The Scottish Enlightenment Essays

1918 Words Oct 30th, 2016 8 Pages
During the Scottish Enlightenment, a period of increased intellectual activity in the 18th and early 19th century, individuals tended to explore multiple disciplines of study (Young, 2016). One prominent Scottish Enlightenment figure was James Hutton, living from 1726 to 1797. During his lifetime he was a lawyer, geologist, chemist, physician, farmer, and naturalist. Hutton, along with other prominent Enlightenment figures, Joseph Black and Adam Smith, founded the Oyster Club. This intellectual club was based in Edinburgh and supplied a venue for where a plethora of ideas from various topics could be discussed (Furniss, 2010). Hutton began his studies in Edinburgh, matriculating into the University of Edinburgh at the age of fourteen in 1740. Despite his primary interests being the sciences, Hutton enrolled as a humanities student and briefly worked in a law firm following graduation. However, he soon returned to his scientific passions and registered as a medical student in Edinburgh. While in Edinburgh, Hutton and student peer, James Davie, performed experiments regarding the production of sal ammoniac, a crystalline salt derived from coal soot. Their experiments lead to possible commercial implications, such as dyeing and metalwork, and together they created a business manufacturing sal ammoniac. The profits from this business allowed Hutton to become financially independent, granting him the freedom to pursue a life of relentless research that would primarily focus on…

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