For Hume the bell tolls
Its people may not have saved civilization like their fellow Celts across the Irish Sea, but Scotland has given the world some big-name thinkers from John Duns Scotus (probably) through R.D. (not k.d.) Laing.
I've always had a soft spot for David Hume (right, in Edinburgh) because he was a leading light of the great age when philosophers could write. Indeed, he was something of a publicist, considering himself
"as a kind of resident or ambassador from the dominions of learning to those of conversation, and shall think it my constant duty to promote a good correspondence between these two states, which have so great a dependence on each other." (Emphasis mine.)In addition to his essays, Hume wrote a History of England that remains readable to this day (though I seem to recall his having thought history more appropriate to women and philosophy to men). Still, in his essays and in his history, he wrote for an intelligent lay public, and what philosophers do that today outside France?
Hume was not the only big name in 18th-century thought who hung out in Edinburgh. He was not even the only hot shot in his courtyard. If you can read the plaque at left, you'll see that another famous Scot and his even more famous English friend spent time there, too.
© Peter Rozovsky 2009