Essays on the active powers of the human mind

He was licensed to preach by the Church of Scotland inwhen he came of age. He resigned from this position inafter which he prepared his university lectures for publication in two books:

Essays on the active powers of the human mind

He was licensed to preach by the Church of Scotland inwhen he came of age.

Essays on the active powers of the human mind

He began his career as a minister of the Church of Scotland but ceased to be a minister when he was given a professorship at King's College, Aberdeenin He and his colleagues founded the 'Aberdeen Philosophical Society' which was popularly known as the 'Wise Club' a literary-philosophical association.

He resigned from this position inafter which he prepared his university lectures for publication in two books: Reid was buried at Blackfriars Church in the grounds of Glasgow College and when the university moved to Gilmorehill in the west of Glasgow, his tombstone was inserted in the main building.

See separate article on Thomas Reid's tombstone. Overview[ edit ] Reid believed that common sense in a special philosophical sense of sensus communis is, or at least should be, at the foundation of all philosophical inquiry.

By contrast, Reid claimed that the foundations upon which our sensus communis are built justify our belief that there is an external world. In his day and for some years into the 19th century, he was regarded as more important than Hume.

He had a great admiration for Hume and had a mutual friend send Hume an early manuscript of Reid's Inquiry. Hume responded that the "deeply philosophical" work "is wrote in a lively and entertaining matter," but that "there seems to be some defect in method," and criticized Reid for implying the presence of innate ideas.

He thought epistemology was an introductory part to practical ethics: When we are confirmed in our common beliefs by philosophy, all we have to do is to act according to them, because we know what is right. His moral philosophy is reminiscent of Roman stoicism in its emphasis on the agency of the subject and self-control.

He often quotes Cicerofrom whom he adopted the term " sensus communis ". Reid's answer to Hume's sceptical and naturalist arguments was to enumerate a set of principles of common sense sensus communis which constitute the foundations of rational thought.

Anyone who undertakes a philosophical argument, for example, must implicitly presuppose certain beliefs like, "I am talking to a real person," and "There is an external world whose laws do not change," among many other positive, substantive claims.

For Reid, the belief in the truth of these principles is not rational; rather, reason itself demands these principles as prerequisites, as does the innate "constitution" of the human mind. It is for this reason and possibly a mocking attitude toward Hume and Berkeley that Reid sees belief in the principles of common sense as a litmus test for sanity.

For example, in The Intellectual Powers of Man he states, "For, before men can reason together, they must agree in first principles; and it is impossible to reason with a man who has no principles in common with you. It is not to these qualities, but to that which is the subject of them, that we give the name body.

If any man should think fit to deny that these things are qualities, or that they require any subject, I leave him to enjoy his opinion as a man who denies first principles, and is not fit to be reasoned with. In a typical passage in the Intellectual Powers he asserts that when he has a conception of a centaur, the thing he conceives is an animal, and no idea is an animal; therefore, the thing he conceives is not an idea, but a centaur.

This point relies both on an account of the subjective experience of conceiving an object and also on an account of what we mean when we use words.

Because Reid saw his philosophy as publicly accessible knowledge, available both through introspection and the proper understanding of how language is used, he saw it as the philosophy of common sense. Exploring sense and language[ edit ] Reid started out with a 'common sense' based on a direct experience of an external reality but then proceeded to explore in two directions - external to the senses, and internal to human language - to find a more rational basis.

In the case of the latter, Reid saw this as based on an innate capacity pre-dating human consciousness, and acting as an instrument for that consciousness. Also, language then becomes a means of examining the original form of human cognition.

Reid notes that current human language contains two distinct elements:The MIT Press is a leading publisher of books and journals at the intersection of science, technology, and the arts.

MIT Press books and journals are known for their intellectual daring, scholarly standards, and distinctive design. In the first volume are included, An Account of Dr. Reid's Life and Writings, from the classic pen of Dugald Stewart; Essays on the Active Powers of the Humah Mind An Inquiry into the Human Mind, on the Principles of Common Sense.

The Essays on the Active Powers of the Human Mind is a treatise on ethics, on the human being's performance and motives and freedom. The major points of .

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Essays on the Active Powers of the Human Mind Thomas Reid ESSAY I—OF ACTIVE POWER IN GENERAL. CHAPTER IV.

Essays on the active powers of the human mind

OF MR HUME’S OPINION OF THE IDEA OF POWER. This very ingenious author adopts the principle of Mr Locke before men-tioned—that all our simple ideas are derived either from sensation or reflection. Be the first to ask a question about Essays on the Active Powers of the Human Mind an Inquiry Into the Human Mind on the Principle of Common Sense Lists with This Book This book is 4/5(11).

Editorial team. General Editors: David Bourget (Western Ontario) David Chalmers (ANU, NYU) Area Editors: David Bourget Gwen Bradford.

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