Hume's History, Smith's Sentiments, Ferguson's Essay; Civilisation, War and the Scottish Enlightenment
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For many of the major thinkers associated with the Scottish Enlightenment, civilisation was not merely a condition of refinement, but a process of social development. Many of these thinkers sought to identify the major moral, social, economic and historical forces that drove this process forward. Typically, commentators have identified the role of economic development (specifically, commerce and trade), the extension of self-interest, the growth of sociality, or the division of labour as among the most important of those forces. It will be argued in this paper however, that alongside these explanations was a shared emphasis among key Scottish Englightenment thinkers on the military underpinnings of the civilising process. The theories of civilisation developed by David Hume, Adam Smith, and Adam Ferguson shared a 'military template', and this paper will focus on the main features of that template, identifying strong connections as well as some of the tensions between their analyses of the civilising process.
Proceedings of the Australasian Political Studies Association Conference 2003
Copyright remains with the author[s] 2003. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the conference's website for access to the definitive, published version.