Paley, William


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Paley, William,

1743–1805, English theologian. Ordained in 1767, he lectured on moral philosophy at Christ's College, Cambridge. Made a prebendary of the cathedral church of Carlisle (1780), he became archdeacon of the diocese (1782), and chancellor (1785), the year he published Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy. He wrote Horae Paulinae (1790), in proof that the New Testament is not "a cunningly devised fable," and A View of the Evidences of Christianity (1794), for which he is celebrated. Natural Theology; or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity (1802) achieved great popularity. In 1825 a complete edition of his writings was published by his son, Edmund Paley.
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Rather, the picture drawn from the availability of books in Australia is of a deep engagement with what Jonathan Israel (2010) has called the 'conservative enlightenment', an intellectual environment where the liberals like Adam Smith and John Locke were in contest with conservatives such as William Paley, William Blackstone and Edmund Burke.
Ruse invokes William Paley, William Whewell, John Herschel, Charles Lyell, and (distantly) Adam Smith, among others.