Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter v: The Impulsive Cause of Constituting Communities 18 - The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature
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chapter v: The Impulsive Cause of Constituting Communities 18 - Samuel von Pufendorf, The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature 
The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature, trans. Andrew Tooke, ed. Ian Hunter and David Saunders, with Two Discourses and a Commentary by Jean Barbeyrac, trans. David Saunders (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003).
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The Impulsive Cause of Constituting Communities18
I.This Inquiry necessary. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 1.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 primitive and small Societies, have founded such as are more ample, call’d Communities.19 For from these Grounds and Foundations is to be deduced the Reason of those Duties, which merely relate to the Civil State of Mankind.
II.Difficulty herein. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 1. §2.Here, therefore, it suffices not to say, That Man is by Nature inclin’d to Civil Society, so as he neither can nor will live without it.20 For since, indeed, it is evident, that Man is such a Kind of Creature, as has a most tender Affection for himself and his own Good; it is manifest, that when he so earnestly seeks after Civil Society, he respects some particular Advantage that will accrue to him thence. And altho’ without Society with his Fellow-Creatures, Man would be the most miserable of all Creatures; yet since the natural Desires and Necessities of Mankind might be abundantly satisfied by those primitive Kind of Societies, and by those Duties to which we are obliged, either by Humanity or Contracts; it cannot immediately be concluded from this natural Society between Man and Man, that his Nature and Temper does directly incline him to the forming of Civil Communities.
III.Twofold Inquiry. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 1. §4.Which will more evidently appear, if we consider, What Condition Mankind is placed in by the Constitution of Civil Communities: What that Condition is, which Men enter into when they make themselves Members of a Civil State:21 What Qualities they are which properly intitle them to the Name of Political Creatures, and render them good Patriots or Subjects to the State.22 And, lastly, What there is in their Frame and Constitution, which seems, as we may say, to indispose them for living in a Civil Community.23
IV.Natural State.Whosoever becomes a Subject,24 immediately loses his Natural Liberty, and submits himself to some Authority, which is vested with the Power of Life and Death; and by the Commands of which, many Things must be done, which otherwise he would have been no ways willing to do, and many Things must be let alone, to which he had a strong Inclination: Besides, most of his Actions must terminate in the Publick Good, which in many Cases seems to clash with Private Men’s Advantage. But Man by his Natural Inclinations is carried to this, To be subject to no one, to do all Things as he lists, and in every thing to consult his single Advantage.
V.The Qualities of a good Member of the Community.But we call him a (Political Animal or) True Patriot, and Good Subject,25 who readily obeys the Commands of his Governours; who endeavours with his utmost to promote the Publick Good, and next to that, regards his Private Affairs; nay, more, who esteems nothing profitable to himself, unless the same be likewise profitable to the Community; lastly, who carries himself fairly towards his Fellow-Subjects. But there are few Men to be found, whose Tempers are naturally thus well inclin’d. The greater Part being restrain’d merely for fear of Punishment; and many continue all their Lifetime ill Subjects and unsociable Creatures.
VI.How Men naturally disturb and hinder the Benefits of Society. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 3. §4.Farthermore, there is no Creature whatsoever more fierce or untameable than Man, or which is prone to more Vices that are apt to disturb the Peace and Security of the Publick. For besides his inordinate Appetite to Eating, Drinking, and Venery, to which Brute Beasts are likewise subject, Mankind is inclin’d to many Vices, to which Brutes are altogether Strangers; as is the unsatiable Desire and Thirst after those Things which are altogether superfluous and unnecessary, and above all to that worst of Evils, Ambition; also a too lasting Resentment and Memory of Injuries, and a Desire of Revenge increasing more and more by Length of Time; besides an infinite Diversity of Inclinations and Affections, and a certain Stiffness and Obstinacy in every one to indulge his own particular Humour and Fancy. Moreover, Man takes so great Delight in exercising his Cruelty over his Fellow Creatures, that the greatest Part of the Evils and Mischiefs, to which Mankind is obnoxious,26 is wholly owing to the merciless Rage and Violence of Men to each other.
VII.Reason of Change. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 1. §7.Therefore the genuine and principal Reason which induced Masters of Families to quit their own natural Liberty, and to form themselves into Communities,27 was, That they might provide for themselves a Security and Defence against the Evils and Mischiefs that are incident to Men from one another.28 For as, next under God, one Man is most capable of being helpful to another; so nothing is able to create Man more Distress, and work him more Mischief, than Man himself; and those Persons have entertain’d a right Conception of the Malice of Men, and the Remedy thereof, who have admitted this as a common Maxim and Proverb; That unless there were Courts of Judicature, one Man would devour another. But after that, by the Constituting of Communities, Men were reduced into such an Order and Method, that they might be safe and secure from mutual Wrongs and Injuries among themselves, it was by that means provided, that thereby they might the better enjoy those Advantages, which are to be reap’d and expected from one another; to wit, That they might from their Childhood be brought up and instructed in good Manners, and that they might invent and improve several Kinds of Arts and Sciences, whereby the Life of Man might be better provided and furnished with necessary Conveniences.
