chapter  7
The demise of natural theology and separation of economics from theology
ByPaul Oslington
Pages 19

This chapter explores how natural theology shaped political economy as a discipline in Britain in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It examines their relationship later in the 19th century, and argues that the extension of natural theology to political economy contributed to the death of natural theology, and that this loss of natural theology as an integrating framework was the separation of theology from political economy. The chapter reviews existing explanations of the separation of political economy from theology, and explanations of the demise of natural theology. A popular story is that Hume's Dialogues on Natural Religion at the end of the 18th century mortally wounded the design argument that was central to natural theology, though natural theology managed to stagger on wounded for a few more decades before its inevitable death in the middle years of the 19th century.