The Scottish Enlightenment. Links Between Philosophy and Medicine in the Activities of Philosophical Societies

Marta Śliwa



What is analysed in this paper is the connection between philosophical thinking and medicine based on activity of institutional bodies such as societies, clubs or voluntary institutions. Special emphasis will be placed on cooperation between philosophers and physicians of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow societies. Some activities of the Glasgow Philosophical Society, the Aberdeen Philosophical Society – the Wise Club, and the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh will be presented, including the active participation of physicians in those societies with a description of related topics discussed at meetings and, as a result, some linked publications. A brief analysis performed here allows us to show how the philosophical knowledge and rational thinking became the background for medicine diagnoses and, at the same time, how developing medical science influenced philosophical thinking of those days, and created a new philosophical paradigm. The interaction between the men of science in Scotland, the scientists who very often knew each other, led to that incredible development in 18th-century Scotland.


Scottish Enlightenment; philosophical societies

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