Common sense in the Scottish enlightenment

Charles Bradford Bow

Research output: Book/ReportBook

4 Citations (Scopus)


This book explores the philosophical and historical significance of common sense philosophy in the Scottish Enlightenment. As one of eighteenth-century Scotland’s most original intellectual products, the Scottish ’school’ of common sense philosophy developed as a viable alternative to modern philosophical scepticism known as the ‘Ideal Theory’ or ‘the way of ideas’. The philosophical writings of Thomas Reid and David Hume factor prominently in the volume as influential authors of competing ideas in the history and philosophy of common sense. In the chapters of this volume, which all embody original and innovative research, the contributors recover anticipations of Reid’s version of common sense in seventeenth-century Scottish scholasticism; re-evaluate Reid’s position in the realism versus sentimentalism dichotomy; shed new light on the nature of the ‘constitution’ in the anatomy of the mind; identify changes in the nature of sense perception throughout Reid’s published and unpublished works; examine Reid on the non-theist implications of Hume’s philosophy; show how ‘polite’ literature shaped James Beattie’s version of common sense; reveal Hume’s response to common sense philosophers; explore English criticisms and construction of the ’scotch school’; and illustrate how Dugald Stewart’s refashioning of common sense responded to a new age and the British reception of German Idealism. In recovering the ways in which Scottish common sense philosophy originally developed in response to the Ideal Theory in Britain during the long eighteenth century, this volume takes an important step toward a more complete understanding of ‘the Scottish philosophy’ in the age of Enlightenment.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages226
ISBN (Electronic)9780198783909
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© the several contributors 2018.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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