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The Idea of Commercial Society in the Scottish Enlightenment$
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Christopher J. Berry

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748645329

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748645329.001.0001

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. Scotland, Improvement and Enlightenment

. Scotland, Improvement and Enlightenment

(p.1) 1. Scotland, Improvement and Enlightenment
The Idea of Commercial Society in the Scottish Enlightenment

Christopher J. Berry

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter provides a synoptic or ‘scene-setting’ overview of Scottish Enlightenment. The first part examines the broad social context, emphasising the interlocking character of the key institutions (Law, Church, Universities, Clubs) and the presence of a shared agenda to endorse and promote ‘improvement’. The second part looks at the broad intellectual context, scientific (Bacon, Newton) and philosophical (Locke, Montesquieu). The Scottish thinkers were members of the Enlightenment ‘family’, and as such opposed to superstition/ignorance and committed to scientific explanation and search for systemic principles of societal order and an endorsement of ‘improvement’.

Keywords:   Improvement, Enlightenment, Science

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