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The Scottish Enlightenment

3. A Conservative Enlightenment?

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About this Lecture


In this module, we explore the Scottish Enlightenment in terms of its attitude to politics and church, thinking in particular about why Scottish thinkers in this period tended to be conservative in both their religious and political views.


In this course, Dr Anna Plassart (Open University) explores the Scottish Enlightenment. In the first module, we think about the Enlightenment as a whole—why it happened when it did, its principle goals and central doctrines—before moving on in the second and third modules to think about the Enlightenment in Scotland in particular. In the fourth and fifth modules, we focus on two of the major figures of Scottish Enlightenment and one of the major works—Adam Smith and ‘The Wealth of Nations’ (1776) and David Hume and ‘A Treatise of Human Nature’ (1738). A final module provides some conclusions and final thoughts for the course as whole.


Anna studied Economics and English at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the Université de la Sorbonne. She moved to the UK for her postgraduate studies and completed an MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History (2007) and a PhD (2011) in History at Trinity College, University of Cambridge.

Between 2010 and 2015, she was a Junior Research Fellow in Modern History at Christ Church, University of Oxford. She joined the OU as a Lecturer in History in February 2015.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Plassart, A. (2018, August 15). The Scottish Enlightenment - A Conservative Enlightenment? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Plassart, A. "The Scottish Enlightenment – A Conservative Enlightenment?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,