The Whole Duty of Man, According to the Law of Nature
Publication Year: 2012
Samuel Pufendorf's seminal work, The Whole Duty of Man, According to the Law of Nature (first published in Latin in 1673), was among the first to suggest a purely conventional basis for natural law. Rejecting scholasticism’s metaphysical theories, Pufendorf found the source of natural law in humanity’s need to cultivate sociability. At the same time, he distanced himself from Hobbes’s deduction of such needs from self-interest. The result was a sophisticated theory of the conventional character of man’s social persona and of all political institutions.
Pufendorf wrote this work to make his insights accessible to a wide range of readers, especially university students. As ministers, teachers, and public servants, they would have to struggle with issues of sovereignty and of the relationship between church and state that dominated the new state system of Europe in the aftermath of the Peace of Westphalia (1648).
The Whole Duty was first translated into English in 1691. The fourth edition was significantly revised—by anonymous editors—to include a great deal of the very important editorial material from Jean Barbeyrac’s French editions. This was reproduced in the fifth edition from 1735 that is republished here. The English translation provides a fascinating insight into the transplantation of Pufendorf’s political theory from a German absolutist milieu to an English parliamentarian one.
Samuel Pufendorf (1632–1694) was one of the most important figures in early-modern political thought. An exact contemporary of Locke and Spinoza, he transformed the natural law theories of Grotius and Hobbes, developed striking ideas of toleration and of the relationship between church and state, and wrote extensive political histories and analyses of the constitution of the German empire.
Jean Barbeyrac (1674–1744) was a Huguenot refugee who taught natural law successively in Berlin, Lausanne, and Amsterdam, and edited and translated into French the major natural law works of Grotius, Pufendorf, and Cumberland.
Andrew Tooke (1673–1732) was headmaster of Chaterhouse School and professor of geometry at Gresham College, London.
Ian Hunter is Australian Professorial Fellow in the Centre for the History of European Discourses, University of Queensland.
David Saunders is Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Arts at Griffith University.
Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.
Published by: Liberty Fund
Title Page, Copyright
Table of Contents
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Introduction, p. ix
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In 1691, eighteen years after its original publication, Samuel Pufendorf’s De officio hominis et civis appeared in English translation in London, bearing the title The Whole Duty of Man, According to the Law of Nature. This translation, by...
Pufendorf's Whole Duty of Man
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To the Reader
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Table of Contents,
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The Author's Preface
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Had not the Custom which has so generally obtain’d among Learned Men, almost procured to it self the Force of a Law, it might seem altogether superfluous to premise a Word concerning the Reason of the *present Undertaking; the...
Chap. 1. Of the Rule of Human Actions, or of Laws in general
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What we mean here by the Word Duty, is, That *Action of a Man, which is regularly order’d according to some prescrib’d Law, which he is oblig’d to obey. To the Understanding whereof it is necessary to premise somewhat, as well touching...
Chap. 3. Of the Laws of Nature
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That Man, who has thoroughly examined the Nature and Disposition of Mankind, may plainly understand what the Law Natural is, the Necessity thereof, and which are the Precepts it proposes and enjoyns to Mankind. For, as it much conduces...
Chap. 4. Of the Duty of Man towards God, or concerning Natural Religion, p. 60
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The Duty of Man towards God, so far as can be discover’d by Natural Reason, is comprehended in these two; that we have true Notions concerning him, or know him aright; and then that we conform all our Actions to hisWill, or obey him as...
Chap. 5. Of the Duty of a Man towards Himself
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Although the Love of himself be so deeply fix’d in the Mind of Man, as to put him always under a Sollicitous Care of Himself, and upon Endeavours by all means to procure...
Chap. 6. Of the Duty of one Man to another, and first of doing no Injury to any Man
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We come now to those Duties which are to be practis’d by one Man towards another. Some of these proceed from that common Obligation which it hath pleas’d the Creator..
Chap. 7. The Natural Equality of Men to be acknowledged
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Man is a Creature not only most sollicitous for the Preservation of Himself; but has of Himself also so nice an Estimation and Value, that to diminish any thing thereof does frequently move in him as great Indignation, as if a Mischief...
