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Dugald Stewart

Stewart, Dugald (1753–1828). Philosopher, son of Matthew S., Prof. of Mathematics at Edinburgh, was born in the College buildings, and at the age of 19 began to assist his father in his classes, receiving the appointment of regular assistant two years later. In 1785 he became Prof. of Moral Philosophy, and rendered the chair illustrious by his learning and eloquence, his pupils including Lords Palmerston, Russell, and Lansdowne. S. was, however, rather a brilliant expositor than an original thinker, and in the main followed Reid (q.v.). His works include Philosophy of the Human Mind, in three vols., published respectively in 1792, 1813, and 1827, Outlines of Moral Philosophy (1793), Philosophical Essays (1810), Dissertation on the Progress of Metaphysical and Ethical Philosophy (1815, part II. 1821), and View of the Active and Moral Powers of Man. He also wrote memoirs of Robertson the historian, Adam Smith, and Reid. The Whig party, which he had always supported, on their accession to power, created for him the office of Gazette-writer for Scotland, in recognition of his services to philosophy. His later years were passed in retirement at Kinneil House on the Forth. His works were ed. by Sir William Hamilton.

Dugald StewartDugald Stewart: The Pride and Ornament of Scotland This book tells the personal story of Dugald Stewart (1753-1828), whose circular memorial monument on Calton Hill is one of Edinburgh's best known landmarks. Originally a mathematician like his father, Stewart held the Chair of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University for 25 years and became the most distinguished philosopher in Britain. He was a gifted teacher whose character and eloquence influenced students who were to become famous in many walks of life. Two of them became Prime Minister. A lifelong Whig, Stewart was in France at the outbreak of the French Revolution, and there knew Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. He wrote biographical memoirs of Adam Smith and two other contemporaries. He gave Britain's first course on economics, attended by all four founder members of the 'Edinburgh Review', and his political, as well as his philosophical influence extended well into the 19th century. His wife was a generous hostess whose lively and amusing letters are quoted extensively in the book, and she and Stewart are shown to have been significant figures in the cultural life of the time.

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