A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations

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The natural law theory of Johann Gottlieb Heineccius was one of the most influential to emerge from the early German Enlightenment. Heineccius continued and, in important respects, modified the ideas of his predecessors, Samuel Pufendorf and Christian Thomasius. He developed distinctive views on central questions such as the freedom of the human will and the natural foundation of moral obligation, which also sharply distinguished him from his contemporary Christian Wolff. The Liberty Fund edition is based on the translation by the Scottish moral philosopher George Turnbull (1698–1748). It includes Turnbull’s extensive comments on Heineccius’s text, as well as his substantial Discourse upon the Nature and Origin of Moral and Civil Laws. These elements make the work into one of the most extraordinary encounters between Protestant natural law theory and neo-republican civic humanism.

A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations, with Supplements and a Discourse by George Turnbull. Translated from the Latin by George Turnbull, edited with an Introduction by Thomas Albert and Peter Schröder (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).

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