Chap. 8. Of the mutual Duties of Humanity
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Among the Duties of one Man towards another, which must be practis’d for the sake of Common Society, we put in the third place this, That every Man ought to promote the Good of another, as far as conveniently he may. For all Mankind...
Chap. 9. The Duty of Men in making Contracts
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From the Duties Absolute to those that are Conditional we must take our Passage, as it were, through the intermediate Contracts; 38 for, since all Duties, except those already mentioned, seem to presuppose some Covenant either expressed or implied...
Chap. 10. The Duty of Men in Discourse
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How useful and altogether necessary an Instrument of Human Society Discourse 40 is, there is no Man can be ignorant; since many have made that only an Argument to prove Man to be by Nature design’d for a Social Life. Now that a lawful and...
Chap. 11. The Duty of those that take an Oath
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Whereas such is the Condition of Man’s Body, that it cannot be supported and preserved from that which would destroy its Fabric, without the Assistance of Things without him; and whereas by making Use of other Creatures42 his Life may...
Chap. 12. Duties to be observ'd in acquiring Possession of Things
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Whereas such is the Condition of Man’s Body, that it cannot be supported and preserved from that which would destroy its Fabric, without the Assistance of Things without him; and whereas by making Use of other Creatures42 his Life may be...
Chap. 13. The Duties which naturally result from Man's Property in Things, p. 137
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Property in Things being established among Men, these Duties naturally arise. *Every Man is obliged to suffer another, who is not a declared Enemy, quietly to enjoy whatsoever Things are his; and neither by Fraud or Violence to spoil, imbezzel, or convert them to his own Use. Whence it appears, That Theft, Rapine...
Chap. 14. Of the Price and Value of Things, p. 140
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After Property was introduced into the World, all Things not being of the same Nature, nor affording the same Help to Human Necessities; and every Man not being sufficiently provided with such Things as were necessary for his Use and Service, it was early brought into Practice among Men to make...
Chap. 15. Of those Contracts in which the Value of Things is presupposed, and of the Duties thence arising, p. 145
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A Pact or Agreement in general, is the Consent and Concurrence of Two or more in the same Resolution. But because oftentimes simple Agreements are contra-distinguish’d to Contracts, the Difference seems chiefly to consist herein, That by Contracts are understood such Bargains as are made concerning Things...
Chap. 16. The several methods by which the Oblications arising from Contracts are dissolved
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Among the several Ways of discharging Obligations arising from Contracts, and by which likewise the Duties and Offices which proceed from thence do utterly expire, the chiefest and most natural of all, is the Fulfilling or Payment of what was agreed upon...
Chap. 17. Of Meaning or Interpretation
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As in all Commands and Directions which Men receive from their Superiors, no other Obligation is derived on them from thence, but such as is conformable to the Will and Intention of the Superior; so likewise, when any Man of his own freeWill...
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Chap. 1. Of the natural State of Men, p. 166
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In the next Place, we are to inquire concerning those Duties which are incumbent upon a Man with Regard to that particular State wherein he finds himself ordained by Providence to live in the World. What we mean by such State, is...
Chap. 2. Of the Duties of the married State,
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In the next Place, we are to inquire concerning those Duties which are incumbent upon a Man with Regard to that particular State wherein he finds himself ordained by Providence to live in the World. What we mean by such State, is......
Chap. 3. Duty of Parents and Children,
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From Matrimony proceeds Posterity,13 which is subjected to the Paternal Power, *the most Ancient and the most Sacred Kind of Authority, whereby Children are obliged to reverence their Parents, to obey their Commands, and to acknowledge their Pre-eminence. The Authority of Parents over...
Chap. 4. The Duties of Masters and Servants
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After Mankind came to be multiplied and it was found how conveniently Domestic Affairs might be managed by the Service of other Men, *it early became a Practice to take Servants into a Family, to do the Offices belonging to the House...
Chap. 5. The Impulsive Cause of Constituting Communities, p. 187
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Altho’ there be hardly any Delight or Advantage, but what may be obtain’d from those Duties, of which we have already discours’d; it remains, nevertheless, that we inquire into the Reasons, why Men, not contenting themselves with those...
