Joseph Priestley

In Philip B. Dematteis Peter S. Fosl (ed.), British Philosophers 1500–1799. Columbia, USA: Broccoli Clark Layman. pp. 307-23 (2002)
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In his day, Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) was a philosopher of some importance. He argued the case for materialism perhaps more cogently than did any British thinker before recent times. He presented determinism vigorously, with a focus on the central issue of the nature of causation. He defended scientific realism against Reid’s Common Sense realism and against Hume’s phenomenonalism. He articulated a working scientist’s account of causation, induction and scientific progress. He defended the Argument from Design against Hume’s criticisms. His attempt to combine theism, materialism and determinism is audacious and original. As a political thinker, he argued the case for extensive civil liberties. He was perhaps the most thorough British exponent of a Providentialist account of progress. His ultimate aim was to combine Enlightenment principles with a modernized Christian theism.



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Alan Tapper
Curtin University, Western Australia

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Joseph Priestley and the Argument from Design.Alan Tapper - 2020 - Intellectual History Review 30 (1):65-85.

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