Thomas Reid: Selected Philosophical Writings
Editor: Giovanni Grandi
Thomas Reid (1710-1796) is the foremost exponent of the Scottish ‘common sense’ school of philosophy. Educated at Marischal College in Aberdeen, Reid subsequently taught at King’s College, and was a founder of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society. His…
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Thomas Reid (1710-1796) is the foremost exponent of the Scottish ‘common sense’ school of philosophy. Educated at Marischal College in Aberdeen, Reid subsequently taught at King’s College, and was a founder of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society. His Inquiry Into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense was published in 1764, the same year he succeeded Adam Smith as Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. He resigned from active teaching duties in 1785 to devote himself to writing, and published two more books — Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man (1785) and Essays on the Active Powers of Man (1788). Within a short time of publication, Reid’s works were translated into French and German, and greatly influenced debates in philosophy and psychology in Europe. His influence in the emerging colleges and universities of post-revolutionary America was even greater. Reid was widely regarded as David Hume’s most sophisticated contemporary critic. His critique of the “theory of ideas”, that lay behind both Hume’s scepticism and Berkeley’s immaterialism, his critique of Locke’s theory of personal identity, and his defence of “moral liberty” against determinism, are all of enduring interest and significance. The aim of this comprehensive selection of his writings is to make the key elements of Reid’s philosophical work available to a new generation of readers. Two other philosophers of the ‘common sense’ school are featured in the Library of Scottish Philosophy— James Beattie and Dugald Stewart.