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The French Roots of the Scottish Enlightenment


Gavin Kennedy offers a nice review of Alexander Brodie's 2012 book, Agreeable Connexions: Scottish Enlightenment links with France. Hayek, of course, locates the roots of classical liberalism in the 18th-century Scottish philosophers such as Ferguson, Smith, and Hume, while Rothbard, influenced by Hayek's student Marjorie Grice-Hutchinson, among others, emphasized the contributions of the Scholastics, particularly the 16th-century School of Salamanca. Writes Gavin:

Brodie’s thesis is that what became known as the Scottish Enlightenment has its roots in a long history of connections between Scottish intellectuals from the medieval period onwards, primarily with their French opposite numbers, despite their different theological traditions, particularly after the Reformation (largely inspired from Luther’s Germany).

Lots of interesting details about the rich interactions among Scottish and French academics and universities and the development of a shared intellectual legacy.

Peter G. Klein is Carl Menger Research Fellow of the Mises Institute and W. W. Caruth Chair and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business.

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