Wha's like us

P — Philosophy

Illustrated 16th-century manuscript page

Depiction of philosophy in 'De Civitate Dei', 1503.


Scotland has been the birthplace of philosophers of great international significance and enduring influence.

John Duns Scotus (around 1265-1308) was one of the most influential thinkers in Medieval Europe.

His complex and nuanced thought earned him the nickname 'the Subtle Doctor' and left a mark on a wide range of discussions such as religious language, the nature of human freedom and the problem of universality.

The intellectual and cultural influence of the Scottish Enlightenment could not be grasped without understanding David Hume's thought. Hume (1711-1766) conceived philosophy as the science of human nature and concluded that knowledge is based on experience.

Hume's ideas influenced thinkers as diverse as Adam Smith, Emmanuel Kant and Charles Darwin.


An ABC of Scotland

Philosphy was just one of the 'P' topics in our alphabetical exhibition celebrating some of the outstanding achievements by Scotland and Scots.

'Wha's like us?' ran from 13 December 2013 to 18 May 2014.

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