Visiting Research Fellowship, July - August 2021
Tamás Demeter has been educated in Bristol (MA) and Cambridge (PhD). He is currently Professor of Philosophy at the Corvinus University of Budapest, and MTA Lendület Research Group Leader at the Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest. He has published widely on Hume and the Scottish Enlightenment in relation to various forms of Newtonianism. He is author of several papers in journals and collections as well as of David Hume and the Culture of Scottish Newtonianism (Leiden: Brill, 2016). He is currently co-editing with Eric Schliesser The Sociological Heritage of the Scottish Enlightenment for Edinburgh University Press.
Project Title: Methodologies of Inquiry in Enlightenment Scotland
Professor Demeter is working on a book that aims to offer a synoptic view on various branches of inquiry from natural and moral philosophy to medicine and theology, and argue that in the Scottish Enlightenment these branches tended to exploit similar methodological resources. This methodological focus offers a unified framework for different epistemic projects within which the significance and interconnections of various theoretical issues can be explored. This focus also opens up the possibility of embedding abstract philosophical questions into the context of scientific and cultural practices, and given the vast literature which exposes the political and religious commitments and purposes underlying various philosophical debates, into historical and social contexts as well. Relying on the same methods, various branches of inquiry were intertwined so that different layers of discourse could exert mutual influence on one another: discourses of the natural world were filled with hidden moral meaning and religious content, and vice versa. Therefore, the discourses of the natural, psychological, social and transcendent aspects of nature and human nature exhibited a remarkable unity in the period – just before they started to develop into specialized fields of knowledge toward the end of the century.