William Paley

Born Jul 14, 1743

William Paley was an English Christian apologist, philosopher, and utilitarian. He is best known for his exposition of the teleological argument for the existence of God in his work Natural Theology, which made use of the watchmaker analogy.

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about William Paley.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of William Paley.


1743 Birth Born in 1743.


1763 20 Years Old Paley was born in Peterborough, England, and was educated at Giggleswick School, of which his father was headmaster, and at Christ's College, Cambridge. He graduated in 1763 as senior wrangler, became fellow in 1766, and in 1768 tutor of his college. … Read More


1776 33 Years Old In 1776 Paley was presented to the rectory of Musgrave in Westmorland, which was exchanged soon after for Appleby.
1780 37 Years Old He was subsequently made vicar of Dalston in 1780, near the bishop's palace at Rose Castle.
1782 39 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1782 he became the Archdeacon of Carlisle. … Read More


1789 46 Years Old In 1789, a speech he gave on the subject in Carlisle was published.
1790 47 Years Old The Principles was followed in 1790 by his first essay in the field of Christian apologetics, Horae Paulinae, or the Truth of the Scripture History of St Paul which compared the Paul's Epistles with the Acts of the Apostles, making use of "undesigned coincidences" to argue that these documents mutually supported each other's authenticity. … Read More


1802 59 Years Old 1 More Event
Paley is also remembered for his contributions to the philosophy of religion, utilitarian ethics and Christian apologetics. In 1802, he published Natural Theology; or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, his last book. … Read More


1805 62 Years Old He died on 25 May 1805 and is buried in Carlisle Cathedral with his two wives. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.