The Remarkable Achievements of the Scottish Enlightenment

The Scottish Enlightenment developed in the austere shadow of John Knox’s Kirk and in one of Europe poorest countries of the time, yet it fostered a remarkable group of thinkers who’s views on philosophy, law, economics, politics, science and engineering shaped the western world we live in today. Our Western liberal democracy was founded on it and we will consider some threats to it today.


SUGGESTED READING

  • How The Scots Invented the Modern World. Arthur Herman.
  • The Man Who found Time. Jack Repcheck


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Week 1: The core approach of enlightenment thinkers- Newton and Locke. The unlikely contribution of the church of John Knox to the Scottish Enlightenment-challenge to authority, giving voice to the individual and emphasis on education. Akenhead-a very unenlightened event. Printing and publishing.
  • Week 2: Frances Hutchinson' the Father of the Scottish Enlightenment". Glasgow University. Struggle between the University, the town authorities and the clergy. The role of Ulster Edinburgh University. Influence of Hutcheson’s tutors and his desire to develop more humane and open face of Presbyterianism. His challenge to Hobbes' views of humanity expressed in “The Leviathan”.
  • Week 3: Edinburgh. “Knowledge comes from argument among friends” - David Hume. The Amenable Social Clubs of Edinburgh. Lord Kames- the second father of the Scottish Enlightenment. Secondary figures of Kames' social circle. "The stages of Human Development theory and its implications.
  • Week 4: David Hume his career. His empiricism. His “atheism” and conflict with church and city authorities. Other fields of exploration. Adam Smith-His educational background. Close friendship with Hume and Kames. His attempt to reconcile Hutcheson’s and Hume’s views. 'The Wealth of Nations"
  • Week 5: Military and political events of Mid-18th Century. The practical sciences-Black-Chemistry, Watt-Engineering-Hutton-Geology, Telford-Road and Canal building.
  • Week 6: The Scottish Enlightenment and the American Founding Fathers. Present day challenges to the legacy of the Scottish Enlightenment.


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Recognize that open, evidence-based discussion of public affairs is the basis of any effective democracy.
  2. Have a greater awareness of the contribution to modern life that this remarkable group of thinkers is responsible for.
  3. Have a more nuanced understanding of the ideas of the ideas posited by Adam Smith in "Wealth of Nations"
  4. Appreciate the contribution of the Scottish Enlightenment to the views of America’s" Founding Fathers".
$192 Limited / $173

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17 Oct

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