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The Scottish Enlightenment

2. The Enlightenment in Scotland

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About this Lecture


In this module, we turn to the Enlightenment in Scotland—a region that saw an outpouring intellectual and scientific accomplishments in the fields of philosophy, literature, economic, sociology, mathematics, physics, chemistry and medicine. As we move through the module, we think about why Scotland in particular became such a hotbed of intellectual activity, as well as touching on the thoughts and achievements of some of the major Scottish thinkers—including Robert Burns, John Millar, Adam Ferguson, and James Watt.


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 - The Enlightenment in Scotland [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Plassart, A. "The Scottish Enlightenment – The Enlightenment in Scotland." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

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