". ["I would certainly describe myself as a robust or uncompromising atheist..." [ House Philosopher: An Interview with AC Grayling] , conducted and hosted by (Accessed April 1, 2008)]
* John Harris (1947–): British professor of bioethics at the University of Manchester, and member of the UK Human Genetics Commission. ["Prof Harris, 54, an atheist who has advocated that corpses should become public property to make up for the shortage in transplant organs [...] ." 'Is ANDi a miracle or a monster? Seven philosophers consider the ethical issues raised by the first GM monkey,' Daniel Johnson and Thomas Harding, "Daily Telegraph", January 22, 2001, Pg. 04.]
* Claude Adrien Helvétius (1715–71): French philosopher whose ethical and social views helped shape the school of utilitarianism later made famous by Jeremy Bentham.
* Baron d'Holbach (1723–1789): French philosopher and encyclopedist, most famous as being one of the first outspoken atheists in Europe. [Will and Ariel Durant, "The Age of Voltaire: a History of Civilization in Western Europe from 1715 to 1756, with Special Emphasis on the Conflict between Religion and Philosophy", New York, Simon and Schuster, 1965, pp. 695-714]
* Corliss Lamont (1902–1995): American humanist and Marxist philosopher, and advocate of various left-wing and civil liberties causes. ["As a philosopher he became a firm atheist and loud sceptic on issues of supernature and the afterlife. He concluded in "The Illusion Of Immortality" (1935) that this life was all there was, and that humankind should therefore make the best of it here on earth - a theory honed in "The Philosophy Of Humanism" (1949), which remains a classic in its genre." Jonathan Freedland, 'Obituary: Corliss Lamont', "The Guardian" (London), May 19, 1995, Pg. 14.]
* David Kellogg Lewis (1941–2001): American philosopher. One of the leading thinkers of the second half of the 20th century. ["I am an atheist." [David Lewis, "Evil for Freedom's Sake," in "Papers in Ethics and Social Philosophy", 101-127 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). p. 102] ]
* Peter Lipton (1954–2007): British philosopher, the Hans Rausing Professor and Head of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University until his unexpected death in November 2007. He was "one of the leading philosophers of science and epistemologists in the world." ["A self-confessed "religious atheist", Lipton was fully engaged with his religious culture, taking his family to synagogue on Saturdays and teaching children at the Sabbath school. He did not think it was necessary to believe in God to recognise the value of religion in providing the individual with a moral compass." 'Obituary of Professor Peter Lipton, Inspiring head of Cambridge's department of History and Philosophy whose atheism did not impede his religious observance', "Daily Telegraph", December 17, 2007, Pg. 23.]
* Kazimierz Lyszczynski (1634–1689): Polish noble and philosopher, author of philosophical treatise "De non existentia Dei", condemned to death penalty for atheism and executed. [ [ Kazimierz Lyszczynski's Web List of Atheists and Agnostics] ]
* John Leslie Mackie (1917–1981): Australian philosopher who specialized in meta-ethics as a proponent of moral skepticism. Wrote "The Miracle of Theism", discussing arguments for and against theism and concluding that theism is rationally untenable. [ J. L. Mackie, "The Miracle of Theism", 1982.]
* Michael Martin (1932–): analytic philosopher and professor emeritus at Boston University, author of, amongst others, "Atheism: A Philosophical Justification" (1989) and "The Impossibility of God" (2003). ["Are there really no atheists? No good reason has yet been given for NA and, until one is, we professed atheists have every reason to suppose that we really are atheists." Michael Martin, [ Are There Really No Atheists?] , 1996 (accessed April 21, 2008).]
