Scottish Common Sense Philosophy and the Natural Law Tradition in America
64 Mercer St.
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From 1750 to 1850, ethics and education in North America was powerfully influenced by the Scottish philosophical tradition. A major channel of this influence was John Witherspoon, President of the College of New Jersey and signatory of the Declaration of Independence, whose Lectures on Moral Philosophy to the students at Princeton provided a model for the colleges across the emerging United States to emulate. Drawing on Francis Hutcheson and the Protestant natural law tradition, Witherspoon and his successor Samuel Stanhope Smith established Scottish philosophy, and especially Thomas Reid’s philosophy of Common Sense, as a major influence on the development of American intellectual life.
Princeton Theological Seminary celebrates the 200th anniversary of its foundation in 2012. By the inclusion of this conference in the bicentenary program the Seminary aims to sponsor an intellectual event that will investigate, and at the same time celebrate a key element of the academic and religious context in which Princeton Seminary was founded. Its further purpose is to explore the continuing relevance and future role of a philosophical tradition grounded in Protestant natural law.
There will be keynote lectures by leading scholars in the field, as well as space for submitted paper proposals. A further feature of the program (on Saturday 8th Sept) will be a combination of lectures and panel discussion open to members of the public, on the contemporary relevance of the conference theme.
Friday, September 7 2012, 9:00am
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