Adam Ferguson: Philosophy, Politics and Society (The by Eugene Heath, Vincenzo Merolle

By Eugene Heath, Vincenzo Merolle

Expanding numbers of students have well-known Ferguson's contribution to Enlightenment considering, yet no collections of scholarly essays were dedicated to him. during this, the second one of 2 comparable monographs, a collection of gathered essays examine Ferguson's philosophical, political and sociological writings and the discourse which they brought on among Ferguson and different very important figures equivalent to David Hume and Adam Smith. a lot secondary literature on Ferguson is mentioned, which highlights how Ferguson may be most sensible understood as a social theorist who hired components of many traces of notion to reconcile tensions of modernity. Crucially, Ferguson's options on those far-reaching themes are tricky to categorise so have usually been misrepresented in different places. This booklet addresses those misconceptions. designated one of the major figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, Ferguson observed eighteenth-century revolutions, the yankee and the French. On those and on many different very important modern matters, the perspectives he expressed contributed to shaping public opinion.

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Additional info for Adam Ferguson: Philosophy, Politics and Society (The Enlightenment World: Political and Intellectual History of the Long Eighteenth Century)

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Ferguson, along with Macpherson, wanted to bear witness to a social order that had beforehand been uncorrupted for 2,000 years. It had had its drawbacks, certainly, but also 24 Adam Ferguson, Philosophy, Politics and Society its achievements. Its poetry was wonderful, keeping alive the spirit of Homer. It bound men in comradeship on the battlefield in a way modern military discipline could scarcely rival. In civilian life, too, it created loyalties between superiors and inferiors where in modern life there were only antagonisms.

Stewart errs with Scott in placing Ferguson on the field of Fontenoy, but unlike Scott, Stewart adds some more interesting detail. Stewart’s story has Colonel Munro see Ferguson ‘in the ranks’, and utter ‘a friendly caution’ that, … there was no necessity to expose himself to unnecessary danger … Mr Ferguson thanked Sir Robert for his friendly advice, but added … he had a duty which he was imperiously called upon to perform. Accordingly, he continued with the regiment during the whole of the action, in the hottest of the fire, praying with the dying, attending to the wounded, and directing them to be carried to a place of safety.

31 Whether there is, among the range of possibilities, an ideal size of state is harder to say. It all depends on context: ‘The measure of enlargement to be wished for by any particular state is often to be taken from the condition of its neighbours. Where a number of states are contiguous, they should be near an equality, in order that they may possess that independence in which the life of a political nation consists’. 32 According to him, then, the main motive behind the English desire for Union with Scotland in 1707 had been the need to keep up with rivals in an environment of growing imperial competition.

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