CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3061
TitleThomas Reid, Professor of Moral Philosophy: papers
Date1738 - 1788
Extent30 items
Creator NameReid; Thomas (1710-1796); King's College and Glasgow University
Administrative HistoryThomas Reid was born in Kincardineshire on 26 April 1710, a son of the manse and a descendant on his mother’s side of the famous scholarly Gregory family of Aberdeenshire. He graduated from Marischal College, Aberdeen, in 1726 without having shown much promise, but obtained his licence to preach in 1731, before being appointed librarian at his old college in 1733. He resigned in 1736 and the following year was presented to New Machar parish, Aberdeenshire, where he struggled successfully to win over the congregation. He had by that time an interest in philosophy, and in 1751 became professor of philosophy at King’s College, Aberdeen. He was a keen reformer of the system of studies, increasing the scope of the philosophy course and the length of the session. Student discipline was more strongly enforced. While he was there, he and his cousin John Gregory, professor of medicine, and others, founded the Aberdeen Philosophical Society. The Society’s debates and the papers read before it were of considerable merit: Reid, a ‘common sense’ philosopher, was recognised as a respected opponent of David Hume (1711-1776) and was awarded a DD by his old college in 1762. He was then appointed in 1764 to the chair of Moral Philosophy in Glasgow, where he taught such eminent pupils as Dugald Stewart (1753-1828). Despite being called upon as arbiter amidst his colleagues’ acrimonious disputes, he remained in post with a greatly increased number of students until 1780, when he retired. He remained extremely active in his scholarly pursuits until his death on 7 October 1796.
SourceDeposited in 1980 by Mrs Grace Humphries, widow of Walter R Humphries, late of the History Department.
DescriptionCollection of essays and notes by Reid on variety of subjects, from 'Observations on the modern system of materialism', through 'Some thoughts on the Utopian system', to 'What are the consequences of the diminution of our coin by wearing'. Includes number of critical accounts on Joseph Priestley, (1733-1804), theologian and natural philosopher, Bishop Berkeley, Joseph Butler (1692-1752), moral philosopher and theologian, and John Locke, (1632-1704), philosopher.
AccrualsNone expected.
ArrangementThe collection should be considered in conjunction with MS 2131, the Birkwood Collection, from which they had been detached early in the 20th century. It is hoped that further work on the cataloguing of MS 2131 and MS 3061 may enable a more organic arrangement of the papers in MS 2131.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThe papers have been digitised and are available online.
Physical DescriptionNo physical conditions affecting use of collection.
Related MaterialMS 2131 Thomas Reid Papers / The Birkwood Collection
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