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The Scottish Enlightenment (Scots: Scots Enlichtenment, Scottish Gaelic: Soilleireachadh na h-Alba) was the period in 18th century Scotland characterised by an outpouring of intellectual and scientific accomplishments. By 1750, Scots were among the most literate citizens of Europe, with an estimated 75% level of literacy. The culture was orientated towards books, and intense discussions took place daily at such intellectual gathering places in Edinburgh as The Select Society and, later, The Poker Club as well as within Scotland’s ancient universities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Sharing the humanist and rationalist outlook of the European Enlightenment of the same time period, the thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment asserted the fundamental importance of human reason combined with a rejection of any authority that could not be justified by reason. They held to an optimistic belief in the ability of humanity to effect changes for the better in society and nature, guided only by reason. This latter feature gave the Scottish Enlightenment its special flavour, distinguishing it from its continental European counterpart. In Scotland, the Enlightenment was characterised by a thoroughgoing empiricism and practicality where the chief virtues were improvement, virtue, and practical benefit for the individual and society as a whole.
Among the fields that rapidly advanced were philosophy, political economy, engineering, architecture, medicine, geology, archaeology, law, agriculture, chemistry and sociology. Among the Scottish thinkers and scientists of the period were Francis Hutcheson, Alexander Campbell, David Hume, Adam Smith, Dugald Stewart, Thomas Reid, Robert Burns, Adam Ferguson, John Playfair, Joseph Black and James Hutton.
The Scottish Enlightenment had effects far beyond Scotland itself, not only because of the esteem in which Scottish achievements were held in Europe and elsewhere, but also because its ideas and attitudes were carried across the Atlantic world as part of the Scottish diaspora, and by American students who studied in Scotland.
Economic growth 
At the union of 1707 England had about five times the population of Scotland, and about 36 times as much wealth, however, Scotland began to experience the beginnings of economic expansion that would begin to allow it to close this gap. Contacts with England led to a conscious attempt to improve agriculture among the gentry and nobility. However, although some estate holders improved the quality of life of their displaced workers, enclosures led to unemployment and forced migrations to the burghs or abroad. The major change in international trade was the rapid expansion of the Americas as a market. Glasgow particularly benefited from this new trade; initially supplying the colonies with manufactured goods, it emerged as the focus of the tobacco trade, re-exporting particularly to France. The merchants dealing in this lucrative business became the wealthy tobacco lords, who dominated the city for most of the eighteenth century. Banking also developed in this period. The Bank of Scotland, founded in 1695 was suspected of Jacobite sympathies and so a rival Royal Bank of Scotland was founded in 1727. Local banks began to be established in burghs like Glasgow and Ayr. These would make capital available for business and the improvement of roads and trade.
Education system 
The humanist-inspired emphasis on education in Scotland, cumulated with the passing of the Education Act 1496, which decreed that all sons of barons and freeholders of substance should attend grammar schools. The aims of a network of parish schools were taken up as part of the Protestant programme in the sixteenth century and a series of acts of the Privy Council and Parliament in 1616, 1633, 1646 and 1696, attempted to support its development and finance. By the late seventeenth century there was a largely complete network of parish schools in the Lowlands, but in the Highlands basic education was still lacking in many areas. One of the effects of this extensive network of schools was the growth of the "democratic myth", which in the nineteenth century created the widespread belief that many a "lad of pairts" had been able to rise up through the system to take high office and that literacy was much more widespread in Scotland than in neighbouring states, particularly England. Historians now accept that very few boys were able to pursue this route to social advancement and that literacy was not noticeably higher than comparable nations, as the education in the parish schools was basic, short and attendance was not compulsory.
