The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks is one of the major products of the Scottish Enlightenment and a masterpiece of jurisprudence and social theory. Drawing on Adam Smith’s four-stages theory of history and the natural law’s traditional division of domestic duties into those toward servants, children, and women, Millar provides a rich historical analysis of the ways in which progressive economic change transforms the nature of authority.
In this new, dual-language edition, Hutcheson’s Latin Philosophiae Moralis Institutio Compendiaria is presented on facing pages with its English translation, A Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy, together with all the relevant alterations of the 1745 edition relating to the 1742 edition of the Institutio, including all the omissions and additions by the translator in the Short Introduction.
Philosophical Commentary deals with church and state, religious toleration, legal enforcement of religious practices, and religiously motivated violence.
Samuel Pufendorf’s The Present State of Germany was first published in 1667 (under the pseudonym Severinus de Monzambano) and immediately became one of the most notorious works in Europe for the next half century. Its trenchant critique of previous theories of the Holy Roman Empire elicited both attacks and defenses, and it also anticipated many elements in Pufendorf’s subsequent writings on natural law, history, and religion.
Henry Home, Lord Kames, was the complete “Enlightenment man,” concerned with the full spectrum of human knowledge and its social use. However, as a lawyer and, after 1752, as a judge on the Court of Session in Edinburgh, he made many of his most distinctive contributions through his works on the nature of law and legal development.
The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy presents the first masterpiece of Scottish Common Sense philosophy. This two-volume treatise is important for its wide range of insights about the nature of the human mind, the foundations of morals, and the relationship between morality and religion.
Born in 1694, Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui helped transform the modern tradition of natural law and convey it to new generations.
Since the nineteenth century, Hugo Grotius’s Rights of War and Peace has been the classic work in modern international law, laying the foundation for a universal code of law.
Francisco Suárez (1548–1617) was the greatest metaphysician and moral theorist of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century scholasticism. Suárez is of particular importance as a theorist of natural law and of rights, for his work combines expertise in moral theory with a mastery of civil and ecclesiastical jurisprudence and a sophisticated theory of the human person.
Divided into three books, Kames’s Sketches of the History of Man draws together the concerns of many of his earlier works. The first book considers man in the private sphere, while the second explores man in the public sphere. The final book is an account of progress in the sciences of logic, morals, and theology. Throughout the entire work, Kames expounds on his fundamental hypothesis that, at the beginning of the history of the human race, savagery was ubiquitous and that the human story is one of an emergence out of barbarism and toward maturity.
A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, originally titled De Legibus Naturae, first appeared in 1672 as a theoretical response to a range of issues that came together during the late 1660s. It conveyed a conviction that science might offer a more effective means of demonstrating both the contents and the obligatory force of the law of nature.
Grotius’s The Truth of the Christian Religion was first published in Leiden in 1627 in Latin. Written in plain and direct language for his countrymen, this short work aimed to show those who would encounter pagans, Muslims, and Jews that the Christian religion was the true revealed religion. In addition to “fortifying” the beliefs of his fellow Christians, the treatise intended to convince non-Christians of “the reasonableness of believing and embracing the Christian Religion above any other.”