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Title: Practising the Irish Enlightenment : the role of medical men in Ireland's learned societies, 1683-1801
Author: Scally, Rachael
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 3996
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis examines the neglected practice of Enlightenment in Ireland through a study of the institutional character of Ireland's Republic of Letters. It focuses on the unique and fundamental contribution made by medical men to the life of Ireland's learned societies. It argues that Ireland had an Enlightenment and it was Irish. It contends that medicine and medical practitioners constituted a vitally important, yet unexamined, part within it. It suggests that Ireland experienced a moderate Enlightenment (c.1683-1790), which was founded on the notion of improvement and a radical Enlightenment (c.1791-1801), which was rooted in republicanism and revolution. It proposes that Ireland's learned societies institutionalised a vibrant patriotic and cosmopolitan Republic of Letters between 1683 and 1801 and that their members were self-conscious engines of the Irish Enlightenment. It argues that Ireland's men of letters shared a common identity and fundamental commitment to the concept of improvement and were united by their belief in the advancement of knowledge, peaceful reform and, as the century progressed, to the notion of increased religious toleration. It maintains that Ireland's medics were the leading animators and beating heart of these learned societies. It demonstrates that Ireland's medics were engaged in ambitious programmes of social, economic and political reform. It concludes that while the pursuit of medical and natural knowledge was not the only concern of the Irish Enlightenment, it was, nevertheless, a vital component and suggests that a medical Enlightenment was taking place in long eighteenth-century Ireland. This thesis shows, not just that the ideas of the Enlightenment had been transferred, jug to mug style, into Ireland from abroad but that the flow of knowledge was never just one way. It demonstrates how Ireland's medics contributed to key Enlightenment debates and were active participants in a transnational Republic of Letters and Enlightenment.
Supervisor: Brockliss, Laurence Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available