In this paper we examine the genealogy and transmission of moral duty in Western ethics. We begin with an uncontroversial account of the Stoic notion of the kathēkon, and then examine the pivotal moment of Cicero’s translation of it into Latin as ‘officium’. We take a deflationary view of the impact of Cicero’s translation and conclude that his translation does not mark a departure from the Stoic ideal. We find further confirmation of our deflationary position in the development of the (...) notion of ‘duty’ in Germany between the 16th and 18th centuries. We examine Pufendorf’s critique of ancient eudaimonism and his appropriation of officium, and claim that it foreshadows Kant’s rejection of Garve’s Ciceronian ethics. We demonstrate the undeniable parallels between Kant’s Groundwork and Garve’s influential translation of Cicero’s De Officiis, thereby indicating a novel way in which we should understand Cicero’s contribution to the development of modern moral philosophy. (shrink)
Pufendorf makes a clear distinction between the physical constitution of human beings and their value as human beings, stressing that the latter is justified exclusively by the regular use of the free will. According to Pufendorf, the regular use of free will requires certain inventions (divine as well as human) imposed on the free will and called moral entities. He claims that these inventions determine the moral quality of a human being as well as the standards according to which human (...) beings and their actions are able to be judged. This article examines the normative aspects of Pufendorf’s concepts of moral value and moral estimation in regard to the epistemological question of the accessibility of moral entities for human beings. In the first part, it reconstructs Pufendorf’s doctrine of moral entities and the place of moral estimation in this doctrine. In the second part, it presents Pufendorf’s account of the moral philosophy as a science in order to explain his theory of moral normativity as imposed, and the role of a person in regard to the own moral status. In the last part, it illustrates some consequences in regard to the problem of slavery in Pufendorf. (shrink)
On a standard reading of David Hume, we know two things about his analogy of morals to secondary qualities: first, it responds to the moral rationalism of Clarke and Wollaston; second, it broadcasts Hume’s realism or antirealism in ethics. I complicate that common narrative with a new intellectual contextualization of the analogy, the surprising outcome of which is that Hume’s analogy is neither realist nor antirealist in spirit, but quietist. My argument has three parts. First, I reconstruct Hume’s argument against (...) rationalist moral ontology in Treatise 3.1.1, revealing his attention to the Intellectualism/Voluntarism debate in rationalism. Second, I present evidence of Hume’s familiarity with the debate between Intellectualist moral realists and Voluntarist moral antirealists, notably Pufendorf. Third, I establish that Hume’s analogy undermines a key assumption structuring that debate, and that the analogy consequently signals his quietist abstention from his rationalist contemporaries’ realism/antirealism debate in ethics. (shrink)
RESUMO:O objetivo deste artigo é discutir sobre os conceitos de obrigação e lei natural, tendo como referência o polêmico debate moderno envolvendo intelectualismo e voluntarismo. Em um primeiro momento, destacaremos a rejeição de Wolff ao voluntarismo de Pufendorf e sua orientação em direção ao intelectualismo de Leibniz. Conforme essa nova orientação, uma teoria da lei natural não deve basear seu conceito de obrigação na autoridade das leis e em seu poder coercitivo, mas, por outro lado, unicamente na ideia de necessidade (...) moral, interpretada como expressão da ligação natural universal dos seres racionais com o dever. Em um segundo momento, apresentaremos os efeitos dessa discussão no pensamento inicial de Kant, que, se posicionando diante mesmo de Wolff e Baumgarten, vai empreender a superação de seus predecessores, através de uma revisão conceitual do problema, a qual culminará nos pressupostos de sua doutrina ética madura. -/- ABSTRACT:This paper highlights the debate around the concepts of obligationand natural law, with reference to the controversial modern discussion involving intellectualism and voluntarism. Firstly, we highlight Wolff’s rejection of the voluntarism of Pufendorf and Wolff’s orientation toward the intellectualism of Leibniz. For intellectualism, a theory of natural law should not ground the concept of obligation in the authority of laws and in their coercive power, but in the idea of moral necessity, understood as an expression of the universal natural connection of rational beings with duty. We then present the effects of this discussion on Kant’s early thought. Kant undertook to go beyond Wolff and Baumgarten through a conceptual review of the problem, which culminated in the assumptions of his mature ethics -/- This paper highlights the debate around the concepts of obligation and natural law , with reference to the controversial modern discussion involving intellectualism and voluntarism. Firstly, we highlight Wolff’s rejection of the voluntarism of Pufendorf and Wolff’s orientation toward the intellectualism of Leibniz. For intellectualism, a theory of natural law should not ground the concept of obligation in the authority of laws (established as an arbitrary decree of God) and in their coercive power (interpreted as fear of punishment), but in the idea of moral necessity, understood as an expression of the universal natural connection of rational beings with duty. We then present the effects of this discussion on Kant’s early thought. Kant undertook to go beyond Wolff and Baumgarten through a conceptual review of the problem, which culminated in the assumptions of his mature ethics. (shrink)
The articles contained in this collection look at the displacements, upheavals and dislocations in the traditional definition of obligation as experienced in the 18th and early 19th centuries from the perspective of the humanities and cultural studies. The works in this volume not only focus on Kantian moral philosophy, as the pinnacle of a specific modern development, but also examine the diverse other concepts of obligation and how they were formulated through literature, aesthetics, politics and pedagogy.
