The judge, jurist and philosopher Henry Home, Lord Kames (1696-1782) was a polymath and one of the principal personalities of the Scottish Enlightenment. As a teacher and mentor of Adam Smith, Thomas Reid, and David Hume to some extent, he published works on law and legal history, moral philosophy, aesthetics and rhetoric, anthropology and sociology of law, and on the economic and agricultural improvement of Scotland. He saw these disciplines as elements of a philosophical history of man that developed in certain stages, and he considered law as part of all these subjects. Kames was a widely read author in the eighteenth century, and some of his works were translated into French and German at the time. His influence on German men of letters and on some of the Founders of the United States was considerable. This anthology contains characteristic passages from Kames’s works, particularly from his Sketches of the History of Man (1774), a comprehensive synoptic work which presents Kames’s idea of the progress of man, of society, and of the sciences, from the Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion (1751), a critique of Hume and an important work of Scottish Common Sense philosophy, from the Elements of Criticism (1762) on aesthetics, rhetoric and literary criticism, and from the Principles of Equity (1760) and the Historical Law-Tracts (1758) as his main works on law and legal history.
Keywords: Philosophy, Lord Kames, Henry Home, Scottish Enlightenment, Adam Smith, Thomas Reid, law, legal history, moral philosophy, aesthetics, rhetoric, economics, agriculture, society, religion, perception, sensation, emotions, beauty, conjectural history, reasoning, justice, duty, liberty, causation, tort, contract, property, equity, feudalism