List of atheist philosophers
There have been many philosophers in recorded history who were atheists. This is a list of atheist philosophers with articles in Wikipedia. Living persons in this list are people whose atheism is relevant to their notable activities or public life, and who have publicly identified themselves as atheists.
- John Anderson (1893–1962): Scottish-born Australian philosopher, founder of the empirical philosophy known as 'Sydney realism'.
- Hector Avalos (1958–): Mexican-American professor of Religious Studies at Iowa State University and author of several books about religion.
- A. J. Ayer (1910–1989): British philosopher and an advocate of logical positivism. Though technically he viewed the concept of God existing as meaningless, he was happy to call himself an atheist.
- Alain Badiou (1937–): French philosopher.
- Julian Baggini (1968–): British writer specialising in philosophy, author of Atheism: A Very Short Introduction.
- Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876): Russian philosopher, writer and anarchist.
- Bruno Bauer (1809–1882): German philosopher, theologian and historian, the first propounder of the Jesus myth hypothesis.
- Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986): French author and existentialist philosopher. Beauvoir wrote novels and monographs on philosophy, politics, social issues and feminism.
- Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832): English author, jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. He is best known for his advocacy of utilitarianism.
- Simon Blackburn (1944–): British academic atheist philosopher known for his efforts to popularise philosophy.
- Célestin Bouglé (1870–1940): French philosopher known for his role as one of Émile Durkheim's collaborators and a member of the L'Année Sociologique.
- Yaron Brook (1961–): Israeli-born president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.
- Ludwig Büchner (1824–1899): German philosopher, physiologist and physician who became one of the exponents of 19th century scientific materialism.
- 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.
- 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.
- David Chalmers (1966–): Australian philosopher of mind.
- Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya (1918–1993): Bengali Marxist philosopher.
- Nikolay Chernyshevsky (1828–1889): Russian revolutionary democrat, materialist philosopher, critic, and socialist.
- Auguste Comte (1798–1857): French positivist thinker, credited with coining the term "sociologie" ("sociology").
- André Comte-Sponville (1952–): French philosopher, author of L'Esprit de l'athéisme (2006) and The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality (2007).
- Marquis de Condorcet (1743–1794): French philosopher, mathematician, and early political scientist who devised the concept of a Condorcet method.
- Benedetto Croce (1866–1952): Italian philosopher and public figure.
- Donald Davidson (1917–2003): American philosopher.
- 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.
- Daniel Dennett (1942–): American philosopher, author of Breaking the Spell.
- Henry Louis Vivian Derozio (1809–1831): Anglo-Indian poet and teacher.
- John Dewey (1859–1952): American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey was an important early developer of the philosophy of pragmatism and one of the founders of functional psychology. He was a major representative of progressive education and liberalism.
- Diagoras of Melos (5th century BC): Ancient Greek poet and sophist known as the Atheist of Milos, who declared that there were no Gods.
- Denis Diderot (1713–84): editor-in-chief of the Encyclopédie.
- Theodore Drange (1934–): Philosopher of religion and Professor Emeritus at West Virginia University. Drange authored Nonbelief & Evil: Two arguments for the nonexistence of God.
- Paul Edwards (1923–2004): Austrian-American moral philosopher and editor of The Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- Empedocles (c. 490–430 BC): Greek pre-Socratic philosopher and a citizen of Agrigentum, a Greek city in Sicily. Empedocles' philosophy is best known for being the originator of the cosmogenic theory of the four Classical elements.
- Dylan Evans (1966–): British philosopher, known for his work on emotion and the placebo effect.
- Fan Zhen (circa 450 – 515): Chinese philosopher remembered today for his treatise Shén Miè Lùn ("On the Annihilation of the Soul").
- 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.
- 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.
- William Godwin (1756–1836): English journalist, political philosopher and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism, and the first modern proponent of anarchism.
- A. C. Grayling (1949–): British philosopher and author of, among others, Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness.
- John Harris (1947–): British professor of bioethics at the University of Manchester, and member of the UK Human Genetics Commission.
- Sam Harris (1967–): American author, philosopher, and neuroscientist. He is the co-founder and CEO of Project Reason.
- Claude Adrien Helvétius (1715–71): French philosopher whose ethical and social views helped shape the school of utilitarianism later made famous by Jeremy Bentham.
