Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. This book is published by Liberty Fund, Inc., a foundation established to encourage study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.The cuneiform inscription that serves as our logo and as the design motif for our endpapers is the earliest-known written appearance of the word “freedom” ( in the Sumerian city-state of Lagash.While his has received comparatively little attention.3 Yet it deserves to be read alongside Kames’s better-known works as an important contribution to the Enlightenment’s science of human nature.
Born at Eccles in the eastern borders borough of Berwick shire in 1696, Henry Home was the son of minor landed gentry with dual political(Whig and Jacobite) and religious (Presbyterian and Episcopalian) loyalties on both the maternal and paternal sides of the family.
Because of the family’s relative poverty, he was educated at home, where he studied Latin, Greek, mathematics, and physics under the tutelage of two nonjuring (and possibly Jacobite) Episcopalian clergymen.4 In 1712 Kames apprenticed himself to a “writer” (the Scottish term for solicitor) in Edinburgh, but within a few years changed course to prepare for a career as a barrister.
This volume contains chapters on moral and political philosophy.
The chapters address a wide variety of topics, from the well-rounded life and the value of playing games to proportionality in war and the ethics of nationalism.
More specifically, the chapters all give what the first chapter in the volume calls “structural” as against “foundational” analyses of moral views.
Eschewing the grander ambition of grounding our ideas about, for example, virtue or desert in claims that use different concepts and concern some other, allegedly more fundamental topic, the chapters examine these ideas in their own right and with close attention to their details.More broadly, in its concern to vindicate the veracity of our common moral intuitions and sense perceptions that are rooted in our very nature, the is Kames’s most important philosophical work and sheds valuable light on his life long preoccupations.At the same time, the book raises issues of continuing importance—the foundations of morality, free will versus determinism, the nature of self and identity.In 1741 he inherited the Kames estate and married Agatha Drummond, who would inherit her family’s estate at Blair Drummond in Stirlingshire in 1766.He became “Lord Kames” when he was appointed to the Court of Sessions (Scotland’s highest civil court) in 1752; in 1763 he joined the High Court of the Justiciary (Scotland’s highest criminal court), a position he held until days before his death in December 1782.Kames’s judicial career and writings on Scottish law have earned him a place in the annals of eighteenth-century legal history;5 the rest of his work has secured his position as the quintessential Enlightenment figure in Scotland, a practical man of affairs with significant achievements as a man of letters.In addition to a busy legal career, Kames sat on the boards of two governmental agencies, belonged to a number of the important clubs and societies, and served as patron to the generation of literati who are the high point of the Enlightenment in Scotland.Introduction, annotations © 2005 Liberty Fund, Inc. (Natural law and enlightenment classics) Includes bibliographical references and index.All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America Frontispiece (by Martin): copyright © National Galleries of Scotland and reprinted with permission 09 08 07 06 05 5 4 3 2 1 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Kames, Henry Home, Lord, 1696–1782. is at once a typical example of and an original contribution to the Scottish Enlightenment’s distinctive attempt to construct a moral science based on the principles of natural law.229), which subject involved a vindication of those principles that were at once the laws of our own nature and the laws of a universal system to which human nature belonged.To this end, the is an attack on skepticism in both morality and epistemology.