Thomas Reid and the art of philosophy

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Two hundred years ago, a century after his birth in Scotland, the star of Reid, an 18th-Century Scottish philosopher, was in the ascendant. A century later, it had sunk without trace. Yet, 300 years on, in the tercentenary year of his birth, his star is rising again.

Thomas Reid is one of the greatest minds Scotland has produced: a clergyman, an educator, a philosopher, a natural scientist, and a mathematician, Reid wrote in a clear, unaffected and precise style that anticipates modern prose. Noted in his own time as an important critic of the scepticism of David Hume, Reid proved to be one of the most influential figures in the shaping of philosophy and education in North America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. After a period of some neglect, he is again the subject of much interest among philosophers and historians of ideas.

In this lecture Professor John Haldane gives an account of Reid’s life and thought, celebrating his approach to understanding human beings and their place in nature.


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