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Beattie, James (1735–1803)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DB003-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 01, 2023, from

Article Summary

James Beattie was famed as a moralist and poet in the late eighteenth century, and helped to popularize Scottish common-sense philosophy. At Marischal College, Aberdeen, Beattie cultivated a lecturing style which differed significantly from that of his Aberdonian predecessors. Because he believed that the form of abstract analysis characteristic of the science of the mind in his day often led students into the morass of Humean scepticism, Beattie endeavoured to inculcate sound moral and religious principles through the study of ancient and modern literature. Consequently his version of common-sense philosophy diverged from that developed by Thomas Reid. Beattie was more of a practical moralist than an anatomist of the mind, and his treatment of common-sense epistemology lacked the philosophical range and rigour of Reid’s.

Citing this article:
Wood, Paul. Beattie, James (1735–1803), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DB003-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2023 Routledge.

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