Richard Price

(1723—1791) philosopher, demographer, and political radical

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Welsh dissenting minister, moral philosopher, and actuary. Price's A Review of the Principal Questions in Morals (1758) is a late defence of rationalism in moral philosophy, against the moral sense theory of Hutcheson and the attempt to found morals on the passions in Hume. Price argues that moral opinion is more like understanding the nature of things than merely responding to them, and attempts to connect morality with an appreciation of the eternal and immutable nature of actions. In the same work Price also attempts a response to Hume's scepticism about miracles. Although his work is not regarded as in the first rank, Price had considerable influence on the political and philosophical culture of his time: he was a friend of Benjamin Franklin, wrote an important pamphlet defending the American movement for independence, and was attacked by Burke for a similar defence of the French revolution. He also wrote on actuarial matters, and on the need for provision to extinguish the national debt.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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