Michael Martin (philosopher)

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Michael Martin
Born (1932-02-03)February 3, 1932
Died May 27, 2015(2015-05-27) (aged 83)
Nationality American
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Analytic philosophy
Main interests
Philosophy of social science, philosophy of law, philosophy of religion, weak atheism
Notable ideas
The transcendental argument for the nonexistence of God[1]

Michael L. Martin (February 3, 1932 – May 27, 2015) was an American philosopher and former professor at Boston University.[2] He obtained his PhD from Harvard University in 1962.

Martin specialized in the philosophy of religion, though he also worked on the philosophies of science, law, and social science. He is the author or editor of a number of books, including Atheism: A Philosophical Justification (1989), The Case Against Christianity (1991), Atheism, Morality, and Meaning (2002), The Impossibility of God (2003), The Improbability of God (2006), and The Cambridge Companion to Atheism (2006). He sat on the editorial board of the philosophy journal, Philo.[3] He died in 2015, aged 83.[4]


In his Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, Martin cites a general absence of an atheistic response to contemporary work in philosophy of religion, and accepts the responsibility of a rigorous defense of nonbelief as his "cross to bear:"

The aim of this book is not to make atheism a popular belief or even to overcome its invisibility. My object is not utopian. It is merely to provide good reasons for being an atheist. … My object is to show that atheism is a rational position and that belief in God is not. I am quite aware that atheistic beliefs are not always based on reason. My claim is that they should be.[5]


  • Martin, M. and K. Augustine (2015) The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death, Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-8108-8677-3
  • Martin, M., & Monnier, R. (Eds.). (2003). The Impossibility of God. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-1591021209
  • Martin, M. (2002). Atheism, Morality and Meaning. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-1573929875
  • Martin, M. (1991). The Case Against Christianity. Philadelphia: Temple University. ISBN 978-1566390811
  • Martin, M. (1989). Atheism: A Philosophical Justification. Philadelphia: Temple University. ISBN 978-0877229438
  • Martin, M. (1987). The Legal Philosophy of H. L. A. Hart: A Critical Appraisal. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. ISBN 978-0877224716

See also


  1. Michael Martin, "The Transcendental Argument for the Nonexistence of God", The New Zealand Rationalist & Humanist, Autumn 1996.
  2. "Michael Martin". Boston University. Retrieved 2007-05-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>; "Michael Martin". Secular Web Kiosk and Bookstore. Retrieved 2007-05-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Philo, accessed April 15, 2010.
  4. Lowder, Jeffery (2015-05-28). "Michael Martin Has Died". Patheos. Retrieved 2015-05-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, p. 24.

External links