World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Dugald Stewart

Article Id: WHEBN0000174717
Reproduction Date:

Title: Dugald Stewart  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Scottish Enlightenment, Scottish Common Sense Realism, James Mill, Age of Enlightenment, List of philosophy anniversaries
Collection: 1753 Births, 1828 Deaths, 18Th-Century British Mathematicians, 18Th-Century Philosophers, 18Th-Century Scottish People, 19Th-Century British Mathematicians, Academics of the University of Edinburgh, Alumni of the University of Edinburgh, Burials at the Kirk of the Canongate, Enlightenment Philosophers, Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellows of the Royal Society, Founder Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Historians of Scotland, Members of the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh, Moral Philosophers, People Educated at the Royal High School, Edinburgh, People from Edinburgh, Political Philosophers, Scottish Historians, Scottish Mathematicians, Scottish Philosophers
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Dugald Stewart

Dugald Stewart.

Dugald Stewart FRSE FRS (; 22 November 1753 – 11 June 1828) was a Scottish philosopher and mathematician. He is best known for popularizing the Scottish Enlightenment, for his lectures at the University of Edinburgh were widely disseminated by his many influential students.


  • Early life 1
  • Professor at Edinburgh 2
  • Later life 3
  • Works 4
  • Influence 5
  • Family 6
  • References 7
  • Sources 8
  • Further reading 9
    • Primary sources 9.1
  • External links 10

Early life

He was the son of Matthew Stewart (1715–1785), professor of mathematics at the University of Edinburgh (1747–1772), and was born in Edinburgh. He was educated at the Royal High School and the University of Edinburgh, where he read mathematics and moral philosophy under Adam Ferguson. In 1771, in the hope of gaining a Snell Exhibition and proceeding to Oxford to study for the English Church, he went to the University of Glasgow to attend the classes of Thomas Reid. To Reid he later owed his theory of morality. In Glasgow, Stewart boarded in the same house as Archibald Alison, author of the Essay on Taste, and a lasting friendship sprang up between them.[1]

After a single session in Glasgow, at the age of nineteen, Dugald was asked by his father, whose health was beginning to fail, to give his mathematical classes in the University of Edinburgh. After three years there Dugald was elected professor of mathematics in conjunction with his father in 1775. Three years later Ferguson was appointed secretary to the commissioners sent out to the American colonies, and at his request Stewart lectured as his substitute during the session 1778–1779, delivering an original course of lectures on morals. In his early years he was influenced by Lord Monboddo, with whom he corresponded.[1]

Professor at Edinburgh

In 1785 Stewart succeeded Ferguson in the chair of moral philosophy, which he filled for twenty-five years, making it a centre of intellectual and moral influence. Young men were attracted by his reputation from England, Europe and America. Stewart's course on moral philosophy embraced, besides ethics proper, lectures on political philosophy or the theory of government.[1]

Stewart spent the summers of 1788 and 1789 in France, where he met Suard, Degérando, and Raynal, and came to sympathise with the revolutionary movement. His political teaching, after the French Revolution, drew suspicion on him.[1]

From 1800 to 1801, Stewart gave lectures to undergraduate students on the subject of political economy, the first person to do so.[2]

Later life

In 1806 Stewart received in lieu of a pension the nominal office of the writership of the Edinburgh Gazette, with a salary of £300. When he ceased lecturing during the session of 1809–1810, his place was taken, at his own request, by Thomas Brown, who in 1810 was appointed conjoint professor. On the death of Brown in 1820 Stewart retired altogether from the professorship. His successor was John Wilson, known as "Christopher North".[1]

From 1809 onwards Stewart lived mainly at Kinneil House, Bo'ness, which was placed at his disposal by the Duke of Hamilton.[1] In June 1814 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.[3] He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1817.[4]

In 1822 he was struck with paralysis, but recovered a fair degree of health, sufficient to enable him to resume his studies. He died in Edinburgh, where he was buried in Canongate Churchyard. Additionally, and of greater public note, a monument to his memory was erected on Calton Hill.[1] His memory is also honoured by the newly constructed Dugald Stewart Building at the University of Edinburgh, on Charles Street.


Stewart as a student in Glasgow wrote an essay on Dreaming. In 1792 he published the first volume of the Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind; the second volume appeared in 1814, the third not till 1827. In 1793 he printed a textbook, Outlines of Moral Philosophy, which went through many editions; and in the same year he read before the Royal Society of Edinburgh his Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith. Similar memoirs of Robertson the historian and of Reid were afterwards read before the same body and appear in his published works.[1]

In 1805 Stewart published pamphlets defending John Leslie against the charges of unorthodoxy made by the presbytery of Edinburgh. In 1810 appeared the Philosophical Essays, in 1814 the second volume of the Elements, in 1811 the first part and in 1821 the second part of the "Dissertation" written for the Encyclopædia Britannica Supplement, entitled "A General View of the Progress of Metaphysical, Ethical, and Political Philosophy since the Revival of Letters." In 1827 he published the third volume of the Elements, and in 1828, a few weeks before his death, The Philosophy of the Active and Moral Powers.[1]

Stewart's works were edited in 11 vols. (1854–1858) by Sir William Hamilton and completed with a memoir by John Veitch.[1]


Among Stewart's pupils were Lord Palmerston, Sir Walter Scott, Francis Jeffrey, Henry Thomas Cockburn, Francis Horner, Sydney Smith, John William Ward, Lord Brougham, Dr. Thomas Brown, James Mill, Sir James Mackintosh and Sir Archibald Alison.

His reputation rested as much on his eloquence, populism, and style as on original work.[5] He was principally responsible for making the "Scottish philosophy" predominant in early 19th-century Europe.[5] In the second half of the century, Stewart's reputation fell to that of a follower of the work of Thomas Reid.[1]

Stewart upheld Reid's psychological method and expounded the Cabanis and Destutt de Tracy. He opposed the argument of ontology, and Condillac's sensationalism. Immanuel Kant he said he could not understand.[6]


In 1783 Stewart married Helen Bannatyne, who died in 1787, leaving an only son, Colonel Matthew Stewart. In 1790 he married

  • .  
  • Dugald Stewart at The Online Library of Liberty

External links

  • Stewart, Dugald, and John Veitch. The collected works of Dugald Stewart (1877) online Google.

Primary sources

  • Corsi, Pietro. "The heritage of Dugald Stewart: Oxford philosophy and the method of political economy." Nuncius (1987) 2#2 pp: 89-144. online
  • Haakonssen, Knud. "From moral philosophy to political economy: the contribution of Dugald Stewart." in Philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment (1984) pp: 211-32.
  • Rashid, Salim. "Dugald Stewart, 'Baconian' Methodology, and Political Economy." Journal of the History of Ideas (1985): 245-257. in JSTOR
  • Wood, Paul. "Dugald Stewart and the Invention of “the Scottish Enlightenment”." The Scottish Enlightenment: Essays in Reinterpretation (2000) pp: 1-35.

Further reading



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l  
  2. ^ The early years at University of Edinburgh School of Economics's official website. Accessed 24 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter S" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ Jonathan Friday (2005): Dugald Stewart on Reid, Kant and the Refutation of Idealism, British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 13:2, 263–286



This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.