Scottish Enlightenment

Francis Hutcheson, philosopher (1694 - 1746)


A photo of the blue plaque marking the birthplace of Francis Hutcheson

Francis Hutcheson is often called one of the founding fathers of the Scottish Enlightenment.

Born in Ireland, he studied in Scotland and became Professor of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow University, where he lectured in English instead of Latin.

He was determined to change the face of theology in Scotland, noting, 'I hope I am contributing to promote the more moderate and charitable sentiments in religious matters in this country.’

Hutcheson thought that the Presbyterian Church should inspire people and treat them with compassion. He wrote, ‘the nature of virtue is thus as immutable as the divine Wisdom and Goodness.’

Among Hutcheson’s students were Adam Smith and Alexander Carlyle. Alexander ‘Jupiter’ Carlyle became a leading moderate within the Presbyterian Kirk and rose to become Moderator of the General Assembly and Dean of the Chapel Royal.

Picture credit: Francis Hutcheson plaque. Taken by Peter Clarke and published in Wikiimedia Commons.