With The Edinburgh Edition of Thomas Reid happily completed, I have embarked on a similar edition of Dugald Stewart. As general editors, Paul Wood and I have contracted with Edinburgh University Press for a complete edition of Stewart’s works, lectures, correspondence and miscellaneous papers. We have recruited a group of fellow scholars to edit individual volumes and several titles are already under contract.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Dugald Stewart (1753-1828) was the best known British philosopher with a truly global reputation. His fame was due to his standing as the foremost representative of the intellectual culture that we now identify as the Scottish Enlightenment. His repute was based upon a literary output that was exceptionally wide-ranging, including epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, politics, political economy and aesthetics, as well as empirical studies in the psychology of perception. His major publications were quickly translated into French, they were widely re-published in America, and, already during his lifetime, they were issued  together in editions of his  collected works.

While his published works were of great importance, Stewart’s teaching was perhaps even more decisive in forging his reputation. For for over thirty years, he attracted students from all over Europe and America and taught courses that gave him a status and an influence which transcended those of other British intellectuals in his time. His ‘core course’ was on moral philosophy understood in the wide sense that was common in the eighteenth century, encompassing the theory of the mind, ethics, politics and political economy. In 1800, Stewart created a separate course on political economy which was the first of its kind in the world. Stewart’s course was a major boost to the emergence of economics as a discipline – as well as to his own fame.

Stewart’s role as a ‘public intellectual’ made him a key figure in the international republic of letters. Not only did he facilitate careers, contacts and publications through his epistolary network, he also used it to develop intellectual work that he never published, such as original contributions to mathematics.

The aim of the Edinburgh Edition of Dugald Stewart is to present in modern critical editions  the three pillars of his reputation: his published works, his lectures and his correspondence. In addition, the Edinburgh Edition will include a volume devoted to  his most important unpublished papers.