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Postcards from Scotland

VP: The Scottish Enlightenment theme

One of the themes of the Vanguard Programme was the Scottish Enlightenment. The opening lecture was given by Professor Tom Devine, Scotland?s leading historian, and the closing lecture at the Radisson Hotel was given by Professor Alexander Broadie who is the leading Enlightenment Scholar in Scotland. One of the telephone lectures was given by Dr Arthur Herman, a US based academic who has written an internationally acclaimed book on the Scottish Enlightenment. On the final day at the Scottish Parliament building, the National Library of Scotland mounted a special display of Enlightenment texts for participants.

The reasoning behind the Scottish Enlightenment theme is quite simple: Positive Psychology is a new development in social science – a branch of academic life created in Scotland during the Enlightenment so it seems appropriate for Scotland to re-engage with its intellectual past. What’s more, Professor Seligman believes that the first Positive Psychologist was Professor Francis Hutcheson, the father of the Scottish Enlightenment.

Scotland once led the world in applying intellectual ideas to social improvement and there is no reason why we could not do it again. Positive Psychology may provide the vehicle to do this.

 
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