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Adam Ferguson and the Idea of Civil SocietyMoral Science in the Scottish Enlightenment$
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Craig Smith

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474413275

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474413275.001.0001

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Moral Education

Moral Education

(p.121) 4 Moral Education
Adam Ferguson and the Idea of Civil Society

Craig Smith

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores how Ferguson used the moral philosophy of chapter 3, based on the moral science of chapter 2, to create a system of education for the rising Scottish middle class. It examines his notion of active pedagogy and his use of stoic and Christian ideas to create a cadre of well-educated and sensible gentlemen who would form the backbone of the British state. The chapter examines Ferguson as a theorist of the modern gentleman rather than the ancient citizen and suggests that he saw institutions as shaped by their personnel. This leads to an account that favours political stability and gradual reform. Ferguson is seen as forward looking educator rather than backward looking nostalgic for Roman citizenship.

Keywords:   Moral Philosophy, Virtue, Moral Education, Circumstances, Gentlemen

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