Selections From the Scottish Philosophy of Common Sense

Open Court (1915)
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Abstract

The Scottish Philosophy of Common Sense originated as a protest against the philosophy of the greatest Scottish philosopher. Hume's sceptical conclusions did not excite as much opposition as might have been expected. But in Scotland especially there was a good deal of spoken criticism which was never written; and some who would have liked to denounce Hume's doctrines in print were restrained by the salutary reflection that if they were challenged to give reasons for their criticism they would find it uncommonly difficult to do so. Hume's scepticism was disliked, but it was difficult to see how it could be adequately met.At this point Thomas Reid stepped into the field. He was the only man of his time who really understood the genesis of Hume's scepticism and succeeded in locating its sources. At first sight it would seem that this discovery required no peculiar perspicuity. It would seem that nobody could help seeing that Hume's sceptical conclusions were based on Locke's premises, and that Hume could never be successfully opposed by any critic who accepted Locke's assumptions. But this is precisely one of those obvious things that is noticed by nobody. And in fact Reid was the first man to see it clearly. It thus became his duty to question the assumptions on which all his own early thought had been based. The result of this reflection was the conclusion that, since the "ideal theory" of Locke and Berkeley logically led to Hume's scepticism, and since scepticism was intolerable, that theory would have to be amended, or, if necessary, abandoned.This volume contains works by Thomas Reid, Adam Ferguson, James Beattie, and Dugald Stewart

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