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Gerard, Alexander (1728–95)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DB032-2
Version: v2,  Published online: 2021
Retrieved July 16, 2024, from

Article Summary

Article Summary

Alexander Gerard was successively professor of moral philosophy (1752) and professor of divinity (1759) at Marischal College in Aberdeen and then professor of divinity (1773) at King’s College, Aberdeen. He was a leading member of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society. His works include a new plan of education for Marischal College and works on Divinity, but it is primarily for his Essay on Taste (1759, 1780) that he is known. Gerard followed Francis Hutcheson (1725) and David Hume (1739, 1777) in explaining the faculty of taste in terms of senses. His Essay on Taste expanded the number of senses beyond the sense of beauty. He also followed Thomas Reid (1710–96) to justify sense by appealing to ‘common sense’ in order to reduce the subjectivity of sense in the theories of Hutcheson and Hume. In his later Essay on Genius (1774), Gerard moves closer to his friend and colleague, Thomas Reid. An increased emphasis on association and imagination replace sense theories in this later work. The works of David Hume (1711–76) and Reid were principle influences.

Citing this article:
Townsend, Dabney. Gerard, Alexander (1728–95), 2021, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DB032-2. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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