The article deals with the question of the relationship between physical modes and moral modes in Samuel Pufendorf’s theory of natural law. By distinguishing these two kinds of modes (which are both modes of natural substances) Pufendorf anticipates the “law of Hume”, according to which the is and the ought are incommensurable. According to Pufendorf, Grotius and Hobbes’ conception of the state of nature is at fault because these authors make natural law a fact that would not be accompanied by (...) imposition and from which deontological notions would thus flow in a natural way. According to Pufendorf, on the contrary, deontological modes go hand in hand with the moral modes which are attached to certain natural substances only because of a divine imposition which wanted to make man a naturally sociable being. (shrink)
Discussions of early modern philosophical anthropology in postcolonial studies often treat it as tied to Eurocentric conceptions of civilisational supremacism and to the ideologies of imperialism and colonialism served by these conceptions. In discussing the conceptions of man contained in two key early modern doctrines of the law of nature and nations ? those of Samuel Pufendorf and Emer de Vattel ? this paper casts a sceptical eye on the postcolonial accounts. The anthropologies deployed by Pufendorf and Vattel relate not (...) to European imperialism and colonialism but to intra-European problems associated with the formation of territorial states and the bellicose relations between them. (shrink)
Máquina pensante, funámbulo agónico y homo iuridicus son las tres características que este libro estudia para entender cómo el sujeto humano fue construido en los pensamientos respectivos de Descartes, Pascal y de varios pensadores de la escuela racionalista del derecho natural con, en particular, Grocio, Pufendorf, Thomasius, Burlamaqui y Wolff. Según el primer rasgo, Descartes confiere un valor al ser humano gracias a su capacidad de pensamiento (el "cogito ergo sum"). Además, y a través de una nueva antropología, asemeja el (...) cuerpo humano a una "máquina admirable". Para Pascal, al contrario, el ser humano debe aceptar las limitaciones de su condición, desconfiar en la razón humana, y dejarse guiar por la fe y el "esprit de finesse". Por fin, la mayoría de los iusnaturalistas del siglo XVII pretenden justificar el orden social y el fenómeno jurídico a partir de distintas aproximaciones antropológicas, acudiendo incluso a ciertas ideas vinculadas a la noción de dignidad humana. Con este libro, el lector tendrá en sus manos un panorama imprescindible para entender la construcción de la subjetividad occidental. (shrink)
Rather than a history of seventeenth-century natural law, then, this chapter offers an outline of several different contextual uses of the language of natural law, as it was used in formulating the intellectual architecture for rival constructions of political and religious authority.
Central parts of the natural law theories of Grotius and Pufendorf assume that persons by nature have individual realms of their own, violations of which constitute a wrong. This is the basis for their accounts of promises, ownership and reactions against wrongs. These accounts are significantly independent of any assumption that a superior being imposes obligations: rather, the individuals themselves create obligations by their own acts of will. The translator's introducton draws attention to the author's relation to Hägerström, and remarks (...) briefly on related points in Ames, Köhler and Georges Davy. (shrink)
On the basis of the finding that perfectibility for Pufendorf had a cultural as well as an anti-essentialist meaning, the perfectibility debate of the early German Enlightenment will be discussed. Central to this debate is the principle of generative absence, one that has heretofore received little attention, but proves to be constitutive of both Pufendorf′s and Pietism′s argumentation in opposition to mechanical materialism and religious orthodoxy. My account of this context will go over the positions of Christian Thomasius′s empirical eclecticism (...) and Christian Wolff′s rationalist metaphysics and end with Georg Forster′s and Immanuel Kant′s reception of the Rousseauian concept of perfectibility. In so doing, I will advance the thesis that, much more extensively than most have assumed, the German Enlightenment prepared German Idealism′s dialectical constitution of the modern concept of progress. (shrink)
The article proposes a comparison between certain aspects of Samuel Pufendorf's (1632-1694) conception of natural law and certain aspects of John Searle's social ontology. As in Pufendorf the entia moralia are superimposed on the entia physica, of which they constitute modes that ground systems of norms (natural or positive), so in Searle the institutional facts that are created by certain speech acts of the performative type are superimposed on the physical facts. The difference between Pufendorf and Searle is that the (...) latter understands all institutional facts as extrinsic to the physical facts (as a consequence of the peculiarity of their self-referentiality). For Pufendorf, on the other hand, moral modes are intrinsic to certain entia physica endowed with reason and will, whereas certain legal relations, like property, are extrinsic. (shrink)
Artykuł, choć traktuje głównie o statusie jednostki w realiach i myśli politycznej monarchii absolutnej doby Bodinusa i Pufendorfa, odnosi się – toutes proportions gardées – do następującej kwestii: Czy członków państw niedemokratycznych, pozbawionych pełni praw i wolności politycznych, można określać mianem obywateli? Krzysztof Trzciński, Odwrócenie perspektywy: poddany jako obywatel w monarchii absolutnej, czyli o wieloznaczności pojęć lub ich różnym rozumieniu, „Przegląd Politologiczny” 3/2004, s. 93-106.
The fundamental presupposition of political philosophy is that the legitimate rule of one individual over another requires justification: political power may come out of the barrel of a gun but political authority does not. Classically, the philosopher of politics looked to nature. In the seventeenth century, however, the philosophical tide turns in a decidedly different direction: contractarianism. Political society becomes a consensual construct created through the heuristic vehicle of a hypothetical social contract. Simultaneously, within the confines of contractarianism itself, a (...) remarkable transformation occurs. The theory originates in the hands of Grotius, Hobbes and Pufendorf as a justificatory tool for political absolutism and, paradoxically, reaches its zenith in Locke with a firm commitment to constitutionalism. I explore this transformation in detail, culminating with what I term the “Lockean Synthesis.”. (shrink)
Rival Enlightenments, first published in 2001, is a major reinterpretation of early modern German intellectual history. Ian Hunter approaches philosophical doctrines as ways of fashioning personae for envisaged historical circumstances, here of confessional conflict and political desacralization. He treats the civil philosophy of Pufendorf and Thomasius and the metaphysical philosophy of Leibniz and Kant as rival intellectual cultures or paideiai, thereby challenging all histories premised on Kant's supposed reconciliation and transcendence of the field. This study reveals the extraordinary historical self-consciousness (...) of the civil philosophers, who repudiated university metaphysics as inimical to the intellectual formation of those administering desacralized territorial states. The book argues that the marginalization of civil philosophy in post-Kantian philosophical history may itself be seen as a continuation of the struggle between the rival enlightenments. Combining careful and well-documented scholarship with vivid polemic, Hunter presents penetrating insights for philosophers and historians alike. (shrink)
I argue that the difference between the 17th century new moral science and Scholastic Natural Law Theory derived primarily from the skeptical challenge the former had to face. Pufendorf's project of a 'scientia practica universalis' was the paramount expression of an anti-skeptical moral science, a «science» both explanatory and normative, but also anti-dogmatic in so far as it tried to base its laws on those basic phenomena of human life that supposedly were outside the scope of skeptical doubt. Of the (...) Scholastic legacy to the new moral science, a dichotomy between an «intellettualistic» and a «voluntaristic» view of natural law (or between lex immanens and lex imposita). Voluntarism lays at the root both of theological views such as those of Calvinism and of political views such as those of Hobbes and Locke. A need to counterbalance undesirable implications of estreme voluntarism may account for much of 17th and 18th centuries developments in ethics and politics. Scottish natural jurisprudence, an expression of such quest for a third way between scepticism and extreme voluntarism, is less secular and more empirical than received wisdom admits of. One of its side-effects, namely a systematic, self-contained, and empirical economic theory, results from the search for a normative theory of social life on an empirical basis. The main tool for building such a theory, namely a view of societal laws as embedded in trans-individual mechanisms, derives from the voluntarist view of natural law as «imposed» law. Subsequent discussions of social issues based on the opposition of economic and ethical reasons originated partly from gross misreading of the Scottish natural jurisprudential framework for economic theory. (shrink)
Despite his significance in early modern Germany, where he was well-known as a political and moral philosopher, jurist, lay-theologian, social and educational reformer, Christian Thomasius (1655-1728) is little known in the world of Anglophone scholarship. 1 Unlike those of his mentor, Samuel Pufendorf, none of Thomasius's works was translated into English, when, at the end of the seventeenth century, English thinkers were searching for a final settlement to the religious question. None has been translated since. Moreover, while Thomasius has been (...) subject to increasing scholarly attention in Germany since the 1970s, where he has been treated largely as a representative of the "early Enlightenment," there is very little secondary literature on him in English. 2 Things are however beginning to change in this regard, with recent research already giving rise to important new Anglophone books and essays. 3 Knud Haakonssen's article on [End Page 595] Thomasius for the new Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy might well be a straw in the wind. (shrink)
Left-libertarian theories of justice hold that agents are full self-owners and that natural resources are owned in some egalitarian manner. Unlike most versions of egalitarianism, leftlibertarianism endorses full self-ownership, and thus places specific limits on what others may do to one’s person without one’s permission. Unlike the more familiar right-libertarianism (which also endorses full self-ownership), it holds that natural resources—resources which are not the results of anyone's choices and which are necessary for any form of activity—may be privately appropriated only (...) with the permission of, or with a significant payment to, the members of society. Like right-libertarianism, left-libertarianism holds that the basic rights of individuals are ownership rights. Such rights can endow agents—as liberalism requires—with spheres of personal liberty where they may each pursue their conceptions of “the good life”. Left-libertarianism is promising because it coherently underwrites both some demands of material equality and some limits on the permissible means of promoting this equality. It is promising, that is, because it is a form of liberal egalitarianism. Left-libertarian theories have been propounded for over two centuries. Early exponents of some form of self-ownership combined with some form of egalitarian ownership of natural resources include: Hugo Grotius (1625), Samuel Pufendorf (1672), John Locke (1690), William Ogilvie (1781), Thomas Spence (1793), Thomas Paine (1795), Hippolyte de Colins (1835), François Huet (1853), Patrick E. Dove (1850, 1854), Herbert Spencer (1851), Henry George (1879, 1892), and Léon Walras (1896).1 It is striking how much of the current debate about equality, liberty, and responsibility has already been addressed by these authors. (shrink)
G.A. Cohen has produced an influential criticism of libertarian‐ism that posits joint ownership of everything in the world other than labor, with each joint owner having a veto right over any potential use of the world. According to Cohen, in that world rationality would require that wealth be divided equally, with no differential accorded to talent, ability, or effort. A closer examination shows that Cohen's argument rests on two central errors of reasoning and does not support his egalitarian conclusions, even (...) granting his assumption of joint ownership. That assumption was rejected by Locke, Pufendorf and other writers on property for reasons that Cohen does not rebut. (shrink)
This work presents the basic arguments and fundamental themes of the political and moral thought of the seventeenth-century philosopher, Samuel Pufendorf--one of the most widely read natural lawyers of the pre-Kantian era. Selections from the texts of Pufendorf's two major works, Elements of Universal Jurisprudence and The Law of Nature and of Nations, have been brought together to make Pufendorf's moral and political thought more accessible. The selections included have received a new English translation, the first for both works in (...) roughly sixty years. The editor, a political scientist, and the translator, a philosopher, have developed a volume that is comprehensive and representative of Pufendorf's thought without being repetitive, fragmented, or obscure. (shrink)
This was Pufendorf's first work, published in 1660. Its appearance effectively inaugurated the modern natural-law movement in the German-speaking world. The work also established Pufendorf as a key figure and laid the foundations for his major works, which were to sweep across Europe and North America. Pufendorf rejected the concept of natural rights as liberties and the suggestion that political government is justified by its protection of such rights, arguing instead for a principled limit to the state's role in human (...) life. (shrink)
A passage on the origin of property in Grotius, De iure praedae , pp. 226-230 [Note 1] seems to contain echoes of the controversy between pope John XXII and William of Ockham on Franciscan poverty. Grotius's note (b) on p. 227 refers to the decretals..
Contractarianism, as a general approach to moral and political thought, has had a long and distinguished history -- its roots are easily traced as far back as Plato's Republic, where Glaucon advanced it as a view of justice, and its influential representatives include Pufendorf, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, and Kant. In various ways, to various purposes, and against the background of various assumptions, each of these philosophers offered contractarian arguments for the views they defended. What binds the tradition together, in (...) the face of this variety, is the conviction that moral norms or political institutions find legitimacy, when they do, in their ability to secure (under the appropriate conditions) the agreement of those to whom they apply. (shrink)