William Paley Bibliography

The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy 1785
In the Preface Paley explains that one of the reasons for him writing the Principles was the effect which Rousseau’s political theory was supposed to have had on the civil crisis in Geneva. Paley lectured on moral and political philosophy at Cambridge and became the Archeacon of Carlisle in 1782, a canon of St Pauls in 1794 and subdean of Lincoln in 1795. Paley’s work exercise a considerable influence for many years. Paley challenge both scriptural and economic arguments for slavery and advocated gradual emancipation.
Horae Paulinae 1790
A work which aimed to demonstrate the improbability of the hypothesis that New Testament is a “cunningly devised fable”.
A View of the Evidences of Christianity 1794
A book which, aiming to refute the deists, became compulsory reading for entrance to Cambridge University until the 20th century. It was suspected to harbour unitarian tendencies.
Natural Theology 1802
A work that became the standard exposition of the teleological argument that greatly influenced Darwin and was universally accepted until Darwin’s own work undermined it. Paley based his work on John Ray’s The Wisdom of God manifested in the Works of Creation (1691), with material derived from the anatomists of Paris and medical literature.