5.5 Science in the Scottish Enlightenment
This course is concerned with science in Scotland, one of the most dynamic centres of Enlightenment thinking. Writers speak of the mid-eighteenth century as Scotland's ‘Golden Age’. In order to get a flavour of this age, it is necessary to take a very broad view of what we mean by ‘science’. Staying within the boundaries recognised by modern science faculties misses most of what is distinctive about eighteenth-century Scotland. The interconnections and cross-fertilisation between disciplines that we now regard as having little to do with each other is one of the remarkable features of the Scottish scene. Geologists associated with historians, economists with chemists, philosophers with surgeons, lawyers with farmers, church ministers with architects.
This course examines the historical background from which an astonishing cluster of intellectuals and ideas emerged.
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(5 study hours)
By the end of this free course you should be able to:
understand developments in Scotland with regard to the Enlightenment period;
give Scottish examples from the community of philosophers and scientists from the Enlightenment period;
describe how these Scots helped influence the Industrial Revolution and the American Revolution.