William Paley

Authored by: Roger White

Early Modern Philosophy of Religion

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9781844652228
eBook ISBN: 9781315729619
Adobe ISBN: 9781317546450

10.4324/9781315729619.ch23

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Abstract

William Paley was a clergyman, philosopher, and religious apologist, best known for his classic presentation of the argument from design. Born in July 1743 in Peterborough, England, Paley trained for the Anglican priesthood at Christ’s College, Cambridge. He was later appointed fellow and tutor at Christ’s College and lectured in various philosophical subjects, most significantly in moral theory. He rose gradually through the ranks of the Anglican Church, eventually becoming Archdeacon of Carlisle, and sub-dean at Lincoln Cathedral. His latitudinarian views and insistence on basing Christian belief and ethics on reason raised suspicion in some quarters. This may have prevented him from higher appointments in the Church. He died on 25 May 1805.

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