Though little known today, David Fordyce was an important figure in the Scottish Enlightenment and closely associated with liberal Dissenters in England.
His Elements of Moral Philosophy was a notable
contribution to the curriculum in moral philosophy
and a widely circulated text in moral philosophy in the
second half of the eighteenth century.
It was first published as part of a comprehensive
textbook system in 1748 and as a separate book in 1754. It is the latter that is now being reissued.
The significance of The Elements is evidenced by the fact that it was included practically verbatim in the
first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1771).
A Brief Account, Fordyce’s opening lectures to his
Marischal class of 1743/44, has never before been
David Fordyce (1711–1751)
taught at Marischal College, Aberdeen.
Thomas D. Kennedy is Associate
Professor of Philosophy at Valparaiso
Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.