- Heraclitus (c. 535 BC–c. 475 BC): pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, a native of the Greek city Ephesus, Ionia, on the coast of Asia Minor. He was of distinguished parentage. Little is known about his early life and education, but he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom. From the lonely life he led, and still more from the riddling nature of his philosophy and his contempt for humankind in general, he was called "The Obscure" and the "Weeping Philosopher".
- Eric Hoffer (1902–1983): American moral and social philosopher. He was the author of ten books and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in February 1983. His first book, The True Believer, published in 1951, was widely recognized as a classic, receiving critical acclaim from both scholars and laymen.
- Baron d'Holbach (1723–1789): French philosopher and encyclopedist, most famous as being one of the first outspoken atheists in Europe.
- Alexandre Kojève (1902–1968): Russian-born French philosopher and statesman.
- Corliss Lamont (1902–1995): American humanist and Marxist philosopher, and advocate of various left-wing and civil liberties causes.
- David Kellogg Lewis (1941–2001): American philosopher. One of the leading thinkers of the second half of the 20th century.
- 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."
- Kazimierz Łyszczyński (also known in English as "Casimir Liszinski"; 1634–89): Polish-Lithuanian nobleman and philosopher, author of a philosophical treatise, De non existentia Dei (On the Non-existence of God), who was condemned to death and brutally executed for atheism.
- 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.
- 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).
- Harriet Martineau (1802–1876): an English writer and philosopher, renowned in her day as a controversial journalist, political economist, abolitionist and lifelong feminist.
- 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. In 1843, Karl Marx published Contribution to Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, in which he dealt more substantively with religion, describing it as "the opiate of the people".
- Colin McGinn (1950–): British philosopher and author, best known for his work in the philosophy of mind.
- 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.
- Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709–51): French physician and philosopher, earliest materialist writer of the Enlightenment, claimed as a founder of cognitive science.
- John Stuart Mill (1806–1873): The famous philosopher declared his atheism, and that of his father, in a famous essay published posthumously.
- Ted Nelson (1937–): American sociologist, philosopher, and pioneer of information technology. He coined the terms "hypertext" and "hypermedia" in 1963 and published them in 1965.
- Michael Neumann (1946–): American professor of philosophy at Trent University, noted for his work on utilitarianism, rationality and anti-Semitism.
- Kai Nielsen (1926–): adjunct professor of philosophy at Concordia University in Montreal and professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Calgary.
- 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 Spoke Zarathustra and is forever associated with the phrase, "God is dead" (first seen in his book, The Gay Science).
- Piergiorgio Odifreddi (1950–): Italian mathematician and popular science writer.
- Michel Onfray (1958–): French philosopher, founder of Université populaire de Caen, and author of Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
- 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.
- Leonard Peikoff (1933–): an Objectivist philosopher, Ayn Rand's legal heir. He is a former professor of philosophy, a former radio talk show host, and founder of the Ayn Rand Institute.
- 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).
- Protagoras, (died 420 BC), Greek Sophist and first major Humanist, who wrote that the existence of the gods was unknowable.
- Willard Van Orman Quine (1908–2000): American philosopher and logician.
- Thanthai Periyar (1879-1973) Indian philosopher, social activist, politician and businessman affectionately called by his followers as Periyar or E. V. R., who started the Self-Respect Movement or the Dravidian Movement. He is also the founder of political party, Dravidar Kazhagam Periyar E. V. Ramasamy
- James Rachels (1941–2003): American philosopher who specialized in ethics.
- Ayn Rand (1905–1982): Russian-American founder of Objectivism and novelist.
- John Rawls (1921–2002): American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy.
- Jean-François Revel (1924–2006): French politician, journalist, author, prolific philosopher and member of the Académie française.
- Richard Rorty (1931–2007): American philosopher.
- Alex Rosenberg (1946–): Philosopher of science, author of The Atheist's Guide to Reality
- Michael Ruse (1940–): English philosopher of science, known for his work on the argument between creationism and evolutionary biology.
- Bertrand Russell (1872–1970): British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic.
- Nathan Salmon (1951-): American philosopher and distinguished professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, whose writings include work on fictional characters and mythical objects.
- George Santayana (1863–1952): Philosopher in the naturalist and pragmatist traditions who called himself a "Catholic atheist."
- Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980): French existentialist philosopher, dramatist and novelist who declared that he had been an atheist from age twelve. Although he regarded God as a self-contradictory concept, he still thought of it as an ideal toward which people strive. 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.
- Moritz Schlick (1882–1936): German philosopher, physicist and the founding father of logical positivism and the Vienna Circle.
- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860): Pessimistic German philosopher and author of the book The World as Will and Representation.
- 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.
- Peter Singer (1946–): Australian utilitarian philosopher, proponent of animal rights, and Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University.
- George H. Smith (1949–): Libertarian philosopher, author and educator. Smith authored Atheism: The Case Against God.
- 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.
- Herbert Spencer (1820–1903), English philosopher, biologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era.
- Max Stirner (1806–1856): German philosopher, who ranks as one of the fathers of nihilism, existentialism, post-modernism and anarchism, especially of individualist anarchism. Stirner's main work is The Ego and Its Own.
- Theodorus the Atheist (lived around 300 BC): Philosopher of the Cyrenaic school who taught that the goal of life was to obtain joy and avoid grief.
- Lucilio Vanini (1585–1619), Italian philosopher, brutally executed for his atheism.
- Sir Bernard Williams FBA (1929–2003): British philosopher, widely cited as the most important British moral philosopher of his time.
- Sherwin Wine (1928–2007): Founder of the non-theistic Society for Humanistic Judaism, who has also called himself an "ignostic".
- Slavoj Žižek (1949–): Slovenian sociologist, postmodern philosopher, and cultural critic.
Notes and references
- "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).
- 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).
- "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.
- Frederiek Depoortere (2009). Badiou and Theology. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 110. ISBN 9780567032621.
In the light of all this, it may not come as a surprise that Badiou, himself a self-proclaimed atheist and anti-cleric, though he recognizes the breakthrough wrought by Cantor in mathematics, nevertheless accuses him of 'the folly of trying to save God'.
- "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).
- Multiple quotes from Bakunin substantiating his atheist views .
- "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).
- "[Beauvoir] remained an atheist until her death." Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986), The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Accessed April 21, 2008)
- "I cannot be angry at God, in whom I do not believe." Haught (1996), p. 293
- James E. Crimmins (1986). Bentham on Religion: Atheism and the Secular Society. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 95. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
Bentham was an atheist and in no sense of the word could he be described as a theologian.
- Ana Marta González, ed. (2012). Contemporary Perspectives on Natural Law: Natural Law As a Limiting Concept. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 81. ISBN 9781409485667.
In sum, with Hume's agnosticism and Bentham's atheism, the fundamental voluntarist thesis about the gulf between the divine and the human mind reaches new depths, and this serves to reinforce and radicalize the rejection, begun by Pufendorf, of Grotian rights-theory as the appropriate means of formulating the conventionalist theory of the moral life.
- James E. Crimmins (1990). Secular Utilitarianism: Social Science and the Critique of Religion in the Thought of Jeremy Bentham. Clarendon Press. p. 283. ISBN 9780198277415.
Making allowance for Adams's cautious phrasing, this is a concise statement of Bentham's secular positivism, but it is also important to note the conviction with which Bentham held his atheism.
- "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.)
- Helen Heran Jun (2011). Race for Citizenship: Black Orientalism and Asian Uplift from Pre-Emancipation to Neoliberal America. NYU Press. p. 47. ISBN 9780814742976.
During her dissertation defense, Cooper responded to Bouglé, an atheist, that God's presence in all human beings, or “the singing something,” was the origin of the principles of equality, justice, and democratic freedom.
- " Asked if Rand was an atheist, [Yaron] Brook said, "Yes, she was - and I have been since the age of 6, before I read Ayn Rand. But more than anti-religion, she was for reason. She spends time on the positive. She believed the way to evaluate things in life and reality is through reason, rational thought. That's what we try to emphasize." " George Hohmann, 'Ayn Rand relevant today, speaker says', Charleston Daily Mail (West Virginia), June 1, 2009, Pg. P5A (accessed 5 June 2009).
- "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).
- R. Carnap: Intellectual Autobiography. in: P. A. Schilpp (editor): The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap. Cambridge University Press, La Salle (Illinois) 1963.
- 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.
- "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).
- The problem of consciousness meets "Intelligent Design", David Chalmers's blog ("As it happens, I'm an atheist").
