The European Enlightenment of the eighteenth century occurred during that epoch in the history of man when he realised that he could both understand and control his environment. The roots of the Scottish Enlightenment lay deep in the nation’s history, since the expression of the movement depended on the Church, the law, the lawyers and the universities. Despite the ascription ‘Scottish’, the Enlightenment was not apparent all over Scotland; nor did it flower with equal vigour in those parts of the country where it appeared. The Scottish Enlightenment was a particular and distinctive part of the new era with its origins likewise lying in the seventeenth century. The interests of the Enlightenment were confined to specific intellectual matters and its setting and media of expression were limited to certain institutions and centres. The study of man as a social and sociable being was a central interest of the philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment.