Edmund Paley (London, 1825), xix. : Rowman & Littlefield, 1996), 84–85. The name William Paley is not commonly known. He often challenged the complacent assumptions of his undergraduates, himself advocating a position so extreme that his students were forced to clarify their own opinions in relation to it. Paley approached the issue of political obligation by analyzing how, in fact, governments controlled their citizens. He argued against public executions, however, pointing out how they coarsened the honest citizenry. His Evidences of Christianity challenges readers on a historical and exegetical level with arguments for the faith. The teleological argument _______ made the pragmatic argument that believing in God was "rational" insofar as it doesn't conflict with our other beliefs and it tends to make us lead better lives. (ed. The Evidences also became part of the Cambridge curriculum and retained its defenders through the nineteenth century. Paley defined moral virtue as “the doing good to mankind, in obedience to the will of God, and for the sake of everlasting happiness.” In a single stroke, he thus encompassed the subject, rule, and motive of the moral life. [1. Famously beginning by comparing the world to a watch, whose design is self-evident, he goes on to provide examples from biology, anatomy, and astronomy in order to demonstrate the intricacy and ingenuity of design that could only come from ]Richard Whately, ed., Paley’s Moral Philosophy: With Annotations (London, 1859), iii; John Maynard Keynes, Essays in Biography (London: Macmillan, 1933), 108n. More positively, he offered a specific definition of happiness, whose cardinal tenet emphasized “engagement,” a notion that curiously prefigured Christian existentialism. As a Christian, he disassociated himself from vulgar notions of hedonism, providing a variety of reasons why happiness did not consist in sensual pleasures. English theologian, utilitarian and proponent of "natural religion",. [4. Unlike some apologists, Paley acknowledged the affective force of radical criticism and turned it to his own use. chapter one. His style is similar to the style of Jesus. Both placed the burden of proof on those who innovated radically rather than reformed gradually. His specific version of theological utilitarianism finds no converts today, but his prescriptions for the good life transcend the historical context which produced them. A NEW EDITION. Paley’s antagonism to the events in France became part of a larger ideological discourse that helped the British power structure withstand the revolutionary currents of the 1790s.10. Pulpits, Politics and Public Order in England, 1760–1832. Yet his Principles also contains passages that mesh comfortably with traditional eighteenth-century aristocratic paternalism, a philosophy frequently antagonistic to liberalism. A balanced constitution could not survive the transference of power to those who lacked a stake in the system. [17. Though in the Natural Theology Paley accepted a more Malthusian approach concerning the dispossessed, both the Principles and his sermons emphasized the traditional Christian obligations toward the poor.9. Paxton, J. A cautious though not always predictable realist, he valued social order. The eternal bliss guaranteed to the faithful provided the best hope of continued pleasure after death. In particular his book, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity. In fact, on specific points, Paley borrowed heavily from the Cambridge divine Thomas Rutherforth who, because of a private feud, he never acknowledged.7, The theological utilitarians rejected the notion of a moral sense, arguing with Locke that nothing could be innate to the mind. (Edinburgh: A. Constable, 1810), 89. Unfortunately, too few have thoughtfully interacted with his arguments. As a theologian whose writings often implicitly challenged Original Sin, Paley mistrusted legal fictions. He listed the factors to be evaluated, arguing that the larger social interest bound its individual parts. For readers today, the Principles offers insights into a complex era of intellectual history. Paley’s emphasis on individual autonomy in his definition of virtue and moral obligation meshed more comfortably with the political axioms of liberal reformers in the nineteenth century than Bentham’s frequent authoritarian reliance on government legislation to create social happiness.12 Moreover, Paley’s utilitarianism, despite its Christian themes, contributed powerfully to the secularization of political theory in Britain.13 In a variety of ways, including in his Natural Theology where he revised some of his earlier ideas, Paley became an important component of what A. M. C. Waterman has called “Christian Political Economy” in the early nineteenth century.14 The complex evolution of nineteenth-century liberalism and conservatism involved a number of ideological crosscurrents. London: SPCK, 1974. Yet Paley opposed immediate electoral reform in part because he feared its unintended consequences. It was self-imposed because the choice of activity remained radically individual. William Paley (1743-1805) is a name which echoes through history. Source: Introduction to Paley's The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, Foreword by D.L. Le Mahieu (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002). At one point on a particularly contentious issue, Paley noted flippantly that he “could not afford to keep a conscience,” a remark that would haunt his reputation.5, Paley left Cambridge in 1776 and married Jane Hewitt, who would bear him eight children. More important, he repudiated the notion that political obligations passed from one generation to another without the knowledge or consent of the governed. His theological utilitarianism helped buttress the formation of classical liberalism, the most important political ideology to emerge from the Enlightenment. Updates? Both of these early Victorians believed that morals implied duty, struggle, and a constant distrust of the senses. After becoming rector of Musgrave (1775), Dalston (1776), and Appleby (1777), he was made archdeacon of Carlisle (1782) and later a canon of St. Paul’s (1794), subdean of Lincoln (1795), and rector of Bishop-Wearmouth (1795). Yet, unlike Bentham, Paley refused to condemn the British legal system as archaic and corrupt. For the sake of meaningful contrast, Paley emphasizes three distinguishing properties lacked by the former and possessed by the latter. Britannica Kids Holiday Bundle! Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1976. As a human artifact constructed over time, it nevertheless resembled nature in its concern for the happiness of its subjects. He opposed such developments as the formation of “combinations” or trade unions, because he knew that, when organized, the general population might discover its own considerable strength. However, in my opinion he is right there with Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton. Once again, God’s designs set the standard for moral deliberation. Graduating from Christ's College, University of Cambridge, in 1763, Paley became a tutor at the College in 1766, teaching moral philosophy, divinity, and Greek Testament. ]Le Mahieu, 156–57. 1 (London: Stevens and Sons, 1948), 301–449. Yet the standard contrast between the cautious Paley and the radical Bentham sometimes obscures as much as it reveals. In earlier centuries, theologians such as John Ray and William Derham, as well as philosophers of classical times such as Cicero, argued for the existence and … This unlikely place — a discussion entitled ‘Reverencing the Deity’ — contains the best summary of Paley's perception of the challenges facing the Christian apologist by infidelity and free-thinking in the second half of the eighteenth century. “It has laid the foundation of the Moral Philosophy of many hundreds—probably thousands—of Youth while under a course of training designed to qualify them for being afterwards the Moral instructors of Millions,” Archbishop Whately wrote in 1859; “such a work therefore cannot fail to exercise a very considerable and extensive influence on the Minds of successive generations.” As late as 1933, John Maynard Keynes called Paley’s Principles “an immortal book.”1, Paley’s political philosophy remains difficult to classify, especially by modern standards. White, 1789), 33–34, 200. Barker, Ernest. He discharged his clerical duties conscientiously; he involved himself in the domestic chores of raising a family; he devoted himself to his writings. Famously beginning by comparing the world to a watch, whose design is self-evident, he goes on to provide examples from biology, anatomy, and astronomy in order to demonstrate the intricacy and ingenuity of design that could only come from a wise and benevolent deity. For Paley’s life, see also M. L. Clarke, Paley: Evidences for the Man (London: SPCK, 1974). Le Mahieu, D. L. The Mind of William Paley: A Philosopher and His Age. He rejected the notion that individuals possessed a natural right to vote, adding in a footnote that if such a right existed, women should vote as well. William Paley, (born July 1743, Peterborough, Northamptonshire [now in Cambridgeshire], England—died May 25, 1805, Lincoln, Lincolnshire), English Anglican priest, Utilitarian philosopher, and author of influential works on Christianity, ethics, and science, among them the standard exposition in English theology of the teleological argument for the existence of God. Paley states that one cannot say that laws of nature are causes of anything, because laws assume power and power assumes an agent that uses it. Paley’s strengths as a writer may still surprise readers in the twenty-first century. The rebellion in America, sympathetically assessed by Burke, stirred uneasy feelings in Paley, who found it difficult to comprehend the intense passions of political movements. “The public now have before them the evidences of Natural Religion, the evidences of Revealed Religion, and an account of the duties that result from both.”6. Counter-objection: Paley confuses descriptive law with prescriptive law ( i.e., the fallacy of equivocation ). The pigeon analogy demonstrated that Paley was painfully aware of the human exploitation that accompanied the institution of private property. William Paley (1743-1805) compared the design of the universe to finding a watch. In The Argument from Design, Paley tries to prove the existence of a supreme being through the development of a special kind … Herbert Spencer, Principles of Ethics (1887), Hodgskin on the Natural Right to Property (1832), Hutcheson on Logic, Metaphysics & Sociability, Hutcheson’s Annotated Table of Contents to Philosophiae Moralis, Shaftesbury’s Aesthetics & Moral Philosophy. Paley's response: The existence of a law presupposes a lawgiver with the power to enforce the law. William Hazlitt labeled the Principles “a disgrace to the national character” and saved some of his most savage denunciations for Paley himself.17, Hostility to the Principles extended to respected dons at Cambridge itself. Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity. 1 (1985): 51–70. Paley’s synthesis would not survive the Darwinian redescription of the natural world, but his desire to reconcile science and religion drew upon traditions not yet extinguished. If you want to know anything about what the world is like, he thought, in other words, you have to go out and investigate; you cannot simply sit in your armchair, think really hard and really well and hope to come up with knowledg… William Paley begins his “Argument from Design” by enumerating key differences between two obviously dissimilar objects—a stone and a watch. 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