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By Christopher Berry

David Hume, Adam Smith, William Robertson, Adam Ferguson, Lord Kames, John Millar, James Dunbar and Gilbert Stuart have been on the center of Scottish Enlightenment inspiration. This introductory survey deals the coed a transparent, available interpretation and synthesis of the social considered those traditionally major thinkers. Organised thematically, it takes the coed via their money owed of social associations, their critique of individualism, their technique, their perspectives of development and of ethical and cultural values. by way of taking human sociality as their premise, the e-book indicates how they produced vital analyses of ancient swap, politics and morality, including an overview in their personal advertisement society.

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Example text

One such proof, and this captures much of the spirit of the Enlightenment, was an expedition in 1735 to Lapland led by the Frenchman Maupertuis but sponsored by the Berlin Academy (cf. Hankins 1985: 389). According to Newton the earth was not, contrary to Descartes, elongated at the poles and flat at the equator but flatter around the poles (was a turnip not a lemon cf. Hall 1970: 319). Maupertuis' expedition took measurements and these vindicated Newton. 2 Newton also made a fateful methodological prediction.

As I explore these themes, I focus on the primary sources themselves. The notes indicate relevant secondary literature, but I do not engage (save by implication from what I choose to emphasise or downplay) in the scholarly debates. I have, however, thought it worth while to canvass the various interpretations given, and reasons why the Scots' social theory has been valued, in a separate concluding chapter. Questions of methodology in the history of ideas have taken on a life of their own in recent years but I have quite deliberately side-stepped them in order Page ix to avoid becoming embroiled in disputes which are peripheral to my concerns.

As we shall later discuss in some detail (Chapter 3), this was especially true of the Scottish Enlightenment. One hallmark of Newton's status is that to liken someone's work to his was to pay it the highest possible compliment. ). Other examples include Kant calling Rousseau the 'Newton' of the moral world due to the central unifying role given to the 'will', while Rousseau's musicological competitor Rameau's work on the principles of harmony resulted in him being likened to Newton. Of John Locke, the final member of his quartet, D'Alembert said 'he created metaphysics almost as Newton had created physics' (83).

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