VIII.Farther Penalties. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 1. §8.And the Reason will be yet more cogent for the Constituting of Communities, if we consider, that other Means would not have been capable of curbing the Malice of Men. For although we are enjoyn’d by the Law of Nature not to do any Injury one to another; yet the Respect and Reverence to that Law is not of that Prevalence as to be a sufficient Security for Men to live altogether quietly and undisturbed in their Natural Liberty.
For although by Accident, there may be found some few Men of that moderate quiet Temper and Disposition, that they would do no Injury to others, tho’ they might escape unpunish’d; and there may be likewise some others, that in some measure bridle in their disorderly Affections thro’ fear of some Mischief that may ensue from thence; yet, on the contrary, there are a great Number of such, as have no Regard at all to Law or Justice, whenever they have any Prospect of Advantage, or any Hopes, by their own subtle Tricks and Contrivances, of being too hard for, and deluding the injur’d Party. And as it behoves every one, that would take care of his own Safety, to endeavour to secure himself against this Sort of Persons; so no better Care and Provision can be made, than by means of these Communities and Civil Societies. For altho’ some particular Persons may mutually agree together to assist each other; yet unless there be some Way found out, whereby their Opinions and Judgments may be united together, and their Wills may be more firmly bound to the Performance of what they have agreed upon, it will be in vain for any one to expect and rely upon any certain Succour and Assistance from them.
IX.Advantage of Penalties. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 1. §11.Lastly, Altho’ the Law of Nature does sufficiently insinuate unto Men, that they who do any Violence or Injury to other Men, shall not escape unpunished; yet neither the Fear and Dread of a Divine Being, nor the Stings of Conscience are found to be of sufficient Efficacy to restrain the Malice and Violence of all Men.29 For very many Persons, thro’ the Prejudice of Custom and Education, are, as it were, altogether deaf to the Force and Power of Reason. Whence it comes to pass, that they are only intent upon such Things as are present, taking very little Notice of those Things which are future; and that they are affected only with those Things which make a present Impression upon their Senses. But since the Divine Vengeance is wont to proceed on but slowly; from whence many ill Men have taken Occasion to refer their Evils and Misfortunes to other Causes; especially since they very often see wicked Men enjoy a Plenty and Abundance of those Things wherein the vulgar Sort esteem their Happiness and Felicity to consist. Besides, the Checks of Conscience, which preceed any wicked Action, seem not to be of that Force and Efficacy, as that Punishment which follows the Commission of the Fact, when, that which is done, cannot possibly be undone. And therefore the most present and effectual Remedy, for the quelling and suppressing the evil Desires and Inclinations of Men, is to be provided by the Constituting of Civil Societies.
[18.]Originally: On the Impulsive Cause Constituting the State (civitas).
[19.]The infelicity of Tooke’s use of “community” for “state” becomes a particular problem from here on, as Pufendorf begins to contrast “primitive” communities (societas)—family, household, clan—with the state (civitas), whose appearance marks man’s transition from the natural to the civil condition.
[20.]Here begins Pufendorf’s important criticism of Aristotle’s conception of man as the political animal (zoon politikon). In treating man as a “rational and social animal” whose virtues can only be realized in the polis, Aristotle and his scholastic followers naturalize the state. For Pufendorf, however, the state is an artificial arrangement for preventing man’s mutual predation, which means that it is civil discipline rather than natural virtue that makes the good citizen.
[21.]Section IV following.
[22.]Section V below. Note Tooke’s interpolation of the republican formula “good Patriots.” This blunts the edge of Pufendorf’s original “good citizen” (bonus civis), which he used as a polemical redescription of Aristotle’s “Political Creatures” (animal politicum).
[23.]Section VI below.
[24.]Originally “citizen” (civis).
[25.]“True Patriot” is again Tooke’s innovation, intended to add some republican warmth to Pufendorf, who writes not of patriots and community but of citizens disciplined by the state.
[26.]I.e., is liable or subject.
[27.]Pufendorf uses “state” (civitas) throughout.
[28.]This is a central expression of Pufendorf’s secularization of political philosophy. By rejecting the Aristotelian conception of the state as nature’s vehicle for realizing human virtues, and by viewing it instead as a device for providing man with security against man, Pufendorf detaches the state from all transcendent moral and religious goals.
[29.]Once again we take note of the fact that, despite wishing them to be viewed as divine commands, Pufendorf denies natural laws all effective sanctions, until the advent of the state.