A Treatise of the Laws of Nature

Title page

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.

A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, translated, with Introduction and Appendix, by John Maxwell (1727), edited and with a Foreword by Jon Parkin (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005).

Buy this Book


The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.

Format Description Size
HTML This version has been converted from the original text. Every effort has been taken to translate the unique features of the printed book into the HTML medium. 3.55 MB
LF Printer PDF This text-based PDF was prepared by the typesetters of the LF book. 3.49 MB

Table of Contents