This volume expounds the influence of Robert Burns’s reading of Philosophy
on his life and work, supplementing this with his personal encounters
with those philosophers he met. The work begins with the
Homespun Philosophy of his early years under the tutelage of William
Burnes and John Murdoch, then examines in detail some of the texts of
John Locke, Adam Smith and Francis Hutcheson, including other writers
who reflect Hutcheson’s thinking. Further chapters include the exploration
on Thomas Reid, Dugald Stewart, Archibald Alison and William
Greenfield. Robert Burns and the Philosophers does not purport to be a
work of philosophy but rather to show the poet’s reaction to the subject
and the development of his understanding. This work opens up a subject
that hitherto has been almost unexplored.
J. Walter McGinty received his PhD at the University of Strathclyde on
‘Literary, Philosophical and Theological Influences on Robert Burns’.
Dr McGinty is an ordained Minister, having trained for the Ministry of
the Church of Scotland at the University of Glasgow and Trinity College
Glasgow. Other publications are Robert Burns and Religion, (Ashgate);
and Robert Burns the Book Lover: From Reader to Writer, (Humming
Earth.) The present volume completes the trilogy of books that have
examined the influence of the reading of Robert Burns. McGinty has
also written a biography, ‘An Animated Son of Liberty’: A Life of John
Witherspoon, (Arena) and has published papers on ‘John Goldie and
Robert Burns’ and ‘Milton’s Satan and Burns’s Auld Nick’ in Studies in
Scottish Literature Vols XXIX and XXXIII.