Widely considered The Father of Economics, Adam Smith was a Scottish philosopher and economist. A pioneer of political economy, Adam Smith played a major role during the Scottish Enlightenment. His book The Wealth of Nations is regarded as the first modern work of economics and a forerunner of today's academic discipline of economics.
Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, and economist, David Hume, is considered one of the most important philosophers to write in English. His book, A Treatise of Human Nature, is counted among the most influential works in the history of philosophy. His works have influenced numerous thinkers, including German philosopher Immanuel Kant and Christian philosopher Joseph Butler.
John Knox was a Scottish minister, writer, and theologian. Knox, who played a major role in the Scottish Reformation, is also credited with founding the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Considered a major contributor to the field of theology, John Knox's statue stands tall at New College in the University of Edinburgh, UK.
Walter Scott was a Scottish novelist, poet, historian, and playwright. Scott's ability as a writer and his knowledge of history made him a pioneering figure in the formation of the historical novel genre. An influential writer, many of his works remain classics of Scottish as well as English-language literature. Scott was admired by other prominent writers like Letitia Elizabeth Landon.
Duns Scotus was a Scottish Franciscan friar, philosopher, theologian, and university professor. Widely regarded as one of the most prominent philosopher-theologians of the High Middle Ages, Scotus had a major influence on both secular and Catholic thought. In 1993, Duns Scotus was beatified by the Catholic Church. His life and work inspired a 2012 Italian film titled Blessed Duns Scotus.
Neil Oliver is a Scottish author and television presenter best known for presenting many documentary series on history and archaeology, such as Coast, Vikings, and A History of Scotland. Oliver is also known for his association with the popular conservation organization National Trust for Scotland, where he served as the president from 2017 to 2020.
James Murray was a Scottish philologist and lexicographer. He is best remembered as the main editor of the famous Oxford English Dictionary from 1879 until his demise in 1915. Murray's contribution to the dictionary and his collaboration with lexicographical researcher William Chester Minor inspired the 2019 film The Professor and the Madman, where the former was portrayed by Mel Gibson.
One of the two pioneering female honorary members of the Royal Astronomical Society, Mary Somerville was a 19th-century polymath and science writer. Though she specialized in math and astronomy, she was also well-versed in botany and geology. The Connection of the Physical Sciences remains her most notable work.
John Law was a Scottish economist best remembered for his work as Controller General of Finances under the Regent of the Kingdom of France, Philippe II, Duke of Orléans. Law is credited with founding Banque Générale Privée, the first financial organization to pioneer the use of paper money. Law is also credited with originating ideas like the real bills doctrine.
British civil servant A. O. Hume is remembered as the Father of the Indian National Congress, having co-founded the party. Apart from being an administrator, he was also an ornithologist and had written List of Birds in India. His vocal criticism of the British made his bosses distrust him.
James Mill was a Scottish economist, historian, philosopher, and political theorist. Mill is credited with co-founding the Ricardian school of economics. He is also credited with writing The History of British India, which classifies Indian history into three parts: British, Muslim, and Hindu. The classification has played an influential role in the field of Indian historical studies.
Apart from being a sociologist and biologist, Patrick Geddes was known for his impeccable sense of town planning. While he initially taught botany in Dundee, he later turned to sociology and conducted studies in India, Mexico, and other countries. He was eventually knighted for his achievements.
Thomas Reid was a Scottish philosopher best remembered for founding the Scottish School of Common Sense. Reid, who played an important part in the Scottish Enlightenment, advocated common sense realism as opposed to his contemporary David Hume who advocated metaphysical naturalism. Thomas Reid is also credited with co-founding the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1783.
Born to a hat manufacturer, James Wilson initially wished to study law but later joined his father’s business. Over the years, he established what is now the Standard Chartered Bank. Sent to Kolkata by Queen Victoria to introduce tax reforms, he introduced paper currency in the country, but died of dysentery.
Harry The Minstrel, or Blind Harry, was a 15th-century Scottish poet, best known for his iconic poem The Wallace. He finds mention in a lot of literary works, such as The Lament for the Makaris by William Dunbar. Blind since birth, he mostly went around collecting legends about Scottish knight Sir William Wallace.
W. D. Ross was a Scottish philosopher best remembered for his work in ethics. He is credited with developing a deontological form of intuitionism in response to his contemporary George Edward Moore's consequentialist form of intuitionist ethics. Ross is also credited with editing and translating several works of the popular Greek philosopher and polymath Aristotle.
Michael Scot was a Scottish scholar and mathematician. Widely regarded as the greatest intellectual of the Middle Ages, Scot served as a court astrologer and science adviser to Emperor Frederick II. Michael Scot's life and work have inspired several literary works, including the 2019 novel A Matter of Interpretation by Elizabeth Mac Donald.
Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane was a British philosopher, lawyer, and politician. Between 1905 and 1912, he served as the Secretary of State for War and was instrumental in implementing a series of reforms of the British Army called The Haldane Reforms. He also served as the Lord Chancellor twice during his illustrious career. Richard was also an influential writer.
Scottish Presbyterian minister and political economist Thomas Chalmers has been immortalized by the town of Port Chalmers in New Zealand, named after him. An ordained minister, he was initially a math lecturer. He later became the Free Church of Scotland’s first moderator. He tried applying Christian ethics to economic problems.
Welsh-born Scottish author Eric Linklater is best remembered for his award-winning children’s book The Wind on the Moon. Initially a student of medicine, he later switched to English literature. He had also been part pf the Scottish military and later also became a military historian.
John Witherspoon was a Scottish American slaveholder, Presbyterian minister, and Founding Father of the United States. A signatory to the Declaration of Independence, Witherspoon also signed the Articles of Confederation. He also played a crucial role in shaping public policy in the United States of America.
Dugald Stewart was a Scottish mathematician and philosopher best remembered for his efforts to popularize the works of Adam Smith and Francis Hutcheson. Considered one of the most prominent personalities of the Scottish Enlightenment, Stewart played a major role in explaining the Scottish Common Sense Realism. Among his students were Sir Walter Scott, Sir Archibald Alison, and Sir James Mackintosh.
Sir William Hamilton, 9th Baronet, was a Scottish metaphysician and educator best remembered for his work in the field of logic. Hamilton, who made attempts to combine the views held by German philosopher Immanuel Kant with the Scottish philosophy of common sense, is credited with popularizing the works of Kant in the United Kingdom.
Scottish Quaker leader Robert Barclay is best remembered for his written work An Apology for the True Christian Divinity. His close friendship with James II, Duke of York, helped him secure the land of East Jersey for himself and his several Quaker friends who had been facing persecution back then.
Alexander Bain was a Scottish philosopher. He was a prominent educationalist in the British school of empiricism. A respected figure in the fields of psychology, logic, linguistics, moral philosophy, and education reform, he founded Mind, the first-ever journal of psychology and analytical philosophy. He had an illustrious academic career at the University of Aberdeen.
James Burnett, Lord Monboddo was a Scottish philosopher, judge, deist, and scholar of linguistic evolution. Best remembered for contributing to the development of the concepts of biological evolution, James Burnett is often credited with theorizing the idea of natural selection. His theories were read and acknowledged by Erasmus Darwin, whose works were in turn read by his grandson Charles Darwin.
John Henry Mackay was a writer, thinker, and egoist anarchist. Mackay, who spent most of his life in Germany, is best remembered for his work Die Anarchisten which was published in 1891. He is also remembered for his friendship with American anarchist Benjamin Tucker, who published his works in Liberty magazine in the United States of America.
Credited with writing the first methodically written text on economics in English, James Steuart belonged to a noble family. His renowned work, An Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy, was the first in English and the first by a Scottish economist to have “political economy” as part of its title.
James Frederick Ferrier was a Scottish metaphysical philosopher, writer, and professor. He is best remembered for authoring a series of articles titled An Introduction to the Philosophy of Consciousness, which were published in Blackwood's Magazine. As an educator, James Frederick Ferrier taught at several prestigious institutions like Edinburgh University and the University of St Andrews.
Arthur Keith was a Scottish anthropologist and anatomist. In 1893, he was honored with the first Struthers Prize for successfully demonstrating the functionality of ligaments in apes and humans. He is also credited with publishing several important works, such as An Introduction to the Study of Anthropoid Apes and A New Theory of Human Evolution.
Hector Boece was a Scottish historian and philosopher best remembered for his role as the first principal of King's College, a precursor of the University of Aberdeen, where he often delivered lectures on divinity and on medicine. He is also remembered for his books, History of the Scottish People and Lives of the Bishops of Murthlack and Aberdeen.
Richard of Saint-Victor was a Medieval Scottish theologian and philosopher. One of the most influential and prominent religious thinkers of his generation, Richard served as a prior of the Augustinian Abbey of Saint-Victor from 1162 to 1173. A prolific writer, Richard of Saint-Victor published several important books, including The Book of the Twelve Patriarchs.
Apart from being a naval surgeon, John Richardson also made a named for himself as an explorer of the Canadian Arctic coast. He was also a talented author of natural history. His accurate surveys eventually got him knighted. Various species of reptiles and mammals have been named in his honor.
Angus Calder was a Scottish poet, historian, and writer. In addition to his literary works, Calder is also remembered for holding teaching positions in several universities. Also a prominent socialist, Angus Calder was often counted among the most important Scottish intellectuals during the '70s and '80s.