- Ana Siljak, Angel of Vengeance, page 58
- "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–March 1978), pp. 61-79.
- "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).
- "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
- Stated in Will Durant's Outlines of Philosophy
- Giancarlo Marchetti (May–Jun 2012). "Donald Davidson Interview". Philosophy Now.
Interviewer: "What is your relation with religion? Which religion do you think is true?" Donald Davidson: "None. I am an atheist, and always have been. Many of the claims of religion are good candidates for propositions that lack a truth value."
- "Deleuze's atheist philosophy of immanence is an artistic (or criative) power at work on theology" Deleuze and Religion. Mary Bryden (2002). Routledge, p. 157.
- "Deleuze's atheist critique is powerful (...)" Iconoclastic Theology: Gilles Deleuze and the Secretion of Atheism. F. LeRon Shults (2014). Edinburgh University Press, p. 103.
- Dennett, Daniel C. (2006), Breaking the Spell, Viking (Penguin), ISBN 0-670-03472-X
- Derozio and the Hindu College
- A. G. Rud, Jim Garrison, Lynda Stone, ed. (2009). Dewey at One Hundred Fifty. Purdue University Press. p. 22. ISBN 9781557535504.
With respect to his personal beliefs, Dewey wrote to Max Otto that “I feel the gods are pretty dead, tho I suppose I ought to know that however, to be somewhat more philosophical in the matter, if atheism means simply not being a theist, then of course I'm an atheist. But the popular if not the etymological significance of the word is much wider. ...Although he described himself as an atheist in one sense of the term, it is also clear that Dewey was opposed to militant atheism for the same reason that he was opposed to supernaturalism: he thought both positions dogmatic.
- 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
- Will and Ariel Durant, Rousseau and Revolution, p. 183
- "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
- "'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)
- Warren Allen Smith (2000). Who's who in hell: a handbook and international directory for humanists, freethinkers, naturalists, rationalists, and non-theists. Barricade Books. p. 339. ISBN 9781569801581.
He explicitly denied anthropomorphic deity: "None of the gods has formed the world, nor has any man; it has always been."
- Orlando Jay Smith (1902). Eternalism: a theory of infinite justice. Houghton, Mifflin and company.
Empedocles: None of the gods has formed the world, nor has any man; it has always been.
- "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.
- 李, 鴻雲;朱, 利. 中國盤古之鄉 歷史文化厚重 (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Wen Wei Po. Retrieved 2011-01-13.
- "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).
- "If I were not a total atheist, I would be a monk...a good monk." David Macey (2004). Michel Foucault. Reaktion Books, p. 130.
- "(...) the writings of such atheistic post-modernists as Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, Julia Kristeva, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Roland Barthes and Jean-François Lyotard." Michael D. Waggoner (2011). Sacred and Secular Tensions in Higher Education: Connecting Parallel Universities. Taylor & Francis, pg. 88.
- "Coleridge also introduced Charles Lamb to Godwin. Lamb had shown some sympathy for the New Philosophy but the arguments of Coleridge and his own religiosity and common sense quickly turned him against it. He was particularly repelled by Godwin's atheism." Peter H. Marshall, William Godwin (1984), page 240.
- "I would certainly describe myself as a robust or uncompromising atheist..." House Philosopher: An Interview with AC Grayling, conducted and hosted by Amazon.co.uk (Accessed April 1, 2008)
- "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.
- "About Sam Harris". July 5, 2010. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
Mr. Harris is a Co–Founder and CEO of Project Reason, a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. He began and eventually received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA.
- Michael Lahanas. "Heraclitus". Retrieved 10 July 2012.
He is an atheist. "The world is not a work of God or anybody. This cosmos was not made by gods or men, but always was, and is, and ever shall be ever-living fire." "αἰὼν παῖς ἐστι παίζων, πεσσεύων· παιδὸς ἡ βασιληίη"
- Thomas Bethell (2012). Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher. Hoover Press. p. 7. ISBN 9780817914165.
Hoffer's attitude toward religion was hard to pin down. He generally described himself as an atheist, yet during our interview he described religion as a significant source of leadership.
- 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
- Nasser Behnegar (2005). Leo Strauss, Max Weber, And The Scientific Study Of Politics. University of Chicago Press. p. 143. ISBN 9780226041438.
