Enquire, question, and debate

During the 18th century, Scotland experienced such an intellectual, cultural, and scientific flowering that the French philosopher Voltaire remarked that 'we look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation.'

Explore the spirit of enquiry, debate, and improvement which characterised the Scottish Enlightenment in the five topics featured on this site.

Using printed sources, manuscripts, and maps from the National Library of Scotland's collections, you can find out more about this remarkable period of Scotland's history.


Listen to Professor Alexander Broadie introducing the five topics featured in this resource.

Professor Broadie is honorary professorial research fellow and Emeritus Professor of logic and rhetoric at Glasgow University. Find out more about Alexander Broadie.


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