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William Paley

Author Code: EWPX

Born: Jul., 1743 - Peterborough, England

Died: May 25, 1805 - Lincoln, England

Educated at Christ College, Cambridge, Paley took a position as usher at an academy in Greenwich in 1763. In 1766, he became a Fellow of Christ College where he lectured on morals and metaphysics. He was ordained a priest in 1767 and appointed to the rectory of Musgrave in Cumberland. In 1776, he resigned in order to take the vicarage of the parishes of Appleby and Dalston. In 1780, he became prebendary at Carlisle and, in 1782, the archdeacon. In 1785, he was named chancellor of the diocese. In 1795, he was given the prebend of St. Pancras in St. Paul's Cathedral. That same year, he was given the subdeanery of Lincoln and the rectory of Bishop Warmouth. He then moved to Lincoln permanently. Paley adopted a common-sense approach to theology and philosophy which was often geared to the writing of text-books, but often left little space for original creative thinking. In 1786, he published The Moral and Political Philosophy at the urging of his friend from Cambridge, John Law. In 1794, Horce Paulince, undoubtedly his most original work, appeared. Later that same year, he published A View of the Evidences of Christianity. The work which Paley is best known is Natural Theology: or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected From the Appearances of Nature (1802), in which he puts forth the analogy of a complex organism being dropped suddenly among foreign surroundings, illustrated by the finding of a watch. The opposition to his theories gave birth to theories on natural selection and adaptation to environment, subsequently put forward by Darwin ,et al. Paley's other works included Reason for Contentment (1793), Dangers Incidental to the Clerical Character (1795), Sermons on Several Subjects and Sermons and Tracts (both 1808, posthumously).

eBook Code Title/Sub-Title Pub. Yr Pages File Size Type Download Format Find Printed Copy
EWPX002 Evidences of Christianity 1794 183 951k eBook Download PDF - 'Evidences of Christianity' (EWPX002) Find a printed copy of Evidences of Christianity by William Paley at AbeBooks
EWPX001 Natural Theology 1802 151 835k eBook Download PDF - 'Natural Theology' (EWPX001) Find a printed copy of Natural Theology by William Paley at AbeBooks

Note: An Asterisk (*) after an author´s name signifies that this is a Pseudonym



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