Adam Ferguson as painted by Joshua Reynolds in 1782
20 June 1723|
Logierait, Perthshire, Scotland
|Died||22 February 1816
St Andrews, Fife, Scotland
|Alma mater||University of Edinburgh
University of St Andrews
|School||Scottish Common Sense Realism
|Institutions||University of Edinburgh|
|Sociology, political philosophy, ethics, history|
Like the winds that we come we know not whence and blow whither soever they list, the forces of society are derived from an obscure and distant origin. They arise before the date of philosophy, from the instincts, not the speculations of men.
Every step and every movement of the multitude, even in what are termed enlightened ages, are made with equal blindness to the future; and nations stumble upon establishments, which are indeed the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design.
The artist finds, that the more he can confine his attention to a particular part of any work, his productions are the more perfect, and grow under his hands in the greater quantities.
In every commercial state, notwithstanding any pretension to equal rights, the exaltation of a few must depress the many.
The history of mankind is confined within a limited period, and from every quarter brings an intimation that human affairs have had a beginning.