Enquire, question, and debate
In the 18th century, Enlightenment ideas spread across Europe. At its heart was the desire to investigate and debate philosophical and scientific ideas publicly, free from the persecution of authoritarian institutions.
Scotland made a powerful contribution to the Enlightenment through the works of the country’s leading intellectuals. Scots produced original thinking in philosophy, economics and literature, and ground-breaking discoveries in geology, science and medicine. This intellectual achievement was part of a wider network of men who shared many social and professional ties, and who regularly exchanged and debated their ideas.
Through printed sources, manuscripts, and maps from the National Library of Scotland’s collections, find out more about this remarkable period of Scotland’s history here.