978-1-85506-336-5 / 9781855063365

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About the book:

Thomas Reid (1710-96) was one of the most daring and original thinkers of the eighteenth century. His work became the cornerstone of the Scottish School of Common Sense Philosophy, and was highly influential in nineteenth-century America; it also anticipated the thinking of such twentieth-century figures as Moore and Wittgenstein. Now, his writings are the subject of increasing attention by present-day epistemologists. In Reids own day, all philosophers - from Descartes, Locke and Berkeley through to Hume - unquestioningly assumed that the mind is only ever in immediate contact with its own ideas, and that all knowledge must somehow be built on this subjective base. Given this assumption, Hume had easily been able to show that all our everyday beliefs -- about the existence of tables and chairs, other minds, and even the persisting self -- are wide open to sceptical doubt and cannot be rationally justified. Reid stood this entire philosophical tradition on its head. Our faculties, he argued, give us direct acquaintance not with representative ideas (which are simply "fictions of the philosophers") but with external objects themselves; and common sense beliefs dont stand in any need of proof by philosophical argument -- rather we have to accept them as the starting points without which philosophy cannot get going in the first place.

These two volumes contain all of Reids principal texts. In An Inquiry into the Human Mind (1764) Reid sets out his direct realist account of sense perception, attacking the Way of Ideas as he goes. The Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man (1785) present his definitive analyses of perception, memory, conception, abstraction, judgment, reasoning and taste, as well as his defence of the Principles of Common Sense. The Essays on the Active Powers of the Human Mind expound the Reidian theory of moral agency. The edition also includes some of Reids correspondence, a biography by his disciple Dugald Stewart, and twenty-seven supplementary dissertations by Sir William Hamilton. Hamiltons edition of Reids Works has long been the standard edition, and all the secondary literature on Reid refers to it. At a time when Reids writings are finding their way on to more and more undergraduate reading lists, this reprinting of the Thoemmes Press facsimile (first published in 1994) will be widely welcomed.

--all the principal writings of the founder of The Scottish School of Common Sense
--the standard edition by Sir William Hamilton, referred to in all the secondary literature
--vital for historians of the Scottish Enlightenment and British Empiricism
--of increasing interest to specialists and students in contemporary epistemology

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