By the seventeenth century Scotland had five universities, compared with England's two. After the disruption of the civil wars, Commonwealth and purges at the Restoration, they recovered with a lecture-based curriculum that was able to embrace economics and science, offering a high quality liberal education to the sons of the nobility and gentry. All saw the establishment or re-establishment of chairs of mathematics. Observatories were built at St. Andrews and at King's and Marischal colleges in Aberdeen. Robert Sibbald (1641–1722) was appointed as the first Professor of Medicine at Edinburgh and he co-founded the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1681. These developments helped the universities to become major centres of medical education and would put Scotland at the forefront of new thinking. By the eighteenth century, access to Scottish universities was probably more open than in contemporary England, Germany or France. Attendance was less expensive and the student body more socially representative. In the eighteenth century Scotland reaped the intellectual benefits of this system.
Intellectual climate 
In France, Enlightenment was based in the salons and culminated in the great Encyclopédie (1751–72) edited by Denis Diderot and (until 1759) Jean le Rond d'Alembert (1713–84) with contributions by hundreds of leading intellectuals such as Voltaire (1694–1778), Rousseau (1712–78)  and Montesquieu (1689–1755). Some 25,000 copies of the 35 volume set were sold, half of them outside France. In Scottish intellectual life the culture was orientated towards books. In 1763 Edinburgh had six printing houses, and three paper mills and by 1783 there were sixteen printing houses and twelve paper mills.
Intellectual life revolved around a series of clubs, beginning in Edinburgh in the 1710s. One of the first was the Easy Club, co-founded In Edinburgh by the Jacobite printer Thomas Ruddiman. Clubs did not reach Glasgow until the 1740s. One of the first and most important in the city was the Political Economy Club, aimed a creating links between academics and merchants. Other clubs in Edinburgh included The Select Society and, later, The Poker Club, formed in 1762 and named by Adam Ferguson for the aim to "poke up" opinion on the militia issue.
Major intellectual areas 
Empiricism and inductive reasoning 
The first major philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment was Francis Hutcheson (1694–1746), who was professor of moral philosophy at Glasgow from 1729 to 1746. He was an important link between the ideas of Shaftesbury and the later school of Scottish Common Sense Realism, developing Utilitarianism and Consequentialist thinking.
David Hume (1711–76) whose Treatise on Human Nature (1738) and Essays, Moral and Political (1741) helped outline the parameters of philosophical Empiricism and Scepticism. He would be a major influence of later Enlightenment figures including Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant and Jeremy Bentham.
In contrast to Hume, Thomas Reid (1710–96) formulated Common Sense Realism in his An Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense (1764). This approach argued that there are certain concepts, such as human existence, the existence of solid objects and some basic moral "first principles", that are intrinsic to the make up of man and from which all subsequent arguments and systems of morality must be derived. It can be seen as an attempt to reconcile the new scientific developments of the Enlightenment with religious belief.
Major literary figures originating in Scotland in this period included James Boswell (1740–95), whose An Account of Corsica (1768) and The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (1785) drew on his extensive travels and whose Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) is a major source on one of the English Enlightenment's major men of letters and his circle. Allan Ramsay (1686–1758) laid the foundations of a reawakening of interest in older Scottish literature, as well as leading the trend for pastoral poetry, helping to develop the Habbie stanza as a poetic form. Hugh Blair (1718-1800) was a minister of the Church of Scotland and held the Chair of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres at the University of Edinburgh. He produced an edition of the works of Shakespeare and is best known for Sermons (1777-1801), a five volume endorsement of practical Christian morality, and Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (1783), a essay on literary composition, which would have a major impact on the work of Adam Smith. He was also one of the figures who first drew the Ossian cycle of James Macpherson to public attention. Macpherson (1736–96) was the first Scottish poet to gain an international reputation. Claiming to have found poetry written by the ancient bard Ossian, he published "translations" that were proclaimed as a Celtic equivalent of the Classical epics. Fingal, written in 1762, was speedily translated into many European languages, and its appreciation of natural beauty and treatment of the ancient legend has been credited more than any single work with bringing about the Romantic movement in European, and especially in German literature, through its influence on Johann Gottfried von Herder and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Eventually it became clear that the poems were not direct translations from the Gaelic, but flowery adaptations made to suit the aesthetic expectations of his audience.
