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Molyneux's Problem in the Scottish Enlightenment

Charles Bradford Bow

professor of moral philosophy at Edinburgh University Dugald Stewart (1753–1828). Although Dalgarno developed his view of natural language while living in Oxford before the ideological origin of the Scottish Enlightenment, which was rooted in the 1707 Anglo

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Political Bodies as Living Mechanisms in Scottish Political Theory during the Late Eighteenth Century

Oili Pulkkinen

Newtonian science and mechanics left an important imprint on the Scottish Enlightenment. Even though the usage of mechanical metaphors, especially that of a “state machine” per se, were rare in Scottish philosophy, its conception of the human, animal and political bodies as mechanisms that function according to regular principles, or laws, helped to shape many of the theories that have now become popular in various fields of Scottish studies. Most research in these fields focus on the conceptions of history related to theories of economic advancement. In this article the author suggests that the theories produced in the Scottish Enlightenment were also nuanced attempts to describe how historical mechanisms operate.

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The Concept of Civilisation from Enlightenment to Revolution

An Ambiguous Transfer

Raymonde Monnier

This article focuses on the evolution of the concept of civilisation in the French language through the analysis of socio-political discourse from Enlightenment to the Revolution and of the Anglo-French transfers and translations of different English historians and philosophers who first started using the concept in the second half of the eighteenth century. In the interaction between the French and English Lumières, civilization came forward as a meta-concept pitted against that of the contract theory advanced by authors such as Adam Ferguson, with a distinct perspective of an overarching natural history of mankind. Drawing upon the results produced by Frantext and a history of the use of concept in different theoretical frameworks, the author demonstrates the construction of civilisation in its relationship to various antonyms (barbare, sauvage, barbarie), rhetorical uses and conceptions of history.

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Answering Daimã's Question

The Ontogeny of an Anthropological Epistemology in Eighteenth-Century Scotland

Peter Gow

This article seeks to describe the social preconditions of the emergence of science in Scotland since the Enlightenment and what came to be unknown in the process. It addresses the way in which the geologist James Hutton generated a specific category of 'men of scientific observation' as opposed to 'men of common observation'. In doing so, he, like other Enlightenment thinkers, transformed an existing spatial ordering of social relations into a temporal one. This formed one of the early steps in the development of a genuinely anthropological epistemology, whereby knowledge of the human lies with the 'primitive' other and with his or her knowledge of the world. Anthropology is thus the scientific observation of common observation and, as Lévi-Strauss pointed out, a specific form of common observation.

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John Carmichael's Journey from Aleppo to Basra (1754)

A Pluralized View of the Enlightenment Discourse of Improvement

Mohammad Sakhnini

This article shows how the Enlightenment notion of improvement in a cross-cultural context cannot be one of constant polarization. Without ever travelling to the Middle East, the Scottish Enlightenment literati proposed that the Middle East is backward and primitive in its economic and material infrastructure. Europe is progressing while the Middle East remained stuck in ancient times. John Carmichael could not escape the European repository of knowledge about the Orient. In his “Journey from Aleppo to Basra” (1754), he sometimes considered Arabs are irrational, backward and primitive. Yet the conditions of traveling in an Arab caravan invited him to interact with the people he encountered. He socialized and exchanged services with the Arabs. At the same time he learned how modern progress needs not be looked at as one of complete banishment of ancient rituals and traditions from the past. The journey in the Middle East has its educational effects.

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The ethnographer's magic as sympathetic magic

Kath Weston

With all the attention paid to empathy in recent years, sympathy has received short shrift. Yet it is sympathy that has the longer legacy in anthropology, both as a descriptor for certain ways of relating to the world, and as a moral passion that characterises something important about the relationship between ethnographers and those they study. By juxtaposing biographical accounts of the author's own research with a reading of 18th‐century texts from the Scottish Enlightenment on sympathy, this essay calls into question the assumption that sympathy arises from, even as it generates, culturally inscribed forms of empathy or closeness. I argue that what Malinowski called ‘the ethnographer's magic’ is (or can be) a sympathetic magic woven from biographical threads, depending for its efficacy on concealment and action at a proximate distance, rather than ‘shared experience’, identification with research participants, or affective appeals.

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‘My Waka Journey’

Introducing a New Co-Editor

Patrick Laviolette

historically fostered a conceptual and transdisciplinary ethos of learning. Nurtured from the Scottish Enlightenment, this ethos includes student-centred self-learning, research-based teaching as well as a broader scope of scholarship beyond the confines of

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The Sensory Revolution Comes of Age

David Howes

sorts of novel senses in the eighteenth century, particularly in the context of the Scottish Enlightenment. These senses included the aesthetic sense, the moral sense, and the public sense, among others, none of which have any basis in anatomy ( Howes

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Natural Children, Country Wives, and Country Girls in Nineteenth-Century India and Northeast Scotland

Eloise Grey

Theodore Forbes, Bombay, 15 January 1819. 32 On Anglo-Indian marriages in Bombay, see Onni Gust, Unhomely Empire: Whiteness and Belonging from the Scottish Enlightenment to Liberal Imperialism (London: Bloomsbury, 2020), 145. 33 Finn, “Anglo

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Conjunctures and Convergences

Remaking the World Cultures Displays at the National Museum of Scotland

Henrietta Lidchi

and the repurposing of Enlightenment ideals. In regard to the Scottish Enlightenment, it has been argued that within the history of ideas, it stands out as a philosophy that while convinced of the utility of reason was not persuaded by its omnipotence