'We have mingled politeness with the use of the sword': nature and civilisation in Adam Ferguson's philosophy of war

Smith, C. (2014) 'We have mingled politeness with the use of the sword': nature and civilisation in Adam Ferguson's philosophy of war. European Legacy, 19(1), pp. 1-15. (doi:10.1080/10848770.2013.859800)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10848770.2013.859800

Abstract

Adam Ferguson’s twin reputations as the most republican of the thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment and as one of the founding fathers of sociology make him one of the most interesting figures in eighteenth-century political thought. I argue that in his Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767) and elsewhere, Ferguson develops a novel understanding of the place of warfare in human social experience. By deploying a proto-sociological account of the naturalness of warfare between nations he proposes a normative criterion for the assessment of civilisation. This argument sets Ferguson apart from contemporaries like Kant who argued for perpetual peace as a criterion of civilisation.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Dr Craig
Authors: Smith, C.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Journal Name:European Legacy
ISSN:1084-8770
ISSN (Online):1470-1316
Published Online:12 November 2013

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