Linguistics and anthropology 
James Burnett, Lord Monboddo (1714-99) is most famous today as a founder of modern comparative historical linguistics. He was the first major figure to argue that mankind had evolved language skills in response to his changing environment and social structures. He was one of a number of scholars involved in the development of early concepts of evolution and has been credited with anticipating in principle the idea of natural selection that was developed into a scientific theory by Charles Darwin.
Economics and sociology 
Adam Smith developed and published The Wealth of Nations, the starting point of modern economics. This famous study, which had an immediate impact on British economic policy, still frames discussions on globalisation and tariffs.
Scottish Enlightenment thinkers developed what Hume called a science of man, which was expressed historically in works by such as James Burnett, Adam Ferguson, John Millar and William Robertson, all of whom merged a scientific study of how humans behave in ancient and primitive cultures, with an awareness of the determining forces of modernity. Alan Swingewood argues that modern sociology largely originated from this movement.
Science and medicine 
The focus of the Scottish Enlightenment ranged from intellectual and economic matters to the specifically scientific as in the work of William Cullen, physician and chemist, James Anderson, agronomist, Joseph Black, physicist and chemist, was the discoverer of latent heat and James Hutton, the first modern geologist. In medicine key figures included the brothers, William (1718–83) and John Hunter (1728–93), who were, respectively, the leading anatomist and surgeon of their day and helped to make Edinburgh a major centre of medical teaching and research.
Impact in Scotland 
While the Scottish Enlightenment is traditionally considered to have concluded toward the end of the 18th century, disproportionately large Scottish contributions to British science and letters continued for another 50 years or more, thanks to such figures as James Hutton, James Watt, William Murdoch, James Clerk Maxwell, Lord Kelvin and Sir Walter Scott.
Cultural influence 
The Scottish Enlightenment had numerous dimensions, it impacted the culture of the nation in areas such as music.
Scotland also produced some of the most significant architects of the period who were involved in the intellectual culture of the Enlightenment. Robert Adam (1728–92) was interior designer as well as an architect, with his brothers developing the Adam style, He influenced the development of architecture in Britain, Western Europe, North America and in Russia. Adam's main rival was William Chambers, another Scot, but born in Sweden. He was appointed architectural tutor to the Prince of Wales, later George III, and in 1766, with Robert Adam, as Architect to the King.
International impact 
The influence of the movement spread beyond Scotland across the British Empire, and onto the Continent. The political ideas had an important impact on the founding fathers of the United States, which broke away from the empire in 1775. The philosophy of Common Sense Realism was especially influential in 19th century American thought and religion.
Key figures 
- Robert Adam (1728–1792) architect
- James Anderson (1739–1808) agronomist, lawyer, amateur scientist
- Joseph Black (1728–1799) physicist and chemist, first to isolate carbon dioxide
- Hugh Blair (1718–1800) minister, author
- James Boswell (1740–1795) lawyer, author of Life of Johnson
- Thomas Brown (1778–1820), Scottish moral philosopher and philosopher of mind; jointly held the Chair of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University with Dugald Stewart
- James Burnett, Lord Monboddo (1714–1799) philosopher, judge, founder of modern comparative historical linguistics
- Robert Burns (1759–1796) poet
- Alexander Campbell (1788–1866) early leader in the Restoration Movement
- George Campbell (1719–1796) philosopher of language, theology, and rhetoric
- Sir John Clerk of Eldin (1728–1812) prolific artist, author of An Essay on Naval Tactics; great-uncle of James Clerk Maxwell
- William Cullen (1710–1790) physician, chemist, early medical researcher
- Adam Ferguson (1723–1816) considered the founder of sociology
- Robert Fergusson (1750–1774), poet.
