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James McCosh and the Scottish Intellectual Tradition

James McCosh and the Scottish Intellectual Tradition: From Glasgow to Princeton

J. David Hoeveler
Copyright Date: 1981
Pages: 390
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  • Book Info
    James McCosh and the Scottish Intellectual Tradition
    Book Description:

    James McCosh played a leading role in the effort to reconcile two powerful intellectual and social forces of the nineteenth century: evolution and evangelicalism. In the first modern biography of this philosopher, religious leader, and educator, J. David Hoeveler demonstrates McCosh's significance for Scottish and American philosophy and for American education.

    Originally published in 1981.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5542-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  5. Part I Scotland

    • Chapter One The Heirs of Knox
      (pp. 3-32)

      In the fifth decade of his life James McCosh embarked on “a labor of love.” It was a work of history and philosophy, and McCosh gave to it the care and concern demanded by an age straying dangerously from “first and fundamental truths.” He required more than twenty years of work, crowded into a busy academic career, to complete the project, but McCosh’sThe Scottish Philosophy, from Hutcheson to Hamiltonis even today one of the richest and most reliable guides to that incredibly fruitful period of Scottish intellectual life. McCosh wrote and searched widely to obtain details of genealogy,...

    • Chapter Two A Scottish Education
      (pp. 33-65)

      The southwestern part of Scotland is a land of rolling hills and meadows, small valleys intermixed with rugged moorland terrain. Here for centuries farmers had struggled to wrest a living from stubborn but not unfruitful soil, and here shepherds tended their numerous woolly flocks. Here too the enduring characteristics of the lowland Scot are writ large. Over many years the people of this region had won for themselves a reputation for dogged determination, for dour resolution, and for an obstinateness equal to the land they tilled. Such is the naturalistic root of their character. It shows in this description of...

    • Chapter Three The Gospel Ministry
      (pp. 66-108)

      In the period between his graduation from Edinburgh and his first academic appointment at Queen’s College in Ireland, McCosh became embroiled in Scotland’s greatest religious controversy of the nineteenth century. This controversy produced schism in the Church of Scotland and the establishment of a new ecclesiastical order. Unquestionably the evangelical movement that spawned these events reinvigorated the religious life of the country and brought the gospel message to areas where it had long been in decline. New church leaders, Thomas Chalmers, Thomas Guthrie, and others, carried Scotland from its age of Moderatism to a new era of revivalism, from an...

  6. Part II Ireland

    • Chapter Four Intuitional Realism
      (pp. 111-146)

      James McCosh trod a well-worn path in his removal from Scodand to northern Ireland. Since the days of the Tudor monarchs, the efforts of the English crown to establish a Protestant stronghold in Catholic Ireland had promoted the settlement of Scottish Lowlanders across the North Channel. Cut off from the rest of Ireland by a natural barrier of mountains and lakes, Ulster became an area of Presbyterian strength. Only recently, however, had the Presbyterian party felt its real muscle. Long excluded from full economic, political, and educational opportunities, the dissenting Presbyterians had endured an often bitter enmity with the privileged...

    • Chapter Five Protestant Scholasticism
      (pp. 147-179)

      The truth of Sir William Hamilton’s dictum that no problem arises in theology that has not first appeared in philosophy was clearly evident to those who wrestled with the broad implications of his system. For McCosh, Hamilton’s philosophy of the unconditioned could only bear bad fruit, for it was planted in the meager soil of Kantianism and nourished by waters from the wells of the critical philosophy. When Henry Mansel of the Hamilton camp pushed the master’s philosophy to its full theological conclusions, he produced, in his Bampton lectures of 1858, a major and controversial document. But the work merely...

    • Chapter Six Nature and Nature’s God
      (pp. 180-212)

      The dividing religious factions in Scotland went their separate ways in 1843. But the next year there emerged a challenge to both that soon dwarfed in seriousness any of the troubles between the church groups. For in that year an anonymous amateur scientist published a work that startled his fellow Scotsmen and brought forth protestations of shock from all over Great Britain. TheVestiges of the Natural History of Creation, by Robert Chambers (1802–1871), was only a ripple compared to Chales Darwin’s classic of fifteen years later, but it was a major signpost along the road to theOrigin...

  7. Part III America

    • Chapter Seven Academic Reformer
      (pp. 215-271)

      The invitation that reached James McCosh from across the Atlantic has, in retrospect, much historical logic. But the affairs that immediately surrounded the appointment to Princeton demonstrate that fortuitous circumstances often dominate the events that transform individual lives and institutions. The Princeton years, although marked by bitter animosities and unrelenting warfare against forces that threatened to undo him, produced significant triumphs for McCosh. He who had sought to merge in his own career two cultural forces that had shaped his own life and outlook, now inherited a singular opportunity to give them institutional expression. It may seem ironic, but the...

    • Chapter 8 Academic Politician
      (pp. 272-311)

      The making of the modern university was done neither by mirrors nor by the ideas of its visionary leaders. The university is an institution and is integrally related to the society in which it lives, defines its goals, and seeks to realize them. To be sure, the university has, and must have, its autonomous purposes, and it functions best when it enjoys the greatest liberty in using its own assets and resources. Yet it must be said that the United States’ universities have had no easy time in defining their objectives and purposes. A certain “vagueness,” to recall Daniel Boorstin’s...

    • Chapter Nine The New Princeton
      (pp. 312-350)

      More than anywhere else in the Western world, the nature and purpose of higher learning were joined in nineteenth-century America to the social and intellectual aims of the Protestant churches. Learning seldom presented itself to the American public as an end in its own right. The American college, from its seventeenth-century beginnings at Harvard, acquired a pronounced moral atmosphere that was meant to reflect and perpetuate the moral meaning of life and the intellectual foundations on which it thrived. To this extent moral and mental philosophy, the traditional courses taught by the college president to the senior class, represented a...

  8. McCosh Bibliography
    (pp. 351-360)
  9. Index
    (pp. 361-374)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 375-375)