Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ferguson, Adam (1723–1816)
Adam Ferguson was a Scottish historian and moral philosopher who wrote during the period of concentrated intellectual activity known as the Scottish Enlightenment. He exerted considerable intellectual influence in Britain, Europe, and America and is sometimes posited as the parent of modern sociology. Yet his reputation has long been overshadowed by those of his more famous friends and contemporaries, David Hume and Adam Smith. Further, despite his disagreements with both of them, it is common to encounter readings in which his ideas and orientations are automatically conflated with theirs, as well as with those of other thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment. Ferguson was deeply interested in social change. In his time, the Scottish lowlands were the economic wonder region of Europe, so he was well placed to study the effects of the intense social, economic, moral, and political changes brought on by development. In the first sustained critique of market ...