The Democratic Intellect: Scotland and Her Universities in the Nineteenth Century

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Edinburgh University Press, 1999 - Education - 372 pages

An Edinburgh Classic edition of the cornerstone work on Scotland's intellectual identity

First published in 1961, The Democratic Intellectprovoked a re-evaluation of Scotland's philosophy of itself. George Davie's account of the history of the movements which set Scotland apart from its neighbours, and of the great personalities involved, has proved seminal in restoring to Scotland a sense of the value of its unique cultural identity.

Scotland's approach to higher education has always been distinctive. From the inauguration of its first universities, the accent was on first principles, and this broad, philosophical interpretation unified the approach to knowledge - even of mathematics and science. The resulting generalist tradition contrasted with the specialism of the two English universities, Oxford and Cambridge. It stood Scotland in good stead, characterising its intellectual life even into the nineteenth century when economic, social and political pressures enforced an increasing conformity to English models.

The Democratic Intellectis rightly a benchmark in Scotland's intellectual heritage and continues to have a marked influence on those now promoting enquiry and improvement within our colleges and universities.

An introduction by Murdo Macdonald and Richard Gunn and a foreword by Lindsay Paterson set the book in context for this Classic Edition, reissued to coincide with the Scotland Independence debate of 2014.

Key Features:

  • New Edinburgh Classic edition at accessible price
  • New preface and foreword setting the book in context
  • Launches a series of Edinburgh Classics in Scottish History
  • Will contribute to the Independence debate of 2014

Key words:

Scotland, education, history, philosophy, classic, Enlightenment, George Davie


Scottish History

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About the author (1999)

George Elder Davie is a retired lecturer in logic and metaphysics at the University of Edinburgh.

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