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Common Sense and Improvement

Thomas Reid as Social Theorist

Series:

Peter Diamond

This book provides a comprehensive account of Thomas Reid's social thought. Although he is increasingly seen as a central figure in the Scottish Enlightenment, there is still a tendency among historians to view Reid principally as David Hume's chief critic. By relating Reid's writings to their contemporary social and intellectual contexts, Peter Diamond seeks to qualify this traditional image. He argues that in fact Reid understood himself to be engaged in the Humean project of rendering the study of man systematic and improvable, by ascertaining the laws of human nature. Diamond also demonstrates that Reid's well-known appeal to the principles of common sense was not just a metaphysical response to Humean skepticism; it was also a rhetorical attempt to teach men to live virtuously in an emerging commercial society.
Contents: Thomas Reid's social and political thought - Thomas Reid and the Scottish Enlightenment - Thomas Reid and David Hume - Common Sense Philosophy - The rhetoric of Common Sense.