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The Social Theory of the Scottish Enlightenment

Christopher Berry

Paperback (Printed to Order)
David Hume, Adam Smith, William Robertson, Adam Ferguson, Lord Kames, John Millar, James Dunbar and Gilbert Stuart were at the heart of Scottish Enlightenment thought. This introductory survey offers the student a clear, accessible interpretation and synthesis of the social thought of these historically significant thinkers. Organised thematically, it takes the student through their accounts of social institutions, their critique of individualism, their methodology, their views of progress and of moral and cultural values. By taking human sociality as their premise, the book shows how they produced important analyses of historical change, politics and morality, together with an assessment of their own commercial society.

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.


A very useful and well written volume. I learned much from reading it, and so will students and experts alike, I am sure.
- Duncan Ivison, University of York

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