AN EXAMINATION OF SCOTCH INTELLECT DURING THE SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES — H.T. Buckle

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“Have you read Buckle’s second volume? It has interested me greatly; I do not care whether his views are right or wrong, but I should think they contained much truth. There is a noble love of advancement and truth throughout, and to my taste he is the very best writer of the English language that ever lived.” — CHARLES DARWIN
…The aspects of Scottish history to which Buckle turned his attention were ones that worried his contemporaries as much as himself Why was there such a difference in outlook between the Scots and the English? Why was the church history of the two countries so different? Why had the Scots apparently reacted in such a different way from the French and the English to the eighteenth-century Enlightenment? Why, above all, had Scotland produced a clerically-dominated religious revival in the first half of the nineteenth century, which had served to make Scotland unintelligible to the English, and had apparently reestablished a system of clerical tyranny?
For Buckle the answer to all these questions lay in the Scottish preference for deduction over induction. In England intellectual development had followed inductive lines—pref erring inferences drawn from experience to deductions drawn from hypotheses. In Scotland the preference had been all the other way—deductions drawn from theoretical propositions dominated Scottish thought and made for the tyranny of religious bigotry.

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“Have you read Buckle’s second volume? It has interested me greatly; I do not care whether his views are right or wrong, but I should think they contained much truth. There is a noble love of advancement and truth throughout, and to my taste he is the very best writer of the English language that ever lived.” — CHARLES DARWIN …The aspects of Scottish history to which Buckle turned his attention were ones that worried his contemporaries as much as himself Why was there such a difference in outlook between the Scots and the English? Why was the church history of the two countries so different? Why had the Scots apparently reacted in such a different way from the French and the English to the eighteenth-century Enlightenment? Why, above all, had Scotland produced a clerically-dominated religious revival in the first half of the nineteenth century, which had served to make Scotland unintelligible to the English, and had apparently reestablished a system of clerical tyranny? For Buckle the answer to all these questions lay in the Scottish preference for deduction over induction. In England intellectual development had followed inductive lines—pref erring inferences drawn from experience to deductions drawn from hypotheses. In Scotland the preference had been all the other way—deductions drawn from theoretical propositions dominated Scottish thought and made for the tyranny of religious bigotry.

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