The Sociological Heritage of the Scottish Enlightenment

Edinburgh University Press (2024)
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Abstract

Explores the impact of Enlightenment philosophers in Scotland on the development of sociology The first collection to look at the significance of the Scottish Enlightenment for sociological thought, this book explores how and what sociological ideas were developed during this period. It also analyses how the ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment would emerge and develop in subsequent traditions of sociology. Scottish Enlightenment thinkers developed and refined a descriptive-explanatory approach and methodology to explore social and economic processes, an approach that was different from the normative and justificatory aspirations of 17th- and 18th-century social and political philosophies. This distinct contribution of the Scottish Enlightenment is frequently overlooked, even if some of its central figures - Adam Ferguson, David Hume, Adam Smith, to name but three - are acknowledged as important forerunners of contemporary social sciences. This book offers both a synoptic perspective on individual contributions and a connective view of theoretical achievements that are otherwise typically treated in isolation. Tamás Demeter is Professor of Philosophy at the Corvinus University of Budapest and Senior Research Fellow at the HUN-REN Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest.

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Tamas Demeter
Hungarian Academy of Sciences

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