Two Books of the Elements of Universal Jurisprudence
This was Pufendorf’s first work, published in 1660. Its appearance effectively inaugurated the modern natural-law movement in the German-speaking world. The work also established Pufendorf as a key figure and laid the foundations for his major works, which were to sweep across Europe and North America. Pufendorf rejected the concept of natural rights as liberties and the suggestion that political government is justified by its protection of such rights, arguing instead for a principled limit to the state’s role in human life.
Two Books of the Elements of Universal Jurisprudence, translated by William Abbott Oldfather, 1931. Revised by Thomas Behme. Edited and with an Introduction by Thomas Behme (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2009).
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Table of Contents
- A NOTE ON THE TEXT
- WORKS OF SAMUEL PUFENDORF
- OTHER WORKS
- THE PRESENT WORK
- INDEX OF DEFINITIONS, AXIOMS, AND OBSERVATIONS1
- THE ELEMENTS OF UNIVERSAL JURISPRUDENCE BY SAMUEL PUFENDORF BOOK I
- DEFINITION I: By human actions are meant the voluntary actions of a man in communal life regarded under the imputation of their effects.
- DEFINITION II: By the object of moral actions is meant all that with which they deal.
- DEFINITION III: Status is a suppositive moral entity in which positive moral objects, and, above all, persons, are said to be.
- DEFINITION IV: A moral person is a person considered under that status which he has in communal life.
- DEFINITION V: A moral thing is a thing regarded in respect of its pertinence to persons.
- DEFINITION VI: A title is a moral attribute by which distinctions are marked among persons in communal life according to their esteem and status.
- DEFINITION VII: Authority is an active moral power by which some person legitimately and with a moral effect is able to perform a voluntary action.
- DEFINITION VIII: Right is an active moral power, belonging to a person, to receive something from another as a matter of necessity.
- DEFINITION IX: Esteem is the value of persons in communal life in accordance with which they are fit to be placed upon an equality with other persons, or to be compared with them, and to be rated either above or below them.
- DEFINITION X: Worth is the moral quantity or value of merchandise or things, and of actions that are good for man in communal life, in accordance with which they are fit to be compared one with another.
- DEFINITION XI: Principles of human action are those things from which it springs and upon which it depends, and by which a human action is brought to completion.
- DEFINITION XII: Obligation is an operative moral quality by which some one is bound to furnish, allow, or endure something.
- DEFINITION XIII: A law is a decree by which a superior binds one subject to him to direct his actions according to the command of the superior.
- DEFINITION XIV: Authority is an active moral power by which some person legitimately and with a direct moral effect can perform an action.1
- DEFINITION XV: The affections of a voluntary action are the modes through which it is denominated or defined in a certain manner.
- DEFINITION XVI: A good action is one which agrees with law; a bad action is one which disagrees with the same.
- DEFINITION XVII: A just action is one which of free moral choice is rightly directed to that person to whom it is owed.
- DEFINITION XVIII: The quantity of moral actions is the estimative measure by which they are said to be of a certain degree.
- Appendix to Definition XVIII in Which the Moral Sphere Is Explained
- DEFINITION XIX: By the effect of a moral action is meant that which is produced by it.
- DEFINITION XX: Merit is an estimative moral quality resulting to a man from an action which he is not bound to perform, in accordance with which there is owed him an equivalent good on the part of the one in whose favour that action was undertaken.
- DEFINITION XXI: Demerit is an estimative moral quality resulting to a man from a bad action through which he is under obligation to make amends for the injury done to a second person thereby.
- THE ELEMENTS OF UNIVERSAL JURISPRUDENCE BY SAMUEL PUFENDORF BOOK II
- AXIOM I: Any action whatsoever that may be directed according to a moral norm, which is within a man’s power to do or not to do, may be imputed to him. And, on the contrary: That which neither in itself nor in its cause was within a man’s power may not be imputed to him (that is, as a matter of desert, yet it is well if that be done as an act of grace on the part of the one who makes the imputation, in case some good has come to pass).
- AXIOM II: Any person whatsoever can effectively, or with the obligation to perform them, enjoin on someone subject to himself those things to which his authority over the other extends itself.
- OBSERVATION I: A man can judge properly of things apprehended by the power of his intellect.
- OBSERVATION II: From an internal principle a man can move himself to undertake or to leave undone a certain action.
- OBSERVATION III: A man is destined by nature to lead a social life with men.
- OBSERVATION IV: Right reason dictates that a man should care for himself in such a way that human society be not thrown into disorder.
- OBSERVATION V: The law of nature alone is not directly sufficient to preserve the social life of man, but it is necessary that sovereignties be established in particular societies.
- BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS CITED IN THE INTRODUCTION AND NOTES
- Works of Samuel Pufendorf
- Other Works