Thomas Reid was a philosopher who founded the Scottish school of 'common sense'. Much of Reid's work is a critique of his contemporary, David Hume, whose empiricism he rejects. In this work, written after Reid's appointment to a professorship at the university of Glasgow, and published in 1785, he turns his attention to ideas about perception, memory, conception, abstraction, judgement, reasoning and taste. He examines the work of his predecessors and contemporaries, arguing that 'when we find philosophers maintaining that there (...) is no heat in the fire, nor colour in the rainbow … we may be apt to think the whole to be only a dream of fanciful men, who have entangled themselves in cobwebs spun out of their own brain'. Written by one of the Scottish Enlightenment's most important thinkers, this work brings to life the intellectual debates of the time. (shrink)
Thomas Reid, the Scottish natural and moral philosopher, was one of the founding members of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society and a significant figure in the Scottish Enlightenment. Reid believed that common sense should form the foundation of all philosophical inquiry. He criticised the sceptical philosophy propagated by his fellow Scot David Hume and the Anglo-Irish bishop George Berkeley, who asserted that the external world did not exist outside the human mind. Reid was also critical of the theory of ideas propagated (...) by Locke and Descartes, arguing that it was incompatible with physical and experiential facts. For Reid, our senses demonstrate that the external world must exist, and this work is organised in chapters examining each of the senses in turn. The book, based on his lectures, was first published in 1764 when Reid was a regent professor at King's College, Aberdeen, and was reissued in 1818. (shrink)
The Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid first published Essays on Active Powers of Man in 1788 while he was Professor of Philosophy at King's College, Aberdeen. The work contains a set of essays on active power, the will, principles of action, the liberty of moral agents, and morals. Reid was a key figure in the Scottish Enlightenment and one of the founders of the 'common sense' school of philosophy. In Active Powers Reid gives his fullest exploration of sensus communis as the (...) basis of all philosophical inquiry. He uses common sense realism to argue for the existence of a stable external world, the existence of other minds, and to offer a powerful challenge to versions of the Theory of Ideas advocated by Hume and Locke . This is a key work of the Scottish Enlightenment that made important contributions to fundamental debates about the basis of philosophical inquiry. (shrink)
Thomas Reid , the Scottish natural and moral philosopher, was one of the founding members of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society and a significant figure in the Scottish Enlightenment. Reid believed that common sense should form the foundation of all philosophical inquiry. He criticised the sceptical philosophy propagated by his fellow Scot David Hume and the Anglo-Irish bishop George Berkeley, who asserted that the external world did not exist outside the human mind. Reid was also critical of the theory of ideas (...) propagated by Locke and Descartes, arguing that it was incompatible with physical and experiential facts. For Reid, our senses demonstrate that the external world must exist, and this work is organised in chapters examining each of the senses in turn. The book, based on his lectures, was first published in 1764 when Reid was a regent professor at King's College, Aberdeen, and was reissued in 1818. (shrink)
The Essays on the Active Powers of Man was Thomas Reid's last major work. It was conceived as part of one large work, intended as a final synoptic statement of his philosophy. The first and larger part was published three years earlier as Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man. These two works are united by Reid's basic philosophy of common sense, which sets out native principles by which the mind operates in both its intellectual and active aspects. The Active (...) Powers shows how these principles are involved in volition, action, and the ability to judge morally. Reid gives an original twist to a libertarian and realist tradition that was prominently represented in eighteenth-century British thought by such thinkers as Samuel Clarke and Richard Price. (shrink)
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Thomas Reid is now recognized as one of the towering figures of the Enlightenment. Best known for his published writings on epistemology and moral theory, he was also an accomplished mathematician and natural philosopher, as an earlier volume of his manuscripts edited by Paul Wood for the Edinburgh Reid Edition, Thomas Reid on the Animate Creation, has shown. The Correspondence of Thomas Reid collects all of the known letters to and from Reid in a fully annotated form. Letters already published (...) by Sir William Hamilton and others have been reedited, and roughly half of the letters included appear in print for the first time. Writing in 1802, Reid's disciple and biographer Dugald Stewart doubted that Reid's correspondence &"would be generally interesting.&" This collection proves otherwise, for the letters illuminate virtually every aspect of Reid's life and career and, in some instances, provide us with invaluable evidence about activities otherwise undocumented in his manuscripts or published works. Through his correspondence we can trace Reid's relations with contemporaries such as David Hume and his colleagues at both King's College, Aberdeen, and the University of Glasgow, as well as his engagement with the most controversial philosophical, scientific, and political issues of his day. If anything, the letters assembled here serve as the starting point for understanding Reid and his place in the Enlightenment. (shrink)
This volume brings together for the first time a significant number of Reid's manuscript papers on natural history, physiology and materialist metaphysics. An important contribution not only to Reid studies but also to our understanding of eighteenth-century science and its context.
