- Notes on Contributors
- Essences and Kinds
- From Causes to Laws
- Space and Time
- The Mechanical Philosophy
- Machines, Souls, and Vital Principles
- The Soul
- Qualities and Sensory Perception
- The Passions
- Language and Semiotics
- Form, Reason, and Method
- Instruments of Knowledge
- Picturability and Mathematical Ideals of Knowledge
- Virtue and Vice
- Egoism and Morality
- Realism and Relativism in Ethics
- The Free Will Problem
- The Equality of Men and Women
- Natural Law as Political Philosophy
- Sovereignty and Obedience
- Conceptions of God
- The Epistemology of Religious Belief
- Religious Toleration
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines the conception of natural law as political philosophy in early modern Europe. It offers an outline of several different contextual uses of the language of natural law, as it was deployed in formulating the intellectual architecture for rival constructions of political and religious authority. It highlights the contribution of Thomas Aquinas in providing not only an authoritative model for the natural law for writers of the sixteenth-century and the ‘second scholasticism’ but also for setting the scene for their anti-scholastic opponents of the following century.
Ian Hunter is an Australian Professorial Fellow in the Centre for the History of European Discourses, University of Queensland. His recent publications include Rival Enlightenments: Civil and Metaphysical Philosophy in Early Modern Germany (Cambridge, 2001); The Secularisation of the Confessional State: The Political Thought of Christian Thomasius (Cambridge, 2007). He has edited Heresy in Transition: Transforming Ideas of Heresy in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (London, 2005) (with John Christian Laursen and Cary J. Nederman); The Philosopher in Early Modern Europe: The Nature of a Contested Identity (Cambridge, 2006) (with Conal Condren and Stephen Gaukroger).
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