The rhetorical strategy of William Paley’s Natural theology : Part 2, William Paley’s Natural theology and the challenge of atheism


Abstract
The first part of this two-part article suggested that William Paley’s Natural theology should be viewed as the culmination of a complex psychological strategy for inculcating religious and moral sentiments. Having focused in Part 1 on Paley’s rhetoric, we now turn our attention to the philosophical part of the programme. This article attempts to settle the vexed question of how far Paley responded to the devastating critique of the teleological argument contained in Hume’s posthumously published Dialogues concerning natural religion. It also identifies tensions that arose in Natural theology between the rhetorical and intellectual sides of the stratagem. In response to Erasmus Darwin’s evolutionary theories, Paley asserted that the divinely designed architecture of nature had remained unchanged since the creation. But the more he emphasized the preordained nature of providence, its effectuation through mechanical dispositions, the less room there appeared to be for particular interventions. Section 2 concentrates on Paley’s efforts to reconcile this model of a law-governed, mechanical universe, with the belief in a personal God who was active in worldly affairs. It therefore challenges the view, long unquestioned in the historical literature, that Paley’s Deity was merely a watchmaker, who had remained idle since the Creation.Keywords: William Paley; Natural theology; David Hume; Watchmaker.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2010
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2010.03.004
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 42,305
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals.David Hume & Tom L. Beauchamp - 1998 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 190 (2):230-231.
Publishing and the Classics: Paley’s Natural Theology and the Nineteenth-Century Scientific Canon.Aileen Fyfe - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (4):729-751.
Buffon: A Life in Natural History.Jacques Roger, Sarah Lucille Bonnefoi & L. Pearce Williams - 1998 - Journal of the History of Biology 31 (2):298-300.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Reception of William Paley's Natural Theology in the University of Cambridge.Aileen Fyfe - 1997 - British Journal for the History of Science 30 (3):321-335.
William Paley's Lost "Intelligent Design".Adam R. Shapiro - 2009 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 31 (1):55 - 77.
Darwin’s Foil: The Evolving Uses of William Paley’s Natural Theology 1802–2005.Adam R. Shapiro - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 45 (1):114-123.
Publishing and the Classics: Paley’s Natural Theology and the Nineteenth-Century Scientific Canon.Aileen Fyfe - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (4):729-751.
Paley’s Argument for Design.Graham Oppy - 2002 - Philo 5 (2):161-173.
Complexity, Adaptive Complexity and the Creative View of Natural Selection.Pablo Razeto-Barry - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 44 (3):312-315.
Design Arguments: A Re-Evaluation.David Nathan Kessler - 1983 - Dissertation, University of Notre Dame
The Argument From Design.Thomas McPherson - 1972 - [New York]St. Martin's Press.
Extract From Natural Theology.William Paley - 2004 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-09-14

Total views
35 ( #234,995 of 2,254,314 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #381,901 of 2,254,314 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature