Samuel Pufendorf (1632–1694)

Knud Haakonssen

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599752
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

 Samuel Pufendorf (1632–1694)

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This chapter notes that Samuel Pufendorf was, in his time, and well into the 18th century, one of the most well-known philosophers, easily comparable to John Locke in fame and influence. His political and legal theory were in the genre known as natural law. It was a broad practical language that was used by widely differing philosophical theories. It was Pufendorf’s major treatise, The Law of Nature and Nations (1672), and its textbook abbreviation, On the Duty of Man and Citizen (1673), that shaped the natural law so that it became both a philosophical and juridical teaching subject which was adopted across Europe and beyond as part of educational, legal, and institutional modernization. The State’s personhood, its supreme sovereignty, its territoriality, its duty to the law of nations as a minimal universal order within which to pursue its shifting self-interests, constitute the theoretical core of Pufendorf’s contribution.

Keywords: legal theory; Samuel Pudendorf; natural law; Nature and Nations

Article.  1569 words. 

Subjects: Law ; History of Law ; International Law

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