* Harriet Martineau (1802–1876): was an English writer and philosopher, renowned in her day as a controversial journalist, political economist, abolitionist and life-long feminist. ["She became increasingly skeptical of religious beliefs, including her own liberal Unitarianism, and her avowal of atheism in the "Letters on the Laws of Man's Nature and Development" (1851, with H.G. Atkinson) caused widespread shock." [ Martineau, Harriet] "Encyclopædia Britannica Online", 2008 (Accessed April 15, 2008)]
*Karl Marx (1818–1883): philosopher, political economist, sociologist, humanist, political theorist and revolutionary. Often called the father of communism, Marx was both a scholar and a political activist.Fact|date=September 2008
* Colin McGinn (1950–): British philosopher and author, best known for his work in the philosophy of mind.On the filming of The Atheism Tapes with Jonathan Miller: "We had been friends for a number of years, and had discussed a great many topics, but we had never, except glancingly, ever spoken about religion. We knew about our shared atheism, but the subject didn’t seem to warrant much attention; in the Miller-McGinn world it was a non-existent topic. [...] It is often forgotten that atheism of the kind shared by Jonathan and me (and Dawkins and Hitchens et al) has an ethical motive." [ Atheism Tapes] , Colin McGinn, on his blog. (Accessed April 1, 2008)]
* Jean Meslier (1678–1733): French village Catholic priest who was found, on his death, to have written a book-length philosophical essay, entitled "Common Sense" but commonly referred to as "Meslier's Testament", promoting atheism. [Extracts from "Moi Testament" published as " [ Superstition in All Ages] "] [Will and Ariel Durant, "The Age of Voltaire", 1965, pp. 611-17]
* Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709–51): French physician and philosopher, earliest materialist writer of the Enlightenment, claimed as a founder of cognitive science. [Will and Ariel Durant, "The Age of Voltaire", 1965, pp. 617-22]
* John Stuart Mill (1806–1873): The famous philosopher declared his atheism, and that of his father, in a famous essay published posthumously. [ [ Autobiography, Chapter 2] ]
* Michael Neumann (1946–): American professor of philosophy at Trent University, noted for his work on utilitarianism, rationality and antisemitism. ["Israel is building a racial state, not a religious one. Like my parents, I have always been an atheist. I am entitled by the biology of my birth to Israeli citizenship; you, perhaps, are the most fervent believer in Judaism, but are not." Michael Neumann, ' [ What is Antisemitism?] ', "Counterpunch", June 4, 2002 (accessed August 6, 2008).]
* Kai Nielsen (1926–): adjunct professor of philosophy at Concordia University in Montreal and professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Calgary. ["Since my mid-undergraduate days, I have been an atheist. By now I suppose there are some who would call me a professional atheist troikaing me with Antony Flew and Michael Scriven." Kai Nielsen, "God and the Grounding of Morality", p.155 [] ]
* Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900): German philosopher whose "Beyond Good and Evil" sought to refute traditional notions of morality. Nietzsche penned a memorable secular statement of the Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence in "Thus Spake Zarathustra" and is forever associated with the phrase, "God is dead" (first seen in his book, "The Gay Science"). ["Die fröhliche Wissenschaft", aphorisms 108 and 125 [] )]
* Piergiorgio Odifreddi (1950–): Italian mathematician, philosopher and science writer. [cite web|title=Che fine ha fatto Dio?|url=|author=Piergiorgio Odifreddi|language=Italian|accessdate=2006-10-09]
* Michel Onfray (1958–): French philosopher, founder of Université populaire de Caen, and author of "Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam". [cite web|title=Facts and friction of Easter|url=|author=The Sydney Morning Herald|language=English|accessdate=2008-03-23] [ [ Amazon listing] for "Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam", by Michel Onfray. (Accessed March 23, 2008)]
* Graham Oppy (1960–): Australian philosopher and Associate Dean of Research at Monash University, and Associate Editor of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy. His main area of research is the philosophy of religion. [In [ 'Is God Good By Definition?'] (1992), Oppy presented a logical argument for God's nonexistence based upon an alleged fact of metaethics: the falsity of moral realism. If moral realism is false, then that is a fact that is incompatible with God's existence.]
* Leonard Peikoff (1933–): an Objectivist philosopher, he is Ayn Rand's intellectual and legal heir. He is a former professor of philosophy, a former radio talk show host, and founder of the Ayn Rand Institute. [" an Objectivist I am an atheist." [ Religion vs. America] , by Leonard Peikoff, delivered at the Ford Hall Forum on April 20, 1986, and published in "The Objectivist Forum", June 1986 (Accessed April 15, 2008)]
* Herman Philipse (1951–): professor of philosophy at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Philipse has written many philosophical works in Dutch, including the widely-read "Atheist Manifesto and the Unreasonableness of Religion" ("Atheistisch manifest & De onredelijkheid van religie". ["Herman Philipse is a Dutch professor of Philosophy who gained national notoriety in the Netherlands with his 'Atheist Manifesto.'" [ Divided House: Dutch Debate Nature of Europe’s Culture War] , by Paul Belien, "The Brussels Journal", 2006-03-02 (Accessed April 15, 2008)]
* James Rachels (1941–2003): American philosopher who specialized in ethics. [In [ God and Moral Autonomy] (1997), Rachels argued for the nonexistence of God based on the impossibility of a being worthy of worship.]
