An Edinburgh Classic edition of the cornerstone work on Scotland's intellectual identity First published in 1961, The Democratic Intellect provoked a re-evaluation of Scotland's philosophy of itself. George Davie's account of the history of the movements which set Scotland apart from its neighbours, and of the great personalities involved, has proved seminal in restoring to Scotland a sense of the value of its unique cultural identity. Scotland's approach to higher education has always been distinctive. From the inauguration of its first universities, the accent was on first principles, and this broad, philosophical interpretation unified the approach to knowledge - even of mathematics and science. The resulting generalist tradition contrasted with the specialism of the two English universities, Oxford and Cambridge. It stood Scotland in good stead, characterising its intellectual life even into the nineteenth century when economic, social and political pressures enforced an increasing conformity to English models.
The Democratic Intellect is rightly a benchmark in Scotland's intellectual heritage and continues to have a marked influence on those now promoting enquiry and improvement within our colleges and universities.