Consider the difference in Strauss's treatment of Alexandre Kojève, who was openly an atheist, a Stalinist, and one whose thought, in Strauss's words, produces “an amazingly lax morality” (WPP, 111).
- "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.
- "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]
- "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.
- The Kazimierz Łyszczyński Internet List of Atheists and Agnostics, of the Polish Society of Rationalists (in Polish)
- Aleksander Gieysztor et al., History of Poland, 1979, p. 261.
- Jerzy Kłoczowski, A History of Polish Christianity, 2000, p. 155.
- J. L. Mackie, The Miracle of Theism, 1982.
- "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).
- "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 (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)". Plato.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
- 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)
- Extracts from Moi Testament published as Superstition in All Ages
- Will and Ariel Durant, The Age of Voltaire, 1965, pp. 611-17
- Will and Ariel Durant, The Age of Voltaire, 1965, pp. 617-22
- Darrell Berg (2009). Darrell Berg, ed. The Correspondence of Christian Gottfried Krause: A Music Lover in the Age of Sensibility. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 106. ISBN 9780754664291.
Yet Friedrich, after he had ascertained that La Mettrie had not renounced his atheism on his deathbed,...
- Henry R. West (2004). An Introduction to Mill's Utilitarian Ethics. Cambridge University Press. p. 22. ISBN 9780521535410.
Mill had no religious instruction as a child, growing up an atheist.
- Linda C. Raeder (2002). "Spirit of the Age". John Stuart Mill and the Religion of Humanity. University of Missouri Press. p. 65. ISBN 9780826263278.
Comte welcomed the prospect of being attacked publicly for his irreligion, he said, as this would permit him to clarify the nonatheistic nature of his and Mill's “atheism”.
- Autobiography, Chapter 2
- "Nelson's hatred of conventional structure made him difficult to educate. Bored and disgusted by school, he once plotted to stab his seventh-grade teacher with a sharpened screwdriver, but lost his nerve at the last minute and walked out of the classroom, never to return. On his long walk home, he came up with the four maxims that have guided his life: most people are fools, most authority is malignant, God does not exist, and everything is wrong." Warren Allen Smith, Celebrities in Hell, pages 88-89.
- "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).
- "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 
- Die fröhliche Wissenschaft, aphorisms 108 and 125 )
- Piergiorgio Odifreddi. "Che fine ha fatto Dio?" (in Italian). Retrieved 2006-10-09.
- The Sydney Morning Herald (March 21, 2008). "Facts and friction of Easter". Retrieved 2008-03-23.
- Amazon listing for Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, by Michel Onfray. (Accessed March 23, 2008)
- 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.
- "...as 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 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)
- Only fragments of Protagoras' treatise On the Gods survive, but it opens with the sentence: "Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not or of what sort they may be. Many things prevent knowledge including the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life."
- "In my third year of high school I walked often with my new Jamaican friends, Fred and Harold Cassidy, trying to convert them from their Episcopalian faith to atheism." Willard Van Orman Quine, Lewis Edwin Hahn, Paul Arthur Schilpp, The Philosophy of W.V. Quine (1986).
- Elisheva Carlebach, Jacob J. Schacter, ed. (2011). New Perspectives on Jewish-Christian Relations. BRILL. p. 506. ISBN 9789004221178.
- In God and Moral Autonomy (1997), Rachels argued for the nonexistence of God based on the impossibility of a being worthy of worship.
- Ronald J. Sider, Paul Charles Kemeny, Derek H. Davis, Clarke E. Cochran, Corwin Smidt (2009). Church, State and Public Justice: Five Views. InterVarsity Press. p. 34. ISBN 9780830874743.
Religious beliefs, argues John Rawls—a Harvard philosopher and self- identifying atheist—can be so divisive in a pluralistic culture that they subvert the stability of a society.
- "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.
- Christopher J. Voparil, Richard J. Bernstein, ed. (2010). "Trotsky and the Wild Orchids". The Rorty Reader. John Wiley & Sons. p. 509. ISBN 9781405198318.
The orthodox tend to think that people who, like the postmodernists and me, believe neither in God nor in some suitable substitute, should think that everything is permitted, that everybody can do what they like.
- "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.
- "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), published 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 credoreference.com (accessed August 1, 2008).