- Andrew Fletcher (1653–1716) a forerunner of the Scottish Enlightenment, writer, patriot, commissioner of Parliament of Scotland
- Sir James Hall, 4th Baronet (1761–1832) geologist, geophysicist
- Henry Home, Lord Kames (1696–1782) philosopher, judge, historian
- David Hume (1711–1776) philosopher, historian, essayist
- Francis Hutcheson (1694–1746) philosopher of metaphysics, logic, and ethics
- James Hutton (1726–1797) founder of modern geology
- Sir John Leslie (1766–1832) mathematician, physicist, investigator of heat (thermodynamics)
- James Mill (1773–1836) late in the period - Father of John Stuart Mill.
- John Millar (1735–1801) philosopher, historian, historiographer
- Thomas Muir of Huntershill, (1765–1799), political reformer, leader of the Scottish "Friends of the People Society"
- John Playfair (1748–1819) mathematician, author of Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth
- Allan Ramsay (1686–1758) poet
- Henry Raeburn (1756–1823) portrait painter
- Thomas Reid (1710–1796) philosopher, founder of the Scottish School of Common Sense
- William Robertson (1721–1793) one of the founders of modern historical research
- Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832) lawyer, novelist, poet
- John Sinclair (1754–1835) politician, writer, the first person to use the word statistics in the English language
- William Smellie (1740–1795) editor of the first edition of Encyclopædia Britannica
- Adam Smith (1723–1790) whose The Wealth of Nations was one of the first modern treatises on economics
- Dugald Stewart (1753–1828) moral philosopher
- George Turnbull (1698–1748), theologian, philosopher and writer on education
- John Walker (naturalist) (1730–1803) professor of natural history
- James Watt (1736–1819) student of Joseph Black; engineer, inventor (see Watt steam engine)
Plus two who visited and corresponded with Edinburgh scholars:
- Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802) physician, botanist, philosopher, grandfather of Charles Darwin
- Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) polymath, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States
See also 
- Herman, Arthur (2003). The Scottish Enlightenment: The Scots' Invention of the Modern World. 4th Estate, Limited. ISBN 1-84115-276-5.
- Mark R. M. Towsey, Reading the Scottish Enlightenment: Books and Their Readers in Provincial Scotland, 1750-1820 (2010)
- R. H. Campbell, "The Anglo-Scottish Union of 1707. II: The Economic Consequences", Economic History Review, vol. 16, April 1964.
- J. D. Mackie, B. Lenman and G. Parker, A History of Scotland (London: Penguin, 1991), ISBN 0140136495, pp. 288-91.
- J. D. Mackie, B. Lenman and G. Parker, A History of Scotland (London: Penguin, 1991), ISBN 0140136495, p. 292.
- J. D. Mackie, B. Lenman and G. Parker, A History of Scotland (London: Penguin, 1991), ISBN 0140136495, p. 296.
- J. D. Mackie, B. Lenman and G. Parker, A History of Scotland (London: Penguin, 1991), ISBN 0140136495, p. 297.
- P. J. Bawcutt and J. H. Williams, A Companion to Medieval Scottish Poetry (Woodbridge: Brewer, 2006), ISBN 1-84384-096-0, pp. 29–30.
- "School education prior to 1873", Scottish Archive Network, 2010, archived from the original on 3 July 2011.
- R. Anderson, "The history of Scottish Education pre-1980", in T. G. K. Bryce and W. M. Humes, eds, Scottish Education: Post-Devolution (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2nd edn., 2003), ISBN 0-7486-1625-X, pp. 219-28.
- T. M. Devine, The Scottish Nation, 1700-2000 (London: Penguin Books, 2001), ISBN 0-14-100234-4, pp. 91-100.
- T. M. Devine, "The rise and fall of the Scottish Enlightenment", in T. M. Devine and J. Wormald, The Oxford Handbook of Modern Scottish History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), ISBN 0-19-162433-0, p. 373.
- R. A. Houston, Scottish Literacy and the Scottish Identity: Illiteracy and Society in Scotland and Northern England, 1600-1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), ISBN 0-521-89088-8, p. 245.
