Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 September 2020
The chapters of Intending Scotland reflect – and reflect on – changes in Scotland since the establishment of the Scottish parliament, whose reshaping of Scotland's future requires a fresh understanding of its past. It deals with three groups of neglected Scottish thinkers. The first are the scientists – William Thomson, Peter Guthrie Tait, Macquorn Rankine and James Clerk Maxwell – who revolutionised physics by their discoveries in thermodynamics. The second is a group of biblical and classical scholars – John Ferguson McLennan, William Robertson Smith and Sir J. G. Frazer – whose work shaped the new science of anthropology from the 1860s till the 1920s. And the third – Andrew Seth, Robert Morrison MacIver, John Macmurray and Norman Kemp Smith – not only transformed the understanding of the history of Scottish philosophy but helped define the emergent discipline of sociology. I had hoped to include a chapter on Scottish women intellectuals of the nineteenth- and early-twentieth centuries but that project has grown so large it will need (and deserves) a book to itself.
Some of this book was researched while I was still at the University of Edinburgh, where I benefited from extended sabbatical leave, in part funded by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. I would like to thank both the AHRC and the University for their support, and to thank (again) my former colleagues in the English Literature Department for providing such a stimulating environment to work in. Since moving back to the University of Aberdeen, where I first taught in the 1970s, I have had the privilege of being Director of the AHRC Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies, and I have learned a great deal from those who have been involved in the Centre's work: I would particularly like to thank Edna Longley, Fran Brearton, Peter MacKay, John Kirk, Graham Walker and John Thomson in Queen's University, Belfast; David Dickson, Jane Ohlmeyer, Ian Campbell Ross, Terence Brown and Micheal O’Siochru in Trinity College, Dublin; and John Morrill of Cambridge University, as well as John MacKenzie, formerly of Lancaster University, and Karen Corrigan of Newcastle University. In Aberdeen, I have benefited both from the groundbreaking research and from the good humour of Patrick Crotty, Michael Brown, Andrew MacKillop, Ralph O’Connor, Rosalyn Trigger, Steve Dornan and Paul Shanks.