- "He was so thoroughly an atheist that he rarely mentioned it, considering the topic of God to be beneath discussion. 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.
- Kimball, Roger (2000). "The World According to Sartre". The New Criterion. Retrieved 2006-11-12.
- Kemerling, Garth (October 27, 2001). "Sartre: Existential Life". Philosophy Pages. Britannica Internet Guide Selection. Retrieved 2006-11-12.
- William J. Deangelis (172). Ludwig Wittgenstein - a Cultural Point of View: Philosophy in the Darkness of This Time. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 9781409485377.
Positivists did not merely reject religious discourse as meaningless, they rejected religion. They thought of religious belief as confused and nonsensical. ...their unofficial leader, Moritz Schlick, thought of religion as a kind of childhood phase in the intellectual development of humankind, a phase that will wither and become obsolete as scientific ways of knowing become the accepted paradigm. To this extent, one can say that Schlick's attitude and that of most of his fellow Positivists was atheistic.
- David A. Leeming, Kathryn Madden, Stanton Marlan, ed. (2009). Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion, Volume 2. Springer. p. 824. ISBN 9780387718019.
A more accurate statement might be that for a German – rather than a French or British writer of that time – Schopenhauer was an honest and open atheist.
- Raymond B. Marcin (2006). In Search of Schopenhauer's Cat: Arthur Schopenhauer's Quantum-Mystical Theory of Justice. CUA Press. p. 122. ISBN 9780813214306.
It is easy to find many of the underpinnings of Schopenhauer's doctrine of the denial of the will to live in the Theologia Germanica, but only if one is willing to gainsay the anonymous author's theism and Schopenhauer's atheism.
- Dale Jacquette, ed. (2007). Schopenhauer, Philosophy and the Arts. Cambridge University Press. p. 22. ISBN 9780521044066.
For Kant, the mathematical sublime, as seen for example in the starry heavens, suggests to imagination the infinite, which in turn leads by subtle turns of contemplation to the concept of God. Schopenhauer's atheism will have none of this, and he rightly observes that despite adopting Kant's distinction between the dynamical and mathematical sublime, his theory of the sublime, making reference to the struggles and sufferings of struggles and sufferings of Will, is unlike Kant's.
- B. R. Hergenhahn (2008). An Introduction to the History of Psychology. Cengage Learning. p. 216. ISBN 9780495506218.
Although Schopenhauer was an atheist, he re- alized that his philosophy of denial had been part of several great religions; for example, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
- "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." 
- 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.
- Price, Joyce Howard (July 4, 2002). "Princeton bioethicist argues Christianity hurts animals". The Washington Times.
I am an atheist.
- "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
- Smith has written numerous papers arguing for the nonexistence of God.
- Naomi Zack (2010). "Herbert Spencer". Philosophy. Visible Ink Press. p. 250. ISBN 9781578592265.
Herbert Spencer was an atheist who believed science was the only way to uncover true knowledge.
- "As he wrote: "Stirner's egoism springs from a conscious and total atheism, with this playful indifference and apathy to any higher essence being the prerequisite for encountering one's own being, one's uniqueness, Einzigkeit." Laurel Jean Fredrickson, Duke University, Kate Millett and Jean-Jacques Lebel: Sexual outlaws in the intermedia borderlands of art and politics, page 136.
- "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
- Ann Thomson (1981). Discours Préliminaire. Librairie Droz. p. 130. ISBN 9782600035859.
Another example of the virtuous atheist given by La Mettrie is Lucilio Vanini, burned for atheism in Toulouse in 1619.
- Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Austin M. Farrer, E. M. Huggard (2010). Austin M. Farrer, ed. Theodicy. Cosimo, Inc. p. 434. ISBN 9781616402952.
Here is another example cited by the author: an atheist, a man like Lucilio Vanini (that is what many people call him, whereas he himself adopts the magnificent name of Giulio Cesare Vanini in his works), will suffer a preposterous martyrdom for his chimera rather than renounce his impiety.
- "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.
- Wine said "I am an atheist." Time Magazine January 29, 1965
- Atheism is a legacy worth fighting for, an editorial by Slavoj Zizek, The New York Times, Monday, March 13, 2006 (Accessed April 22, 2012).
- Haught, James A. 2,000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubt. Amherst: Prometheus Books, 1996. ISBN 1-57392-067-3