Thomas Reid Scotland

Biography of Thomas Reid

Thomas Reid
Thomas Reid

Thomas Reid (1710-1796) was Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University from 1764 to 1781. He was elected Clerk of Senate in 1776.

Born in Kincardineshire, Reid became a minister and then Regent of Philosophy at King's College, Aberdeen. He was instrumental in the founding of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society and was a key figure in the "school of common sense philosophy" which flourished during the Scottish Enlightenment. His Enquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense was published in 1764, the year he succeeded Adam Smith as Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow.

Reid resigned in 1781 at the age of 71 to spend more time writing, and published another two major works of philosophy before his death. He also wrote the article on the University that was published in the Statistical Account of Scotland in 1799. He was chosen as the University's representative at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1767 and 1772 and served as Vice-Rector to Edmund Burke, 1784-1785.

The tombstone of Thomas Reid is located at the entrance of the Gilbert Scott building, serving as a memorial to Reid and his contributions to the University. Reid was originally buried at the Blackfriars Church burial ground when the University was based at High Street. When the move was made to Gilmorehill, his remains were relocated to the Professors' Monument at the Glasgow Necropolis.

Some of his papers can be found in University of Glasgow Special Collections, as well as the University of Aberdeen Special Collections. Many of his texts can be accessed online via Early Modern Texts.


Thomas Reid
Natural and Moral Philosopher

Born 26 April 1710, Scotland.
Died 7 October 1796.
GU Degree:
University Link: Clerk of Senate, Professor
Occupation categories: moral philosophers
NNAF Reference: GB/NNAF/P24027
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Record last updated: 16th May 2016

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