Sep 192017
 

Statue of David HumeThe Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1RN

David Hume (1711–76), incongruously portrayed in this statue as an ancient Greek philosopher rather than a mid-eighteenth-century man of letters, is perhaps the best known figure of the Scottish Enlightenment. In the eighteenth century Edinburgh witnessed an unprecedented flowering of science, literature and philosophy. Hume was a contemporary of Adam Smith (1723–90), the great political economist, Adam Ferguson (1721–1816), the social theorist, Joseph Black (1727–99), the pioneering chemist and James Hutton (1726–97), the geologist. These figures all knew each other and socialised together in the convivial atmosphere of Edinburgh’s many clubs and hostelries. Together they helped develop many of the ideas and theories that made the modern world.

Portrait of David Hume (1711–1776) by Allan Ramsay.

Portrait of David Hume (1711–1776) by Allan Ramsay.

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Sep 192017
 

Adam Ferguson's House.3 Sciennes House Place, Edinburgh EH9 1NN

Adam Ferguson was professor of moral philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, and, as the author of the Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767), is often considered one of the founders of sociology. He regularly entertained many of the leading figures of the Scottish Enlightenment at his house in Sciennes. In Ferguson’s day the house was on the very edge of the city and, because of its remoteness, his friends jokingly referred to it as ‘Kamchatka’ after the peninsula in Siberia. In the winter of 1786/7 he hosted a dinner here at which the two most famous Scottish writers of the period, Robert Burns and the young Walter Scott, met for the first and only time.

Portrait of Adam Ferguson (1723–1816) by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Portrait of Adam Ferguson (1723–1816) by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Plaque commemorating the meeting of Robert Burns and Walter Scott at the house of Adam Ferguson.

Plaque commemorating the meeting of Robert Burns and Walter Scott at the house of Adam Ferguson.

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National Records of Scotland – Adam Ferguson (1723-1816)

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