Catalogue


Adam Ferguson in the Scottish enlightenment [electronic resource] : the Roman past and Europe's future /
Iain McDaniel.
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2013.
description
x, 276 p. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
9780674072961 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2013.
isbn
9780674072961 (alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Montesquieu and the unfree republic -- Military government and empire in the Scottish enlightenment -- Ferguson and the moral foundations of civil society -- Trajectories of the modern commercial state -- Britain's future in a Roman mirror -- Civil-military union and the modern state -- Revolution and modern republicanism.
catalogue key
9870424
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [223]-270) and index.
A Look Inside
Reviews
Review Quotes
McDaniel is astute and precise on Ferguson's debts to and differences from Montesquieu, and his analysis of how Ferguson ran against the tide in terms of how commercial societies might function is excellent.
Iain McDaniel 's major new study on the work of Adam Ferguson is without question the most serious examination of the political thought of this important but relatively neglected figure of the Scottish Enlightenment. It should be required reading for students of the Enlightenment, with relevance to scholars across the fields of the history of political thought and historically-oriented political theory.
Adam Ferguson in the Scottish Enlightenment is on the whole intelligent and convincing...Students of Adam Ferguson and European intellectual history should be sure to read McDaniel 's book.
Adam Ferguson in the Scottish Enlightenment is the work of an extremely able scholar who has something important to say and the ability to say it. It deals with the political thought of the later Enlightenment, with its concern with the future of the European state system in an age of war, commerce, empire and revolution, and more particularly with the threat of military despotism to which the greatest European states seemed vulnerable. McDaniel 's contribution to the political thought of the Scottish Enlightenment is revelatory and of fundamental importance.
Amid his military and political diversions, Ferguson grappled with every major philosophical figure of the Enlightenment. McDaniel skillfully captures the cut and thrust of these intellectual engagements...McDaniel adeptly presents Ferguson's thinking and places it in dialogue with luminaries such as Montesquieu, Rousseau and Adam Smith. The payoff is a richer understanding of Enlightenment debate as it confronted modern political economy.
This item was reviewed in:
Wall Street Journal, March 2013
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Summaries
Main Description
Although overshadowed by his contemporaries Adam Smith and David Hume, the Scottish philosopher Adam Ferguson strongly influenced eighteenth-century currents of political thought. A major reassessment of this neglected figure, Adam Ferguson in the Scottish Enlightenment: The Roman Past and Europe's Future sheds new light on Ferguson as a serious critic, rather than an advocate, of the Enlightenment belief in liberal progress. Unlike the philosophes who looked upon Europe's growing prosperity and saw confirmation of a utopian future, Ferguson saw something else: a reminder of Rome's lesson that egalitarian democracy could become a self-undermining path to dictatorship. Ferguson viewed the intrinsic power struggle between civil and military authorities as the central dilemma of modern constitutional governments. He believed that the key to understanding the forces that propel nations toward tyranny lay in analysis of ancient Roman history. It was the alliance between popular and militaristic factions within the Roman republic, Ferguson believed, which ultimately precipitated its downfall. Democratic forces, intended as a means of liberation from tyranny, could all too easily become the engine of political oppression-a fear that proved prescient when the French Revolution spawned the expansionist wars of Napoleon. As Iain McDaniel makes clear, Ferguson's skepticism about the ability of constitutional states to weather pervasive conditions of warfare and emergency has particular relevance for twenty-first-century geopolitics. This revelatory study will resonate with debates over the troubling tendency of powerful democracies to curtail civil liberties and pursue imperial ambitions.
Main Description
Although overshadowed by his contemporaries Adam Smith and David Hume, the Scottish philosopher Adam Ferguson strongly influenced eighteenth-century currents of political thought. A major reassessment of this neglected figure, Adam Ferguson in the Scottish Enlightenment: The Roman Past and Europe's Future sheds new light on Ferguson as a serious critic, rather than an advocate, of the Enlightenment belief in liberal progress. Unlike the philosophes who looked upon Europe's growing prosperity and saw confirmation of a utopian future, Ferguson saw something else: a reminder of Rome's lesson that egalitarian democracy could become a self-undermining path to dictatorship. Ferguson viewed the intrinsic power struggle between civil and military authorities as the central dilemma of modern constitutional governments. He believed that the key to understanding the forces that propel nations toward tyranny lay in analysis of ancient Roman history. It was the alliance between popular and militaristic factions within the Roman republic, Ferguson believed, which ultimately precipitated its downfall. Democratic forces, intended as a means of liberation from tyranny, could all too easily become the engine of political oppression'a fear that proved prescient when the French Revolution spawned the expansionist wars of Napoleon. As Iain McDaniel makes clear, Ferguson's skepticism about the ability of constitutional states to weather pervasive conditions of warfare and emergency has particular relevance for twenty-first-century geopolitics. This revelatory study will resonate with debates over the troubling tendency of powerful democracies to curtail civil liberties and pursue imperial ambitions.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Although overshadowed by his contemporaries Adam Smith and David Hume, the Scottish philosopher Adam Ferguson strongly influenced 18th-century currents of political thought. A major reassessment of this neglected figure, this book sheds new light on Ferguson as a serious critic, rather than an advocate, of the Enlightenment belief in liberal progress.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Montesquieu and the Unfree Republicp. 12
Military Government and Empire in the Scottish Enlightenmentp. 39
Ferguson and the Moral Foundations of Civil Societyp. 64
Trajectories of the Modern Commercial Statep. 92
Britain's Future in a Roman Mirrorp. 119
Civil-Military Union and the Modern Statep. 155
Revolution and Modern Republicanismp. 183
Conclusionp. 213
Abbreviationsp. 221
Notesp. 223
Indexp. 271
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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