By Gordon Graham
Philosophy played a key role in the curriculum of the Scottish universities from their foundation in the 15th century to the closing decade of the 19th century. By the middle of the 20th century, however, Hume’s great prominence in the philosophy of mind and metaphysics had come to overshadow not only the writings of his contemporaries but the wide range of topics with which he himself engaged.
Cognitive science, economic policy, political theory and epistemological pragmatism are modern names for themes that recur across the centuries of Scottish philosophy. Many of the authors who write them are now either unknown or discounted. Yet their treatment of topics that fall into these headings can still prove illuminating.
There are four papers available to download as part of the Journal of Scottish Philosophy Themed Collections that renew philosophical debate by rescuing neglected treatments of these important subjects.
In the collection, Scottish Philosophy: Neglect and Renewal, James van Cleve recounts Thomas Reid’s place in the history of cognitive psychology in order to shed light on a philosophical issue of continuing interest, while Maria Pia Paganelli offers an interpretation of Hume as a descendant of a pre-modern understanding of money rather than a forerunner of modern monetary ideas, showing the importance of David Hume’s thought in an area where he is little discussed. Erik Lundestad then identifies the strengths of American pragmatism against the ‘common sense versus skepticism’ background out of which it grew, and Alexander Broadie reaches back beyond the Enlightenment period and brings a wholly new philosophical voice to debates about Thomas Hobbes.
Gordon Graham is the Editor of Journal of Scottish Philosophy and the Henry Luce III Professor of Philosophy and the Arts at Princeton Theological Seminary in the USA. Details of his research interests, writing and publications are available on his website: http://www.gordon-graham.net/