Articles



Hume: An Intellectual Biography

Long ago I was introduced to the philosophy of David Hume (1711-76) by the late Neil MacCormick lecturing in the Jurisprudence class at Edinburgh University. It was the best of ways to meet another great mind. In the scheme of the course Hume was presented as the harbinger of the end of Natural Law thinking, with his warning that “is” should not be confused with “ought”, and his argument that human reason (the main basis for Natural Law apart from God) is, and ought to be, the slave of the human passions.  We are primarily guided in our reasoning about what to do by our past experience (which of course includes the ways in which we observe others behaving in similar situations). In that process, our perceptions of cause and effect are mainly if not entirely guided by observation of constant conjunctions of facts or by custom and habit.  So, for example, justice, and its concomitants, property and promise-keeping, are thus artificial creations rather than matters of nature, designed by humans as means of holding in check and balance our tendency to pursue our own self-interest at the expense of others.

Published 22 July 2016

Set Adrift Upon the World: The Sutherland Clearances

In Set Adrift Upon the World: The Sutherland Clearances James Hunter masterly weaves together a fascinating account of the Sutherland Clearances. One that takes you from the Strath of Kildonan and other parts of Sutherland to battles in New Orleans via South Africa and onto the foundation of what is now the Canadian city of Winnipeg.

Published 22 July 2016

The Last Communard

It may surprise some readers that the last Communard of this title is not Jimmy Somerville, the shrill voice of the 1980s, but Adrien Lejeune who as a young free-thinker reluctantly took the side of the Commune revolutionaries when the people of Paris rose up against the reactionary French government that had capitulated to the besieging Prussians in 1871.

Published 15 July 2016

Confessions of a Barrister

The gavel, a device never used in the English courts, features on the cover of Confessions of a Barrister – and is a harbinger of things to come.

Published 15 July 2016

Broken Vows - Tony Blair - The Tragedy of Power

Blair's broken vows

Published 8 July 2016

What Paintings Say, 100 Masterpieces in Detail

Artists as historians

Published 8 July 2016

Thicker Than Water

Gillian Mawdsley is impressed by Cal Flynn's first novel – inspired by the discovery that one her ancestors was Angus MacMilan, the leader of the notorious Highland Brigade that massacred aborigines in 19th century Australia while Connor Beaton delves into the darker side of the Internet to explore hate crime in cyberspace.

Published 1 July 2016

Hate Crimes in Cyberspace

Danielle Keats Citron's Hate Crimes in Cyberspace makes for uncomfortable but important reading for lawyers in the 21st century.

Published 1 July 2016

101 Gins to try before you die

My first realisation that Britain was in the grip of gin mania came via my fashionable young niece. Then signs announcing the arrival of 'Gin Bars' began to sprout everywhere – including one near my home in the leafy West End of Dundee.

Published 24 June 2016

The Wikileaks Files

Book of revelations

Published 17 June 2016

Pat Douthwaite

Rediscovering Scotland's tragic High Priestess of the Grotesque

Published 17 June 2016

Asylum

Welcome to SLN's new book review feature where we review some of the latest non-fiction books that may be of interest to our readers. In our first feature Graham Ogilvy finds the war-time memoir of a Jewish refugee fleeing Nazi persecution both timely and moving while Flora Edgar enjoys a biography of much-loved Scottish artist George Wyllie.

Published 10 June 2016

Arrivals and Sailings: The Making of George Wyllie

George Wyllie and the Glasgow arts revival

Published 10 June 2016