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Priestley, Joseph (1733–1804)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DB058-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 12, 2024, from

Article Summary

A major figure of the British Enlightenment, Joseph Priestley is best known as a scientist and for his discovery of oxygen, though he was by profession a theologian, and also wrote on politics and education – more, indeed, than on science or metaphysics. His philosophical speculations were generally brought to support his theological arguments and were usually structured in a rhetorical rather than in a formal, systematic mode. He was a Unitarian in theology, an associationist, determinist and monist, with a curiously spiritualized materialism dependent, in part at least, on his scientific studies.

Citing this article:
Schofield, Robert E.. Priestley, Joseph (1733–1804), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DB058-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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