- Herman, Arthur (2001). How the Scots Invented the Modern World (Hardcover: ISBN 978-0-609-60635-3, Paperback: ISBN 978-0-609-80999-0 ed.). Crown Publishing Group.
- D. Vallier, Rousseau (New York: Crown, c1979).
- Mark R. M. Towsey, Reading the Scottish Enlightenment: Books and Their Readers in Provincial Scotland, 1750-1820 (2010).
- R. B. Sher, "Scotland Transformed: The Eighteenth Century", in J. Wormald, ed., Scotland: A History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 169.
- M. Lynch, Scotland: A New History (London: Pimlico, 1992), ISBN 0712698930, p. 346.
- M. Lynch, Scotland: A New History (London: Pimlico, 1992), ISBN 0712698930, p. 348.
- R. Mitchison, Lordship to Patronage, Scotland 1603-1745 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1983), ISBN 074860233X, p. 150.
- R. Mitchison, Lordship to Patronage, Scotland 1603-1745 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1983), ISBN 074860233X, p. 150.
- B. Freydberg, David Hume: Platonic Philosopher, Continental Ancestor (Suny Press, 2012), ISBN 1438442157, p. 105.
- E. J. Wilson, P. H. Reill, Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (Infobase Publishing, 2nd edn., 2004), ISBN 0816053359, pp. 499–501.
- Paul C. Gutjahr, Charles Hodge: Guardian of American Orthodoxy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), ISBN 0199740429), p. 39.
- E. J. Wilson and P. H. Reill, Encyclopedia Of The Enlightenment (Infobase, 2nd edn., 2004), ISBN 0816053359, p. 68.
- J. Buchan, Crowded with Genius (London: Harper Collins, 2003), ISBN 0-06-055888-1, p. 311.
- G. A. Kennedy, Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Tradition Form Ancient to Modern Times (University of North Carolina Press, 1999), ISBN 0807861138, p. 282.
- J. Buchan, Crowded with Genius (London: Harper Collins, 2003), ISBN 0-06-055888-1, p. 163.
- D. Thomson, The Gaelic Sources of Macpherson's "Ossian" (Aberdeen: Oliver & Boyd, 1952).
- C. Hobbs, Rhetoric on the Margins of Modernity: Vico, Condillac, Monboddo (SIU Press, 2002), ISBN 978-0-8093-2469-9.
- P. J. Bowler, Evolution: The History of an Idea (Berkley CA: University of California Press, 1989), ISBN 978-0-520-06386-0, p. 51.
- Samuelson, Paul (1976). Economics. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-054590-1. "As a scholarly discipline, economics is just two centuries old. Adam Smith published his pathbreaking book The Wealth of Nations in 1776, ..."
- Fry, Michael (1992). Adam Smith's Legacy: His Place in the Development of Modern Economics. Paul Samuelson, Lawrence Klein, Franco Modigliani, James M. Buchanan, Maurice Allais, Theodore Schultz, Richard Stone, James Tobin, Wassily Leontief, Jan Tinbergen. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-06164-3. "Adam Smith's Legacy brings together ten Nobel Laureates in Economics, the greatest number since the prize was instituted in 1969. They explore themes as diverse as Smith's use of data, his attitude towards human capital, and his views on economic policy. Heirs to Smith and leaders of the discipline, the contributors also reflect upon the current state of economics, assessing the extent to which it measures up to the benchmark its founder established."
- Magnus Magnusson (10 November 2003). "Northern lights". New Statesman. Review of James Buchan's Capital of the Mind: Edinburgh (Crowded With Genius: Edinburgh's Moment of the Mind in the U.S.) London: John Murray ISBN 0-7195-5446-2.
- Alan Swingewood, "Origins of Sociology: The Case of the Scottish Enlightenment," The British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 21, No. 2 (June, 1970), pp. 164-180 in JSTOR
- R. Mitchelson, A History of Scotland (London: Routledge, 2002), 0203412710, p. 352.
