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Essays on Hume, Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment

Christopher J. Berry

eBook (ePub) i

A carefully curated selection of new and classic essays by Scottish Enlightenment expert Christopher J. Berry

This collection of essays by Christopher J. Berry spans several decades and multiple shifts across Scottish Enlightenment, Hume and Smith studies. It brings together classic essays – some of which are difficult to find – with 3 new pieces, which cumulatively constitute a distinct interpretation. Clustered around the themes of sociability, the Humean science of man and the Smithian engagement with commerce and morality, these collected works will be of considerable value to those working in political philosophy, the history of ideas and the history of economic and social theory.

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Preface and Acknowledgements


1. The Study of the Scottish Enlightenment: an Autobiographical Journey

Part I: Scottish Enlightenment

Introduction to Part I

2. James Dunbar and Ideas of Sociality and Language in Eighteenth Century Scotland

3. James Dunbar and the Enlightenment Debate on Language

4."Climate" in the Eighteenth Century: James Dunbar and the Scottish Case

5. Sociality and Socialisation

6. Rude Religion: The Psychology of Polytheism in the Scottish Enlightenment

7. ‘But art itself is Natural to Man’: Ferguson and the Principle of Simultaneity

8. Finding Space for Civil Society

Part II: David Hume

Introduction to Part II

9. Hume on Rationality in History and Social Life

10. Lusty Women and Loose Imagination: Hume’s Philosophical Anthropology of Chastity

11. Hume and the Customary Causes of Industry, Knowledge and Commerce

12. Hume’s Universalism: The Science of Man and the Anthropological Point of View

13. Hume and Superfluous Value (or the problem with Epictetus’ Slippers)

14. Science and Superstition: Hume and Conservatism

15. Hume on Happiness

Part III: Adam Smith

Introduction to Part III

16. Adam Smith’s ‘Considerations’ on Language

17. Smith and Science

18. Adam Smith: Commerce, Liberty and Modernity

19. Adam Smith and the Virtues of a Modern Economy

20. Adam Smith’s Science of Human Nature

21. Adam Smith on Liberty ‘in our present sense of the word’

About the Author

Chris Berry is Professor Emeritus of Political Theory at the University of Glasgow, which he joined from 1970, from the LSE where he completed his doctorate. He is best known for his work on the Scottish Enlightenment and on the ‘Idea of Luxury’ and he has given invited keynote lectures on these themes in China, Japan, Chile, the US and in Europe. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.


Chris Berry’s hybrid conceptual inquiries into the political theory of the Scottish Enlightenment are utterly distinctive. Though skeptical of a distinctive ‘Berry-view’, nobody else writes about these topics as he has done for a generation, and reading these essays newly arranged together gives a singularly enlightening sense of both his intellectual evolution and the transformation of his field of study since the 1960s.

- Duncan Kelly, University of Cambridge

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