Famous Philosophers from Scotland

List of notable or famous philosophers from Scotland, with bios and photos, including the top philosophers born in Scotland and even some popular philosophers who immigrated to Scotland. If you're trying to find out the names of famous Scottish philosophers then this list is the perfect resource for you. These philosophers are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known philosopher from Scotland is included when available.

These people, like Adam Ferguson and Alexander Henderson include images when available.

This historic philosophers from Scotland list can help answer the questions "Who are some Scottish philosophers of note?" and "Who are the most famous philosophers from Scotland?" These prominent philosophers of Scotland may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected Scottish philosophers.

Use this list of renowned Scottish philosophers to discover some new philosophers that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. {#nodes}
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  • Adam Ferguson
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    Adam Ferguson, FRSE (Scottish Gaelic: Adhamh MacFhearghais), also known as Ferguson of Raith (1 July N.S./20 June O.S. 1723 – 22 February 1816), was a Scottish philosopher and historian of the Scottish Enlightenment. Ferguson was sympathetic to traditional societies, such as the Highlands, for producing courage and loyalty. He criticized commercial society as making men weak, dishonourable and unconcerned for their community. Ferguson has been called "the father of modern sociology" for his contributions to the early development of the discipline. His best-known work is his Essay on the History of Civil Society.
    • Age: Dec. at 92 (1723-1816)
    • Birthplace: Logierait, United Kingdom
  • Adam Smith
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    Adam Smith (16 June [O.S. 5 June] 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher and author as well as a moral philosopher, a pioneer of political economy and a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment, also known as ''The Father of Economics'' or ''The Father of Capitalism''. Smith wrote two classic works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). The latter, often abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. In his work, Adam Smith introduced his theory of absolute advantage.Smith studied social philosophy at the University of Glasgow and ...more
    • Age: Dec. at 67 (1723-1790)
    • Birthplace: Eurasia, United Kingdom, Kirkcaldy, Fife, United Kingdom
  • Alexander Henderson
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    Alexander Henderson (c. 1583 – 19 August 1646) was a Scottish theologian, and an important ecclesiastical statesman of his period. He is considered the second founder of the Reformed Church in Scotland. He was one of the most eminent ministers of the Church of Scotland in the most important period of her history, namely, previous to the middle of the seventeenth century.Alexander Henderson was born in 1583, and studied at the University of St. Andrews. He was, through the influence of Archbishop Gladstanes, presented to the church living of Leuchars, Fifeshire, and was in 1615 inducted forcibly into the charge. He was then a supporter of episcopacy; he subsequently changed his views and ...more
    • Age: Dec. at 63 (1583-1646)
    • Birthplace: Fife, United Kingdom
  • Arthur Balfour
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    Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, (, traditionally Scottish ; 25 July 1848 – 19 March 1930) was a British statesman and Conservative Party politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1902 to 1905. As Foreign Secretary under David Lloyd George, he issued the Balfour Declaration in November 1917 on behalf of the cabinet. Entering Parliament in 1874, Balfour achieved prominence as Chief Secretary for Ireland, in which position he suppressed agrarian unrest whilst taking measures against absentee landlords. He opposed Irish Home Rule, saying there could be no half-way house between Ireland remaining within the United Kingdom or becoming independent. From 1891 he ...more
    • Age: Dec. at 81 (1848-1930)
    • Birthplace: Whittingehame, United Kingdom
  • David Brewster
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    Sir David Brewster KH PRSE FRS FSA(Scot) FSSA MICE (11 December 1781 – 10 February 1868) was a British scientist, inventor, author, and academic administrator. In science he is principally remembered for his experimental work in physical optics, mostly concerned with the study of the polarization of light and including the discovery of Brewster's angle. He studied the birefringence of crystals under compression and discovered photoelasticity, thereby creating the field of optical mineralogy. For this work, William Whewell dubbed him the "father of modern experimental optics" and "the Johannes Kepler of optics."A pioneer in photography, Brewster invented an improved stereoscope, which he ...more
    • Age: Dec. at 86 (1781-1868)
    • Birthplace: Jedburgh, United Kingdom
  • Dugald Stewart
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    Dugald Stewart (; 22 November 1753 – 11 June 1828) was a Scottish philosopher and mathematician. He is best known for popularizing the Scottish Enlightenment and his lectures at the University of Edinburgh were widely disseminated by his many influential students. In 1783 he was a joint founder of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In most contemporary documents he is referred to as Prof Dougal Stewart.
    • Age: Dec. at 74 (1753-1828)
    • Birthplace: Edinburgh, United Kingdom