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The Scottish Enlightenment Paperback – September 1, 2007

3.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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'an accessible primer on the main ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment' - Edinburgh Review'direct, considered ... [gets] down to the nuts and bolts of how the Enlightenment worked' - Scottish Affairs

About the Author

Alexander Broadie is a Professor of Logic and Rhetoric at Glasgow University—a chair once occupied by Adam Smith—and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was appointed the first Henry Duncan Prize lecturer in Scottish Studies at the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1990-1993) and Gifford Lecturer in Natural Theology at Aberdeen University in 1994 before taking up post at Glasgow University in 1995. He was awarded the degree of Doctorat de l'université honoris causa by Blaise Pascal University, Clermont-Ferrand, for his contribution to Franco-Scottish relations in the field of the history of philosophy. Alexander was born in Edinburgh in 1942.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn Ltd (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841586404
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841586403
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,124,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I came to this book as a general reader with only the slightest knowledge of the Scottish Enlightenment and, to be honest, no appreciation of its significant and lasting impact on religious, political, economic, scientific, and aesthetic thinking right into the present day. On the back cover of the book, the Edinburgh Review is quoted and it is worth repeating: "an accessible primer on the main ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment." Broadie's book is accessible and I am all the more grateful for that fact as I reflect on the relevance of the ideas of the Enlightenment to my Western identity. In that sense, this is not dry history but rather essential content and context for today's political and "culture wars" and, indeed, why we resist the barbarian's demand that we submit and return to the 7th century. Mind you, that's just me talking; Broadies's "The Scottish Enlightenment" is not a polemic. It is forthright, unbiased history without any agenda other than, well, providing the reader with "an accessible primer" on the Scottish Enlightenment. I highly recommend this book. Important stuff, well delivered. Thank you, Alexander Broadie.
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The Scottish Enlightenment

There are periods associated with great intellectual achievement; the Golden Age of Pericles; the art and architecture of the Italian Renaissance; the literary and philosophical genius of fin-de-siecle Vienna; the Dutch Grand Masters and the Golden Age of Holland; Victorian England and the St. Petersburg of Peter the Great who brought the culture of the West to the previously isolated Russia.

Then there is the lesser known Scottish Enlightenment, which brought together some of the finest minds in intellectual history. Pure and applied science flourished at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Scientists developed new approaches to physics, chemistry, optics, mathematics and medicine. William Thompson (Later Lord Kelvin) developed major principles of thermodynamics; James Watt developed the steam engine, and William Cullen, a physician and chemist explored new frontiers, James Clerk Maxwell explained the mysteries of Saturn's rings and developed the principle of electromagnetism. James Hutton founded the modern science of geology which was expanded upon by James Playfair. The botanist Robert Brown discovered the important principle of Brownian Motion which was later to turn up in Einstein's theory of relativity. Visitors to Edinburgh were astonished that so much brilliance was to be encountered in this intellectual incubator in the cold, inhospitable climate of the Hebrides.
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Format: Paperback
As a person of mildly above average intelligence and a very broad range of interests, I often have friends suggest that I should try out for Jeopardy. My standard [and honest] response [regardless of whether the comment was meant as a compliment or an insult] is that I have incredibly large gaps in my knowledge and I'd probably stink at Jeopardy. Alexander Broadie and his scholarly AND entertaining book The Scottish Enlightenment came to rescue me from one of my more embarrassing knowledge gaps. You'd've figured a person with some Scottish blood in his veins and who teaches at a high school that has a Scottish theme and a Highlander as a mascot would know a whole bunch about the pivotal period in history know as the Scottish Enlightenment?! The knowledge gap surfaced when I read Jack Repcheck's recent biography of James Hutton [The Man Who Found Time]. I researched the available literature on the Scottish Enlightenment and Broadie's book appeared to have the qualities needed to plug my knowledge gap. Written for the interested reader, The Scottish Enlightenment was scholarly enough to give me the short course that I wanted, but interesting and idiosyncratic enough to avoid reading like a textbook. It left me feeling quite satisfied about my knowledge of the Scottish Enlightenment and, like any good book, left me with a few questions to explore further [the connection between the Scottish Enlightenment and the American Revolution - enquiring minds want to know!]. I highly recommend Alexander Broadie's book to anyone with an interest in history, Scotland, the Enlightenment, or the Scottish Enlightenment.
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Great overview by the contribution of the Scots to our cultural history. I was hoping for more information on the scientific contribution by the Scots, however, it was a good overall philosophical review of this period.
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