Advanced Topics in Liberty
The Scottish Enlightenment (Fall 2010)
Discussion Leader: James Otteson , Yeshiva University
For fifty years Scotland was home to a concentrated burst of intellectual activity we now call the Scottish Enlightenment. The Scottish Enlightenment, which flowered in the small, impoverished country from 1740 to 1790, is unique in modern history. Great strides were made in establishing the disciplines of philosophy, economics, chemistry, geology, and within the social and natural sciences. Through the accomplishment of the luminaries of the period, many of the foundations of modern society were laid.
The modern understanding of liberty draws upon a number of historical and philosophical traditions, but one of the most important influences on the evolution of liberty was the Scottish Enlightenment. This conference will consider some of the most significant thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment.
Session 1: Adam Smith and the Theory of Moral Sentiments
Smith, Adam. The Theory of Moral Sentiments . Edited by D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 1982.
- “Of Sympathy” p 9-13
- “Of the Pleasure of Mutual Sympathy” p 13-16
- “Of the manner in which we judge of the propriety or impropriety of the Affections of other Men, by their concord or dissonance with our Own” p 16-23
- “The same subject continued” p 16-23
- “Of the amiable and respectable Virtues” p 23–26
- “Of the Principle of Self-approbation and of Self-disapprobation” p 109–113
- “Of the love of Praise, and that of Praise-worthiness; and of the dread of Blame, and of that of Blame-worthiness” p 113–134
Session 2: Conscience and Duty
Smith, Adam. The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Edited by D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 1982.
- “Of the Influence and Authority of Conscience” p 134–156
- "Of the Nature of Self-deceit, and of the Origin and Use of general Rules" p 156-161
“Of the influence and authority of the general Rules of Morality, and that they are justly regarded as the Laws of the Deity” p 161–170
- “In what cases the Sense of Duty ought to be sole principle of our conduct; and in what cases it ought to concur with other Motives” p 171–178
Session 3: Human Knowledge and Action
Session 4: Justice and Exchange
Hume, David. “Of Justice.” An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Edited by Tom L. Beauchamp. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000. p 13-27
Smith, Adam. “Of Justice and Beneficence.” The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Edited by D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 1982. p 78-91
Session 5: Virtue, Morality, and Progress in Civil Society
Ferguson, Adam. An Essay on the History of Civil Society . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
- “Of Civil Liberty” p 148–161
- “Of the Manners of Polished and Commercial Nations” p 179–182
- “Of Relaxations in the National Spirit, incident to Polished Nations” p 203–213
Millar, John. “The Changes Produced in the Government of the People by their Progress in Arts and in Polished Manners.” The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks: Or, An Inquiry into the Circumstances Which Give Rise to Influence and Authority, in the Different Members of Society. Edited by Aaron Garrett. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2006. p 229-243
Session 6: Civilization is the Result of Human Action
Ferguson, Adam. “Of the General Characteristics of Human Nature.” An Essay on the History of Civil Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. p 7-73