Chap. 6. Of the Internal Frame and Constitution of any State or Government
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The next Enquiry we are to make, is upon what Bottom Civil Societies have been erected, and wherein their Internal Constitution does consist. Where, in the first Place, this is manifest, That neither any Place, nor any Sort of Weapons,...
Chap. 7. Of the several Parts of Government, p. 198
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What are the Constituent Parts of Supreme Power, and by what Methods it exerts its Force in Civil Societies, may easily be gather’d from the Nature and End of the said Societies....
Chap. 8. Of the several Forms of Government
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Now the Forms of Government are either Regular or Irregular. Of the first Sort are those where the supreme Power is so united in one particular Subject, that the same being firm and intire, it carries on, by one supreme Will, the whole Business of...
Chap. 9. The Qualifications of Civil Government
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It is always one Prerogative of the Government by which any Community is directed, in every Form of Commonwealth whatsoever, to be invested with the supreme Authority: *Whereby it has the Regulating of all Things according to its...
Chap. 10. How Government, especially Monarchical, is acquired
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Although the Consent of the Subjec is a Thing to be required in Constituting of every lawful Government, yet it is not50 always obtain’d the same way. For as it is sometimes seen, that a Prince ascends the Throne with the voluntary Acclamations of...
Chap. 11. The Duty of supreme Governeours
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If we consider what is the End and Nature of Communities, and what the Parts of Government, it will be easie from thence to pass a Judgment upon the Rules and Precepts, in the Observance of which, consists the Office of a Prince.52...
Chap. 12. Of the special Laws of a Community
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It now remains, That we take a view of the respective Parts of Supreme Government, together with such Circumstances thereunto belonging, as we find are worthy to be observ’d. In the first Place, there are the Civil Laws, meaning the...
Chap. 13. Of the Power of Life and Death
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The Civil Government, that is supreme in every State, has a Right over the Lives of its Subjects, either indirectly when it exposes their Lives in Defence of the Publick; or directly, in the Punishment of Crimes. For when the Force of Foreigners in an Invasion (which often happens) is to be repell’d by...
Chap. 14. Of Reputation
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Reputation in General, is that Value set upon Persons in the World, on some account or other, by which they are compar’d and equaliz’d, preferr’d or postpon’d69 to others....
Chap. 15. Of the Power of Gov ernours over the Goods of their Subjects, p. 236
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As it wholly lies at the Pleasure of supreme Governours, to appoint with what Restriction they will allow their Subjects to have Power over the Goods which themselves derive...
Chap. 16. Of War and Peace,
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Altho’ nothing is more agreeable to the Laws of Nature, than the mutual Peace of Men with one another, preserved by the voluntary Application of each Person to his Duty; living together in a State of Peace, being a peculiar Distinction of Men...
Chap. 17. Of Alliances
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Alliances73 interchangeably passed betwixt Sovereign Governours, are of good Use both in Times of War and Peace. *They may be divided, in Respect of their Subject, either into such...
Chap. 18. The Duty of Subjects
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The Duty of Subjects is either General, arising from the Common Obligation which they owe to the Government as Subjects: Or Special, upon the Account of some particular...
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The Judgment of an Anonymous Writer on the Original of this Abridgment
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There fell into my hands, a year or so ago, a Latin letter in which an anonymous writer1 gives his opinion on this abridgment, De Officio Hominis et Civis. The letter, which appeared in print in 1709, forms part of an academic program in which Justus...
Discourse on What is Permitted by the Laws
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Magnificent and most honored Lord Bailiff, most honored Lords of the Council of this City, learned and respected members of the Academy, my most honored colleagues, listeners of no matter what rank, sex and age. The subject I have...
Discourse on the Benefits Conferred by the Laws
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Magnificent and most honored Lord Bailiff, most honored Lords of the Council of this City, learned and respected members of the Academy, my most honored colleagues, listeners of no matter what rank, sex and age. If to have commenced is to have done half the work, as an antique saying puts it,1 to have done...
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Page Count: 399
Publication Year: 2012