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Natural Theology

William Paley
Edited by Matthew D. Eddy and David Knight

17 April 2008

ISBN: 9780199535750

384 pages

In Stock

Oxford World's Classics

Price: £9.99



In Natural Theology William Paley set out to prove the existence of God from the evidence of the beauty and order of the natural world. This edition reprints the original text of 1802, and sets the book in the context of the theological, philosophical, and scientific debates of the nineteenth century.

  • Paley's work of 1802 was hugely influential and still controversial, as we see a resurgence of interest in the theory of intelligent design and creationism.
  • Richard Dawkins's book The Blind Watchmaker famously takes on Paley to argue that the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design: natural selection is blind.
  • This is the only edition of the original 1802 text, which is of particular interest on history of science courses.
  • The introduction explains how the book built on the early modern natural theology tradition and why it was so influential. Full notes offer further background on the key figures and ideas of the day.
  • Two appendixes on Paley's sources and an extended bibliography will be especially useful to students.

About the Author(s)

William Paley

Edited by Matthew D. Eddy, Lecturer in the History and Philosophy of Science, University of Durham, and David Knight, Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science, University of Durham


"This is an astonishing book, made all the more accessible by some excellent modern footnotes" - John Habgood, Church TImes