Lecture notes

Scope and Content

Manuscript draft of a lecture by Smith on 'Man and Civilisation'. It is not clear whether the lecture is complete. He argues for the need for a more 'scientific' study of human society and behaviour; wishes to study history of human civilisation to 'illuminate the normal processes of human society'.

Smith examines the debate on whether New World developed independently from Old World or ultimately evolved from it. He discusses the emergence of Cartesian and Newtonian methods, which continued to influence 'humanistic' method in 18th century discussions of social evolution and continues to do so. Smith discusses Turgot's 'Newtonian' perspective on social development which argued that all civilisations did develop inter-dependently

In third section of the lecture pp. 12-16 Smith outlines his views on human cognition and understanding, transmission of knowledge through tradition and diffusion of cultural ideas between different societies.

In the fourth section, pp.18-20, he develops his belief that civilisation had its origins in a single society in a single epoch i.e. Egypt between 4000-3500 B.C.