Thomas Reid

Thomas Reid, 1710–96, Scottish philosopher. He taught at King's College, Aberdeen, and at the Univ. of Glasgow. He is known as the founder of the common-sense school of philosophy, also known as the Scottish school, a group that had considerable influence in Great Britain and the United States during the 19th cent. Common sense is regarded as self-evident knowledge, the means by which we know the objects of the external world. These objects are known by us in their true sense and not as copies or ideas. This is the theory of natural realism, and it is the point of difference with the theories of John Locke. Reid based morality on conscience or moral sense, the ethical position of intuitionism. He had considerable influence on Dugald Stewart and Sir William Hamilton. His writings include An Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense (1764), Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man (1785), and Essays on the Active Powers of Man (1788).

See his Philosophical Works, ed. with notes and supplementary dissertations by Sir William Hamilton (2 vol, 8th ed. 1895, repr. 1967); A. J. Ayer and R. Winch, ed., British Empirical Philosophers (1968); N. Daniels, Thomas Reid's Inquiry (1989); K. Lehrer, Thomas Reid (1989).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Thomas Reid: Selected full-text books and articles

Essays on the Active Powers of Man
Thomas Reid; Knud Haakonssen; James A. Harris.
Edinburgh University Press, 2010
The Philosophical Orations of Thomas Reid: Delivered at Graduation Ceremonies in King's College, Aberdeen, 1753, 1756, 1759, 1762
Thomas Reid; D. D. Todd.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1989
Thomas Reid and Scepticism: His Reliabilist Response
Philip De Bary.
Routledge, 2002
Thomas Reid and the Story of Epistemology
Nicholas Wolterstorff.
Cambridge University Press, 2001
Manifest Activity: Thomas Reid's Theory of Action
Gideon Yaffe.
Clarendon, 2004
The Scotch Metaphysics: A Century of Enlightenment in Scotland
George Davie.
Routledge, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Reid (1)" and Chap. 3 "Reid (2)"
Persons and Causes: The Metaphysics of Free Will
Timothy O'Connor.
Oxford University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The Agent as Cause: Reid, Taylor, and Chisholm"
The Columbia History of Western Philosophy
Richard H. Popkin.
Columbia University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Thomas Reid" begins on p. 480
Thomas Reid on Natural Signs, Natural Principles, and the Existence of the External World
Jacquette, Dale.
The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 57, No. 2, December 2003
What Makes Language Possible? Ethological Foundationalism in Reid and Wittgenstein
Harre, Rom; Robinson, Daniel N.
The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 50, No. 3, March 1997
The Cambridge Companion to the Scottish Enlightenment
Alexander Broadie.
Cambridge University Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Thomas Reid in multiple chapters
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