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The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy

In Two Volumes

George Turnbull

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. In order to understand the Enlightenment in Scotland, Turnbull’s work must be put next to that of Francis Hutcheson.

In the first volume, The Principles of Moral Philosophy, Turnbull presents a detailed study of the faculties of the human mind and their interrelations. He contends that moral philosophy should be treated as one part, the highest part, of natural philosophy, and not as a field requiring its own distinctive methodology. Moral philosophers should rely on observation and experiment as their means of exploration into the workings of the human mind.

In the second volume, Christian Philosophy, Turnbull presents arguments for the existence of God and for God’s infinite perfection. The underlying notion here is God’s moral government of the world, a government that is particularly at work in the allotment of recompense for our good and evil deeds.

The Liberty Fund edition of The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy is the first modern edition of this work.

George Turnbull (1698–1748) belongs to the founding figures in the Scottish Enlightenment. Finding their native Calvinism repressive, they sought a rational religion closely associated with their new science of human nature, supportive of tolerance, and compatible with classical ideals.

Alexander Broadie is Professor of Logic and Rhetoric at the University of Glasgow.

Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

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The Principles of Natural and Politic Law

Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui

The year 1694 saw the death of Samuel Pufendorf, who, with Hugo Grotius, was the foremost representative of the modern tradition of natural law theory, and the birth of Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui, who helped transform the tradition and convey it to new generations.As professor of natural law in Geneva, Burlamaqui used Pufendorf’s works on natural law but taught and wrote on the subject in the vernacular, not in the traditional university Latin. By making natural jurisprudence more accessible, Burlamaqui helped make it part of civic education.Burlamaqui intended his writings to defend a middle road between the two main rival traditions in early modern natural law theory, that deriving from Leibniz and Wolff and that from Pufendorf and Barbeyrac. In fact, he seems closer to the former.The basis of this version of The Principles of Natural and Politic Law is Thomas Nugent’s 1763 English translation, which became a standard textbook at Cambridge and at many premier American colleges, including Princeton, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania. The first scholarly work on Burlamaqui was written by an American, M. Ray Forrest Harvey, who in 1937 argued that Burlamaqui was well known among America’s Founding Fathers and that his writings exerted considerable influence upon the American constitutional system.In his introduction, Nugent said of Burlamaqui: “His singular beauty consists in the alliance he so carefully points out between ethics and jurisprudence, religion and politics, after the example of Plato and Tully, and the other illustrious masters of antiquity.”Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui (1694–1748) was a Swiss jurist. His chief works are Principes du droit naturel (Principles of Natural Law) (1747) and Principes du droit politique (Principles of Political Law) (1751).Petter Korkman is a Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies and is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Philosophy at the Academy of Finland.Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

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The Rights of War and Peace

In Three Volumes

Hugo Grotius

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. However, in the seventeeth century and during the Enlightenment, it was considered a major defense of the rights of states and private persons to use their power to secure themselves and their property.Book I examines the question of whether any war is just and who may lawfully make war. The causes of war; the implications of contracts, oaths, and promises; and the moral strictures of punishments are the subjects of Book II. The third book discusses what is lawful in war, the various kinds of peace and agreements given, and the treatment and ransoming of prisoners.The Liberty Fund edition is based on the classic English text of 1738, with extensive commentary by Jean  Barbeyrac. It also includes the Prolegomena to the first edition, a document never before translated into English.Hugo Grotius is one of the most important thinkers in the early-modern period. A great humanistic polymath—lawyer and legal theorist, diplomat and political philosopher, ecumenical activist and theologian—his work was seminal for modern natural law and influenced the moral, political, legal, and theological thought of the Enlightenment, from Hobbes, Pufendorf, and Locke to Rousseau and Kant, as well as America’s Founding leaders.Richard Tuck is a Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, and Professor of Government at Harvard University.Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

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Sketches of the History of Man

In Three Volumes

Henry Home

Henry Home, Lord Kames, was by nature an advocate for reform and improvement and stood at the heart of the modernizing and liberalizing movement now known as the Scottish Enlightenment. The reaction to his Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion was a defining moment in the establishment of the predominance of moderation in the Church of Scotland.