* Ayn Rand (1905–1982); founder of Objectivism and novelist.Fact|date=September 2008
* Jean-François Revel (1924–2006): French politician, journalist, author, prolific philosopher and member of the Académie française. ["Despite asserting that he had always loathed the family, both the one he was born into and the ones he had created, in the same year he published "Le Moine et le philosophe" (1997, "The Monk and the Philosopher", 1998), a book-length dialogue between Revel, the convinced atheist, and his son Mathieu Ricard, who had abandoned a potentially brilliant career in molecular biology research to go to live in Asia, to study Buddhism, and who subsequently became a Buddhist monk." David Drake, Obituary: Jean-François Revel, "The Independent" (London), May 10, 2006, Pg. 44.]
* Michael Ruse (1940–): English philosopher of science, known for his work on the argument between creationism and evolutionary biology. ["Philosopher Michael Ruse has written: ' "The God Delusion" makes me embarrassed to be an atheist.' But in all the hype and embarrassment over geneticist Professor Richard Dawkins's anti-religious arguments, there is an important strand in his argument that has been overlooked: his views on morality." Richard Harries, 'It is possible to be moral without God', "The Observer" (England), December 30, 2007, Comment Pages, Pg. 25.]
* Bertrand Russell, (1872–1970): British philosopher and mathematician. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950. Though he considered himself an agnostic in a purely philosophical context, he said that the label "atheist" conveyed a more accurate understanding of his views in a popular context. [Russell said: "As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist... None of us would seriously consider the possibility that all the gods of Homer really exist, and yet if you were to set to work to give a logical demonstration that Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, and the rest of them did not exist you would find it an awful job. You could not get such proof. Therefore, in regard to the Olympic gods, speaking to a purely philosophical audience, I would say that I am an Agnostic. But speaking popularly, I think that all of us would say in regard to those gods that we were Atheists. In regard to the Christian God, I should, I think, take exactly the same line." [ Am I an Agnostic or an Atheist?] , from "Last Philosophical Testament 1943–1968", (1997) Routledge ISBN 0-415-09409-7.]
* George Santayana (1863–1952): Philosopher in the naturalist and pragmatist traditions who called himself a "Catholic atheist." ["Santayana playfully called himself 'a Catholic atheist,' but in spite of the fact that he deliberately immersed himself in the stream of Catholic religious life, he never took the sacraments. He neither literally regarded himself as a Catholic nor did Catholics regard him as a Catholic." [ Empiricism, Theoretical Constructs, and God] , by Kai Nielsen, "The Journal of Religion", Vol. 54, No. 3 (Jul., 1974), pp. 199-217 (p. 205), publishd by The University of Chicago Press] ["My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe, and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests." George Santayana, 'On My Friendly Critics', in "Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies", 1922 (from "Rawson's Dictionary of American Quotations" via [] (accessed August 1, 2008).]
* Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980): French existentialist philosopher, dramatist and novelist who declared that he had been an atheist from age twelve. ["He was so thoroughly an atheist that he rarely mentioned it, considering the topic of God to be beneath dicussion. In his autobiography, "The Words", Sartre recalled deciding at about age twelve that God does not exist, and hardly thinking about it thereafter." "2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubt", James A. Haught, Prometheus Books, 1996.] Although he regarded God as a self-contradictory concept, he still thought of it as an ideal toward which people strive. [cite web | last = Kimball | first = Roger | title = The World According to Sartre| | publisher = The New Criterion | date = 2000 | url = | accessdate = 2006-11-12 ] He rejected the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964. According to Sartre, his most-repeated summary of his existentialist philosophy, "Existence precedes essence," implies that humans must abandon traditional notions of having been designed by a divine creator. [cite web | last = Kemerling | first = Garth | title = Sartre: Existential Life | work = Philosophy Pages | publisher = Britannica Internet Guide Selection | date = October 27, 2001 | url = | accessdate = 2006-11-12 ]
* Michael Schmidt-Salomon (1967–): German philosopher, author and former editor of "MIZ" ("Contemporary Materials and Information: Political magazine for atheists and the irreligious") [MIZ title in German: "Materialien und Informationen zur Zeit (MIZ) (Untertitel: Politisches Magazin für Konfessionslose und AtheistInnen)"] ["Like many other so-called "Atheists" I am also not a "pure" atheist, but actually an "agnostic"..." [*:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7TSHB Life without God: A decision for the people] (Automatic Google translation of the [ original] , hosted at Schmidt-Salomon's website), by Michael Schmidt-Salomon November 19, 1996, first published in: "Education and Criticism: Journal of Humanistic Philosophy and Free Thinking" January 1997 (Accessed April 1, 2008)]
*Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860): Pessimistic German philosopher and author of the book The World as Will and Representation. ["Within Schopenhauer's vision of the world as Will, there is no God to be comprehended, and the world is conceived of as being meaningless." [] ]
*John Searle (1932–): American philosopher, Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, widely noted for contributions to the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind, and to social philosophy. [Reviewing an episode of the Channel 4 series "Voices": "On the one hand, Sir John Eccles, a quiet-spoken theist with the most devastating way of answering questions with a single "yes", on the other, Professor Searle, a flamboyant atheist using words I've never heard of or likely to again "now we know that renal secretions synthesize a substance called angiotensin and that angiotensin gets into the hypothalamus and causes a series of neuron firings". " Peter Dear, 'Today's television and radio programmes', "The Times", February 22, 1984; pg. 31; Issue 61764; col A.]

*Peter Singer (1946–): Australian utilitarian philosopher, proponent of animal rights, and Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. [cite news | first = Joyce Howard | last = Price | title = Princeton bioethicist argues Christianity hurts animals | url = | work = The Washington Times | date = July 4, 2002| quote =I am an atheist.]
* George H. Smith (1949–): Libertarian philosopher, author and educator. Smith authored "Atheism: The Case Against God". ["This book is a presentation and defense of atheism." "Atheism: The Case Against God", by George H. Smith, Prometheus Books, 1989, ISBN 0-87975-124-X]
* Quentin Smith (1952–): Philosopher and professor of philosophy at Western Michigan University. Smith co-authored the book "Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology" with William Lane Craig. [Smith has written [ numerous papers] arguing for the nonexistence of God. ]
* Theodorus the Atheist (lived around 300 BCE): Philosopher of the Cyrenaic school who taught that the goal of life was to obtain joy and avoid grief. ["Theodorus, the atheistic philosopher of Cyrene, appears in Athens during the Phalerean regime." [ Athenian Impiety Trials in the Late Fourth Century B. C.] , L. L. O'Sullivan, "The Classical Quarterly", New Series, Vol. 47, No. 1 (1997), pp. 136-152 (p. 142), published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Classical Association]
* Sir Bernard Williams FBA (1929–2003): British philosopher, widely cited as the most important British moral philosopher of his time. ["While Shirley was (and is) a devout Catholic and so took the marriage as a commitment for eternity, Bernard, an atheist, had not done so when he made the wedding vows. Shirley says: "The Church and Bernard had a wonderful time debating all this. The theologians were so thrilled to be discussing it with a leading philosopher." " Stuart Jeffries, 'Profile: Bernard Williams', "The Guardian", November 30, 2002, Saturday Review, Pg. 20.]
*Sherwin Wine (1928–2007): Founder of the non-theistic Society for Humanistic Judaism, who has also called himself an "ignostic". [Wine said "I am an atheist." [,9171,839200,00.html Time Magazine January 29, 1965] ]
* Slavoj Žižek (1949–): Slovenian sociologist, postmodern philosopher, and cultural critic. [ [ Atheism is a legacy worth fighting for] (as reprinted in the "International Herald Tribune"), an editorial by Slavoj Zizek, "The New York Times", Tuesday, March 14, 2006 (Accessed July 2, 2007).]

Notes and references


* Haught, James A. "2,000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubt". Amherst: Prometheus Books, 1996. ISBN 1-57392-067-3

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