The popular and successful rhetorical textbooks produced by the 18th century Scottish philosophical tradition, such as George Campbell's The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1776), Hugh Blair's Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (1783), and Alexander Bain's English Composition and Rhetoric (1877) have been widely accorded a role in the trajectories of 19th and 20th century literary theory. Scholars have generally overlooked them, however, as philosophical works. The selected writings chosen for this volume show how these rhetorical textbooks were a practical extension of the philosophy of language developed by 18th century Scottish philosophers.
Francis Hutcheson, Adam Smith, Thomas Reid, Adam Ferguson, Alexander Gerard, and Henry Home, Lord Kames, advanced a radically new paradigm of language as an inherently mediated practice, directed simultaneously to personal and social, moral and aesthetic uses. This Scottish philosophy of rhetoric powerfully influenced the teaching of language and literacy as tools for social and educational innovation.
This volume - the first of its kind - offers a wide variety of writings on rhetoric and rhetorical theory, selected in a way that reveals their intimate connection with the Scottish philosophical tradition.