Dugald Stewart Monument, Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s Calton Hill is a fascinating place to visit with its fine buildings and monuments. Some of these monuments have been raised for famous people or events, but the Dugald Stewart Monument remains a mystery for many people. Just who was Dugald Stewart and who had a monument be raised in his name?
To answer the second part of the question first – the monument was commissioned by the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1831. It was designed by William Henry Playfair, who modelled it on the Choragic Monument of Lysicrate, in Athens. It is one of the many Greek Revival structures in the Calton Hill area.
Dugald Stewart was a Scottish Enlightment Philosopher who was responsible for the predominance of Scottish Philosophy in Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. He held the chair of Moral Philosophy (Ethics) at the University from 1785 to 1810 and although his ideals are considered out of date today and he is mostly forgotten, in his day, he was highly respected for his views.
The Scottish Enlightment Movement, of which he was an important member, believed that, guided by reason and virtue, man could bring about great changes for the better in nature and society.