Divided into three books, Kames’s Sketches of the History of Mandraws together the concerns of many of his earlier works. The first book considers man in the private sphere and presents Kames’s version of the “four-stage theory of history”: the progress, that is, from hunting, through “the shepherd state” to agriculture, and thence to commerce. It contains, in addition, sketches on progress in the arts, taste, manners, and appetite for luxury goods.

The second book takes as its subject man in the public sphere and explores the implications of his natural “appetite for society.” Kames develops the notion that political, legal, and financial institutions are best regulated when it is understood that they are outgrowths of aspects of human nature.

In the final book, Kames turns to an account of progress in the sciences of logic, morals, and theology. He seeks to vindicate the claim that “human understanding is in a progress towards maturity, however slow.” 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.

Henry Home, Lord Kames (1696–1782), one of the leaders of the Scottish Enlightenment, was a judge in the supreme courts of Scotland and wrote extensively on morals, religion, education, aesthetics, history, political economy, and law, including natural law. His most distinctive contribution came through his works on the nature of law, where he sought to combine a philosophical approach with an empirical history of legal evolution.

James Harris is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

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A Treatise of the Laws of Nature

Richard Cumberland

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 an effective means of demonstrating both the contents and the obligatory force of the law of nature. At a time when Hobbes’s work appeared to suggest that the application of science undermined rather than supported the idea of obligatory natural law, Cumberland’s De Legibus Naturae provided a scientific explanation of the natural necessity of altruism. Through his argument for a moral obligation to natural law, Cumberland made a critical intervention in the early debate over the role of natural jurisprudence at a moment when the natural law project was widely suspected of heterodoxy and incoherence. Liberty Fund publishes the first modern edition of A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, based on John Maxwell’s English translation of 1727. The edition includes Maxwell’s extensive notes and appendixes. It also provides, for the first time in English, manuscript additions by Cumberland and material from Barbeyrac’s 1744 French edition and John Towers’s edition of 1750.Richard Cumberland (1632–1718) was bishop of Peterborough.Jon Parkin is a Lecturer in Politics at the University of York, United Kingdom.Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England. 

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The Truth of the Christian Religion, with Jean Le Clerc's Additions

Hugo Grotius

Grotius’s The Truth of the Christian Religion was first published in Leiden in 1627 in Latin. Written in a 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.”Editor Maria Rosa Antognazza suggests that “Grotius claimed the superiority of Christian doctrine and morality and their perfect conformity with the teaching of the most enlightened reason, and at the same time he advocated tolerance for all positive religions. . . . Grotius rejected the use of any kind of violence, proclaiming that ‘the weapons appointed for the soldiers of Christ are . . . proper to the Spirit.’. . . Moreover, in an era of bloody and violent confrontations amongst the different Christian confessions, Grotius raised a forceful appeal ‘to mutual agreement.’ All Christians should remember that they ‘were baptized into the same Name,’ that of Jesus Christ, and that ‘therefore there ought to be no Sects or Divisions amongst them.’ ”Hugo Grotius is one of the most important thinkers in the early-modern period. A great humanistic polymath—lawyer and legal theorist, diplomat and political philosopher, ecumenical activist and theologian—his work was seminal for modern natural law and influenced the moral, political, legal, and theological thought of the Enlightenment, from Hobbes, Pufendorf, and Locke to Rousseau and Kant, as well as America’s Founding leaders.

Jean Le Clerc (1657–1736), a Genevan by birth, was a philosophical and theological scholar and, through his editorship of leading journals, a key figure in the republic of letters.

Maria Rosa Antognazza is a Lecturer in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King’s College London.

John Clarke (bap. 1687, d. 1734) was a schoolmaster at Hull, an educational reformer, and a translator.

Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

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