In Education and the Industrial Revolution, West writes about an Educational Revolution during the Industrial Revolution. This book adds important historical context to E. G. West’s better-known Education and the State. Taken together, the two books make a very strong case not only for the separation of state and education, but also the robustness of the market in providing educational services, even in such a difficult period as the Industrial Revolution. West unearthed a large and growing market for education going hand in hand with the rise of industrialism and occurring prior to government intervention. His views were not very palatable to the educational establishment because they contradicted the long-held view that the Industrial Revolution was a disaster and that only government intervention and “compulsion” brought the joys of education to people.
Education and the State first appeared in 1965 and was immediately hailed as one of the century’s most important works on education. In the thirty years that followed, the questions this book raised concerning state-run education have grown immeasurably in urgency and intensity. Education and the State re-examines the role of government in education and challenges the fundamental statist assumption that the state is best able to provide an education for the general population.
George Turnbull belongs with a group of early Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, including Francis Hutcheson, who found their native Calvinism too repressive. They sought to relocate religion within a context of reason and science and to establish a tolerant and humane ethic upon values rooted in classical ideals.
A position paper by Benjamin A. Rogge and Pierre F. Goodrich leads off this fine collection advocating an educational system based strictly on private and voluntary institutions.
In this volume, Caroline Robbins adeptly presents a history of the Commonwealthmen, “a gifted and active minority of the population of the British Isles, who kept alive, during an age of extraordinary complacency and legislative inactivity, a demand for increased liberty of conscience.”
An Elegant and Learned Discourse of the Light of Nature is a concerted effort at intellectual mediation in the deep religious dispute of the English civil war in the seventeenth century. On one side was the antinomian assertion of extreme Calvinists that the elect were redeemed by God’s free grace and thereby free from ordinary moral obligations. Opposite to that was the Arminian rejection of predestination and assertion that Christ died for all, not just for the elect.
Elements of Criticism is Kames’s most influential work. When it first appeared, in 1762, it was the most comprehensive philosophical work on “criticism” in English, and it was published in five editions during Kames’s lifetime and another forty editions over the next century. In America, Elements of Criticism served as a standard text for college students of English.
Though little known today, David Fordyce was an important figure in the Scottish Enlightenment and closely associated with liberal Dissenters in England. His Elements of Moral Philosophy was a notable contribution to the curriculum in moral philosophy and one of the most widely circulated texts in moral philosophy in the second half of the eighteenth century.
Two series of letters described as “the wellsprings of nearly all ensuing debate on the limits of governmental power in the United States” address the whole remarkable range of issues provoked by the crisis of British policies in North America out of which a new nation emerged from an overreaching empire.
Often described as the culmination of the French Enlightenment, the Encyclopédie was collected not only to serve as a comprehensive reference work, but to “change the way men think” about every aspect of the human and natural worlds. In his celebrated “Preliminary Discourse” to the compilation, d’Alembert traced an entire history of modern philosophy and science designed to chart the way toward a sweeping Baconian project of improving the world through usable knowledge.