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  1.  1
    The Scottish Enlightenment: Race, Gender, and the Limits of Progress.Silvia Sebastiani - 2013 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    The Scottish Enlightenment shaped a new conception of history as a gradual and universal progress from savagery to civil society. Whereas women emancipated themselves from the yoke of male-masters, men in turn acquired polite manners and became civilized. Such a conception, however, presents problematic questions: why were the Americans still savage? Why was it that the Europeans only had completed all the stages of the historic process? Could modern societies escape the destiny of earlier empires and avoid decadence? Was there (...)
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  2.  15
    A ‘Monster with Human Visage’: The Orangutan, Savagery, and the Borders of Humanity in the Global Enlightenment.Silvia Sebastiani - 2019 - History of the Human Sciences 32 (4):80-99.
    To what extent did the debate on the orangutan contribute to the global Enlightenment? This article focuses on the first 150 years of the introduction, dissection, and public exposition of the so-called ‘orangutan’ in Europe, between the 1630s, when the first specimens arrived in the Netherlands, and the 1770s, when the British debate about slavery and abolitionism reframed the boundaries between the human and animal kingdoms. Physicians, natural historians, antiquarians, philosophers, geographers, lawyers, and merchants all contributed to the knowledge of (...)
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  3.  18
    Beyond Ancient Virtues: Civil Society and Passions in the Scottish Enlightenment.Silvia Sebastiani - 2011 - History of Political Thought 32 (5):821-840.
    Scottish Enlightenment political thought shows permanent tensions between commerce and liberty, passions and interests, wealth and virtue, as a now classical literature has shown. The Scottish literati share the conception that civil society is a product of history, in contrast with barbarism, while giving diverse roles and meanings to passions and virtues. On the one hand, by his criticism of modern commercial politics, Adam Ferguson stood for the classic virtue of antiquity. On the other, David Hume, Adam Smith and John (...)
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  4. Barbarism and Republicanism.Silvia Sebastiani - 2015 - In Aaron Garrett & James A. Harris (eds.), Scottish Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century, Volume I: Morals, Politics, Art, Religion. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter maps out some of the views of Scottish thinkers concerning human progress. It briefly considers Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, who was the first to promote the language of republicanism in Scotland and to conceptualize the ‘militia issue’. It then examines Adam Ferguson’s debate with David Hume and Adam Smith. Whereas the former reasserted civic tradition and played a role in the cause of a Scottish national militia, Hume and Smith, by supporting commercial societies, pointed Scotland in a quite (...)
     
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  5.  15
    Conjectural History Vs. The Bible: Eighteenth-Century Scottish Historians and the Idea of History in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.Silvia Sebastiani - 2002 - Lumen: Selected Proceedings From the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies 21:213.
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  6.  6
    "No Distinction of Black or Fair": The Natural History of Race in Adam Ferguson's Lectures on Moral Philosophy.Bruce Buchan & Silvia Sebastiani - 2021 - Journal of the History of Ideas 82 (2):207-229.
  7.  35
    Between Genealogy and Physicality: A Historiographical Perspective on Race in the Ancien Régime.Jean-Frédéric Schaub & Silvia Sebastiani - 2014 - Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 35 (1-2):23-51.
  8.  18
    What Constituted Historical Evidence of the New World? Closeness and Distance in William Robertson and Francisco Javier Clavijero.Silvia Sebastiani - 2014 - Modern Intellectual History 11 (3):677-695.
    According to Gerbi's classical study, the “dispute of the New World” entered a new phase in the 1780s, one marked by voices coming from the Americas. New questions were then raised about the writing of history, its method, scope and proofs. This essay pursues a dual-track enquiry, confronting theHistory of America by the Presbyterian minister William Robertson, a leading figure of the Scottish Enlightenment, with theStoria antica del Messico by the Mexican exiled Jesuit Francisco Javier Clavijero. The two works, one (...)
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  9. Conjectural History Vs. The Bible: Eighteenth-Century Scottish Historians and the Idea of History in the Encylopaedia Britannica.Silvia Sebastiani - 2002 - Lumen 21:213-231.
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  10.  8
    Forum: Closeness and Distance in the Age of Enlightenment Introduction.John Brewer & Silvia Sebastiani - 2014 - Modern Intellectual History 11 (3):603-609.
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  11.  1
    Monboddo’s ‘Ugly Tail’: The Question of Evidence in Enlightenment Sciences of Man.Silvia Sebastiani - 2022 - History of European Ideas 48 (1):45-65.
    ABSTRACT The erudite James Burnet, Lord Monboddo, member of the Select Society and judge of the Court of Session in Edinburgh, wrote many pages about the existence of ‘men with tails’ and orang-utans’ humanity. For this reason, he has been labelled as ‘credulous’, ‘bizarre’ and ‘eccentric’ both by his contemporaries and by modern scholars. In this paper, I shall try to take his argument seriously and to show that throughout his work Monboddo searched for evidence. If his belief in mermaids, (...)
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