In Gordon Graham (ed.), Scottish Philosophy in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Oxford University Press (2015)

This chapter details the life of Thomas Brown, successor to Dugald Stewart in the Chair of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University. Brown died unexpectedly at a relatively young age, having published very little. However, his posthumously published lectures were highly acclaimed and very influential, both in Britain and abroad. This chapter investigates the sources of Brown’s thought, including his interest in Erasmus Darwin, and outlines the main features of his philosophical position. It thereby identifies his key importance to the nineteenth-century continuation of a debate between followers of David Hume and Thomas Reid, a debate brought to new prominence by Sir William Hamilton’s attack on Brown in the Edinburgh Review. The chapter also offers some assessment of Brown’s philosophical significance.
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