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Man's Social Nature

A Topic of the Scottish Enlightenment in its Historical Setting

Series:

Norbert Waszek

The four leading members of the Scottish Enlightenment (Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson) not only agreed in regarding human life as essentially social life: they even shared the conviction that man's «social» (defined as altruistic or benevolent) propensities would prevail in the operation of society. Throughout their accounts of man, discussed in part one, a distinct tone of optimism is perceptible. The second part attempts to explain the predominance of this optimism among the Scottish intellectuals of the Enlightenment period. A full exposition of eighteenth-century Scottish history shows the philosophers' optimism to be in line with the climate of opinion belonging to an age of improvement.
Contents: Ideas of human nature - Man's social nature - The accounts of Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson - Scottish Enlightenment - Scottish History - Social, political, and economic history.