- David Denby (11 October 2004). "Northern Lights: How modern life emerged from eighteenth-century Edinburgh". The New Yorker. Review of James Buchan's Crowded With Genius: Edinburgh's Moment of the Mind (Capital of the Mind: Edinburgh in the UK) HarperCollins, 2003. Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-055888-1, ISBN 978-0-06-055888-8. "The fountainhead was Francis Hutcheson, a kind of pan-Enlightenment figure who, from 1729 until his death in 1746, held the chair in moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow, where he broke with tradition by lecturing in English in addition to the common lecturing language of the time, Latin. Hutcheson, a frequent visitor to Edinburgh, was Adam Smith’s teacher and he encouraged Hume’s early efforts. He was suspicious of metaphysics or any claims not based on observation or experience. Empiricism and the inductive method was the clarion call of the Scottish Enlightenment.
The intellectual break with the past was drastic and seemingly irreversible. In recent years, scholars have traced the rudiments of modern psychology, anthropology, the earth sciences, and theories of civil society and liberal education to eighteenth-century Scotland."
- Repcheck, Jack (2003). "Chapter 7: The Athens of the North". The Man Who Found Time: James Hutton and the Discovery of the Earth's Antiquity. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Basic Books, Perseus Books Group. pp. 117–143. ISBN 0-7382-0692-X. "Onto the list should also be added two men who never lived in Edinburgh but who visited and maintained an active correspondence with the scholars there: Ben Franklin (1706-1790), the statesman and talented polymath who discovered electricity; and Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), Charles Darwin's grandfather and the author of a precursor theory of evolution."
- J. R. Allard, "Medicine", in J. Faflak and J. M. Wright, eds, A Handbook of Romanticism Studies (Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, 2012), ISBN 1444356011, pp. 379–80.
- E. Wills, Scottish Firsts: a Celebration of Innovation and Achievement (Edinburgh: Mainstream, 2002), ISBN 1-84018-611-9.
- June C. Ottenberg, "Musical Currents of the Scottish Enlightenment," International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music Vol. 9, No. 1 (Jun., 1978), pp. 99-109 in JSTOR
- Adam Silver (HMSO/Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 1953), p. 1.
- N. Pevsner, An Outline of European Architecture (London: Pelican, 2nd Edition, 1951), p. 237.
- M. Glendinning, R. MacInnes and A. MacKechnie, A History of Scottish Architecture: from the Renaissance to the Present Day, (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2002), ISBN 978-0-7486-0849-2, p. 106.
- J. Harris and M. Snodin, Sir William Chambers Architect to George III (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996), ISBN 0-300-06940-5, p. 11.
- D. Watkin, The Architect King: George III and the Culture of the Enlightenment (Royal Collection Publications, 2004), p. 15.
- P. Rogers, The Eighteenth Century (London: Taylor and Francis, 1978), ISBN 0-416-56190-X, p. 217.
- Daniel Walker Howe, "Why the Scottish Enlightenment Was Useful to the Framers of the American Constitution," Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 31, No. 3 (July 1989), pp. 572-587 in JSTOR
- Robert W. Galvin, 'America's Founding Secret: What the Scottish Enlightenment Taught Our Founding Fathers (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002)
- Michael Fry, How the Scots Made America, (Thomas Dunne Books, (2004)
- Sydney E. Ahlstrom, "The Scottish Philosophy and American Theology," Church History, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Sep., 1955), pp. 257-272 in JSTOR
- Phillip Manning (28 December 2003). "A Toast To Times Past". Chapel Hill News. "Burns penned the song [Auld Lang Syne] in 1788 during the intellectual flowering known as the Scottish Enlightenment. Burns was part of a convivial group in Edinburgh whose writing and thinking produced the Enlightenment. One of the most original thinkers in that group, the man whose work would stimulate Charles Darwin’s ideas about evolution, was a well-to-do gentleman farmer named James Hutton. He discovered the immensity of our past, the days gone by that Burns wrote about so eloquently."
