Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jordan Howard Sobel (1929-2010)

Prosblogion reports the death of Jordan Howard Sobel, author of Logic and Theism, which Robert Koons has described as the best book on philosophy or religion written from an atheistic point of view since J. L. Mackie’s The Miracle of Theism. A commenter at Prosblogion who had met Sobel remarks that among his noteworthy qualities “was his love for philosophy of religion as a discipline and method of inquiry. We talked about how it seems to be the case that many non-theistic philosophers reject philosophy of religion as essentially a waste of time... Prof. Sobel seemed utterly unable to understand how anyone could just dismiss [it], even if at the end of the day he found philosophical reflection unable to justify belief in God.”

They don’t make atheist philosophers like they used to. With Mackie, Flew, and Sobel now all gone, serious philosophical atheists seem very thin on the ground indeed. Smart and Smith are two good counterexamples; but one fears that the likes of Dennett and Rey might be a better indicator of the wave of the future.


  1. Well, now he knows. :) "Lead all souls into heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy."

  2. That's a real shame, RIP Sobel. I've only really read a small chunk of his work, but you can tell he was a very thoughtful and well respected thinker even amongst his critics. Well at least he'll be succeeded by... the new atheists and the internet infidels?


  3. Did Sobel die in a state of reasonable doubt? It would be hard to argue otherwise.