Thomas Reid saw the three subjects of logic, rhetoric, and the fine arts as closely cohering aspects of one endeavor that he called the culture of the mind. This was a topic on which Reid lectured for many years in Glasgow, and this volume presents as near a reconstruction of these lectures as is now possible. Though virtually unknown today, this material in fact relates closely to Reid's published works and in particular to the late Essays on the Intellectual Powers (...) of Man and Essays on the Active Powers of Man. When composing these works, Reid drew primarily on his lectures on "pneumatology," which presented a theory of the mental powers, broadly conceived. These lectures were basic to the course on the culture of the mind that explained the cultivation of the mental powers. Although the Essays also included some elements from the material on the culture of the mind, the bulk of the latter was left in manuscript form, and Alexander Broadie's edition restores this important extension of Reid's overall work. In addition, this volume continues the attractive combination of manuscript material and published work, in this case Reid's important and well-known essay on Aristotle's logic. This text was corrupted in earlier editions of Reid's works and is now restored to the state in which Reid left it. This volume underscores Reid's great and growing significance, viewed both as a historical figure and as a philosopher. At the same time, it is of great interdisciplinary importance. While the material emerges directly from the core of Reid's philosophy, as now understood, it will appeal widely to people in literary, cultural, historical, and communications studies. In this regard, the present volume is a true fruit of the Scottish Enlightenment. (shrink)
As the originator of the Scottish school of "common sense" philosophy and the foremost contemporary critic of David Hume's moral skepticism, Thomas Reid (1710-1796) played a hitherto unknown role in applying the tradition of natural law to morality and politics. When Reid succeeded Adam Smith as professor of moral philosophy in Glasgow in 1764, he taught a course covering pneumatology (theory of mind), practical ethics, and politics. In presenting for the first time the philosopher's manuscript lectures and papers on practical (...) ethics, Knud Haakonssen shows how these writings not only add depth to Reid's criticism of Hume but also clarify his own social, moral, and political thought. As a whole, Reid's Practical Ethics constitutes a most significant addition of source material for the study of the Scottish Enlightenment. The papers assembled here demonstrate the extent to which the moral philosophy of the Enlightenment was influenced by natural jurisprudence. At the same time they reveal Reid's involvement with republican, utopian, and radical themes and elucidate the relations between religion and politics in the Enlightenment. Haakonssen's introduction is the first substantial systematic treatment of Reid's moral-political thought, connecting it with his general philosophy and setting it in the context of his life and time. (shrink)
The past few years have seen a revival of interest in Thomas Reid's philosophy. His moral theory has been studied by D. D. Raphael (The Moral Sense) and his entire philosophical position by S. A. Grave (The Scottish Philosophy of Common Sense). Prior to both, A. D. Woozley gave us the first modern reprint of Reid's Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man - in fact the first edition of any work by Reid to appear in print since the Philosophical (...) Works was edited in the nineteenth century by Sir William Hamilton. But Reid's aesthetic philosophy has not received its due. Woozley, in abridging the Essays, omitted the whole final essay, "On Taste," which is the only extended work on aesthetic theory that Reid ever published. Raphael, being interested primarily in Reid's moral theory, understand ably, treated aesthetics only as it was related to morality. And Grave, although he did present a short and very cogent resume of Reid's aes thetic position, obviously found himself drawn to other elements of Reid's philosophy. There are, of course, some accounts of Reid's aes thetic theory to be found in the various studies of eighteenth-century British aesthetics and criticism. None, however, appears to me to do any kind of justice to the philosophical questions which Reid treats in his aesthetics and philosophy of art. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
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Seule oeuvre de philosophie morale que Thomas Reid ait publiee, les Essais sur les pouvoirs actifs de l'homme (1788) avaient ete concus a l'origine comme une seconde partie de l'expose final de sa pensee. Ces essais viennent ainsi completer les Essais sur les pouvoirs intellectuels de l'homme (1785) et temoignent de la meme inspiration - une inspiration bien loin de se limiter a la simple philosophie du sens commun qu'on a voulu y voir. Dans ce texte d'une limpidite exemplaire, le (...) philosophe ecossais se presente comme le defenseur d'une conception de la liberte humaine traditionnelle mais solidement argumentee. Reid y developpe en effet toute une serie d'arguments contre les formes modernes de determinisme et en faveur de l'objectivite des distinctions morales. S'appuyant sur une psychologie morale naturaliste qui s'inscrit dans l'esprit des Lumieres, Reid construit ici une veritable anthropologie, que la philosophie de l'action contemporaine redecouvre avec grand interet. (shrink)
Les Recherches' sur l'entendennent humain paraissent en 1764 et sont traduites en français dès 1768, signe d'un rapide succès à l'échelle de l'Europe. La raison de ce succès tient à la richesse de l'ouvrage puisqu'on y trouve une réfutation du scepticisme, une défense du sens commun, une doctrine élaborée des cinq sens, l'amorce des thèmes majeurs de la sensation, de l'attention, de la perception et de la croyance, thèmes qui seront repris et proprement construits dans les Essays on the Intellectual (...) Powers of Man de 1785, de longs développements sur l'optique et un chapitre consacré entièrement à la géométrie non euclidienne des visibles; mais aussi de fines analyses sur l'art de la peinture, sur le langage et sur l'histoire de la philosophie. Or cette richesse a une unique source: la critique du système des idées, système né avec la philosophie de Descartes et trouvant son terme dans le scepticisme radical de Hume, et selon lequel l'esprit n'aurait pas affaire aux choses mêmes mais aux représentations des choses. Cette seule critique suffit à justifier la place de Reid dans l'histoire de la philosophie et permet de mieux comprendre comment ses analyses ont pu nourrir plusieurs débats contemporains sur la connaissance et la croyance. (shrink)