This chapter offers a new overview of the Scottish Enlightenment political theory, deploying both classic and recent scholarship to delineate its canon, scope, major concerns, inner tensions and European contexts. Emphasis is placed on the major Scottish thinkers David Hume, Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson and others – who developed a profoundly novel vision of political thought itself as a vital political and moral act, and hence of their own historical agency. The chapter juxtaposes Scotland s historical uniqueness, its rich sources of inspiration, and its pioneering vantage points on modern society, economy and human autonomy. It traces the tensions between statehood and citizenship, law and civic alertness, commerce and virtue, unintended consequences and affective human volition. It is argued that, while mostly moderate in political temperament, the Scottish Enlightenment thus helped revolutionize political theory as well as practice.
|Title of host publication||The Cambridge Companion to the Scottish Enlightenment, Second Edition|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||26|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2019|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2019 Cambridge University Press.
- civil society
- unintended consequences
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (all)