- Cambridge University Press. "Andrew Fletcher: Political Works".
- Dr David Allan. "A Hotbed of Genius: Culture and Society in the Scottish Enlightenment". University of St Andrews.
Further reading 
- David Allan. Virtue, Learning and the Scottish Enlightenment: Ideas of Scholarship in Early Modern History. · Edinburgh University Press, 1993. ISBN 978-0-7486-0438-8.
- Broadie, Alexander. The Scottish Enlightenment: The Historical Age of the Historical Nation. Birlinn 2002. Paperback: ISBN 1-84158-151-8, ISBN 978-1-84158-151-4.
- Broadie, Alexander, ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Scottish Enlightenment. (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) Cambridge University Press, 2003. ISBN 978-0-521-00323-0.
- Bruce, Duncan A. The Mark of the Scots: Their Astonishing Contributions to History, Science, Democracy, Literature, and the Arts. 1996. Hardcover: ISBN 1-55972-356-4, ISBN 978-1-55972-356-5. Citadel, Kensington Books, 2000. Paperback: ISBN 0-8065-2060-4, ISBN 978-0-8065-2060-5.
- Buchan, James Crowded With Genius: Edinburgh's Moment of the Mind. (Harper Perennial, 2004). ISBN 978-0-06-055889-5.
- Campbell, R. H. and Andrew S. Skinner, eds. The Origins and Nature of the Scottish Enlightenment (1982), 12 essays by scholars, esp. on history of science
- Daiches, David, Peter Jones and Jean Jones. A Hotbed of Genius: The Scottish Enlightenment, 1730-1790 (1986), 170pp; well-illustrated introduction
- Derry, J. F. Darwin in Scotland: Edinburgh, Evolution and Enlightenment. · Whittles Publishing, 2009. Paperback: ISBN 1-904445-57-8.
- David Daiches, Peter Jones, Jean Jones (eds). A Hotbed of Genius: The Scottish Enlightenment 1731-1790. (Edinburgh University Press, 1986); ISBN 0-85411-069-0
- Goldie, Mark. "The Scottish Catholic Enlightenment," The Journal of British Studies Vol. 30, No. 1 (Jan., 1991), pp. 20–62 in JSTOR
- Graham, Gordon. "Morality and Feeling in the Scottish Enlightenment," Philosophy Vol. 76, No. 296 (Apr., 2001), pp. 271–282 in JSTOR
- Herman, Arthur. How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The true story of how western Europe's poorest nation created our world & everything in it. Arthur Herman. (Crown Publishing Group, 2001); ISBN 0-609-80999-7.
- Lenman, Bruce P. Enlightenment and Change: Scotland 1746-1832 (2nd ed. The New History of Scotland Series. Edinburgh University Press, 2009). 280 pp. ISBN 978-0-7486-2515-4; 1st edition also published under the titles Integration, Enlightenment, and Industrialization: Scotland, 1746-1832 (1981) and Integration and Enlightenment: Scotland, 1746-1832 (1992); general survey
- C J Berry, Social Theory Of The Scottish Enlightenment, Edinburgh University Press 1997, ISBN 0 7486 0864 8
- Swingewood, Alan. "Origins of Sociology: The Case of the Scottish Enlightenment," The British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Jun., 1970), pp. 164–180 in JSTOR
- Towsey, Mark R. M. Reading the Scottish Enlightenment: Books and Their Readers in Provincial Scotland, 1750-1820 (2010)
Primary sources 
- Broadie, Alexander, ed. The Scottish Enlightenment: An Anthology (1998), primary sources. excerpt and text search
- Northern Lights: How modern life emerged from eighteenth-century Edinburgh.
- Scottish Enlightenment - an introduction.
- Living philosophy - Philosophical play readings of the legacy of David Hume, Adam Smith and Robert Burns
- Edinburgh Old Town Association - has references and links