Date of Award

Spring 2000

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Prendergast, Thomas J.

Second Advisor

Harrison, Stanley

Third Advisor

Anderson, Thomas


The motivation for my critical assessment of the moral dimensions of Michael Martin's atheology is to defend the intellectual integrity or rationality of theism in the face of the arguments marshaled by Martin against it. To dare, no substantive published response has been made to Martin-in book or dissertation form. The richness of Martin's work Atheism: A Philosophical Justification and, to a lesser extent, his popular-level book The Big Domino in the Sky calls for a response. Martin is a significant contributor to atheism's defense, and I do not believe he has received the attention that he deserves. As Martin has written on a broad range of themes within the philosophy of religion, it is necessary for one to delimit the scope of material covered, and I have chosen to restrict myself to the discussion of the moral aspects of Martin's thought. These include a discussion of (1) the meaning of life and of human persons as the proper foundation for discussing objective morality or meta-ethical theories; (2) the moral argument as indicative of God's existence (with prefatory discussion of the place of natural theology-with all of its possibilities as well as its limitations); (3) the Euthyphro argument as a potential defeater for a theistically-grounded morality; (4) various non-theistic ethical frameworks to which Martin appeals which purportedly offer a defense of moral realism without God.



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