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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: The 'Science of Man' in the Scottish Enlightenment (PGHC11203)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe investigation of human nature, or 'Science of Man' (which included the Science of Women) occupied a central place in the Scottish Enlightenment. At the beginning of his Treatise on Human Nature in 1739 David Hume, for example, declared that 'all the sciences have a relation, greater or less, to human nature' and '[t]here is no question of importance, whose decision is not compriz'd in the science of man'. Hume was not alone among his contemporaries in emphasizing the importance of understanding 'man', and the aim of this course is to examine the main currents of thought in the Scottish Enlightenment with Hume's extraordinary claim in mind. The Scots' interest in human nature extended across several intellectual 'disciplines' and the course will focus on several areas of learning, in which these debates played a significant role. These are moral philosophy, religion, medicine, and historiography. The course will consider the ways in which the natural passions or 'sentiments' of human nature became an integral to moral philosophy and the understanding of the motives of moral action. It will examine the implications of different views of human nature for disputes over religious belief. It will also focus on changing interpretations of human nature in medicine, the increasing interest in sensibility and the 'nervous system' and its importance for the interpretation of disease. Finally, it will consider the degree to which the Scottish Enlightenment historicized human nature and stressed the extent to which it was related to the context of the particular historical society in which it was located.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 1, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 16/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
The course aims:
- to develop an advanced understanding of one of the central concerns of the Scottish Enlightenment, the study of human nature;
- to explore the connections between this study of human nature and other areas of intellectual inquiry in the Scottish Enlightenment;
- to reflect on the character of boundaries between intellectual 'disciplines' in the Enlightenment,
- to explore the relationship of these debates to their particular social, institutional, and political contexts.

It is expected that students who successfully complete the course will:
- have acquired an advanced ability to interpret texts from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds in the Enlightenment.
- have developed an ability to present complex ideas in a reasoned and articulate manner, in written and in verbal forms;
- have improved their skills in the analysis and evaluation of historical evidence, especially textual evidence.

Assessment Information
One essay of 3000 words.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsScienceOfMan Science Man Scottish Enlightenment
Course organiserDr Thomas Ahnert
Tel: (0131 6)50 3777
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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