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Changes of StateNature and the Limits of the City in Early Modern Natural Law$
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Annabel S. Brett

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691141930

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691141930.001.0001

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Natural law

Natural law

(p.62) Chapter Three Natural law
Changes of State

Annabel S. Brett

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores the concept of natural law, turning first to the Protestant milieu. Alterity—what would in the seventeenth century come to be theorized, and problematized, as “sociability”—is the dominant mood of the humanist and Protestant handling of natural law. It is there even in Thomas Hobbes, whose natural law coincides with moral philosophy and concerns the sphere of one's actions in respect of others. However, the Catholic scholastic tradition presents a very different framing of natural law, one that centers on individual agency and regulates the behavior of individual agents in their aspect as beings of a particular kind. While authors in this tradition grapple equally with the question of animal behavior in relation to law, they do not do so from the social perspective that characterizes Protestant humanist Aristotelians and jurists.

Keywords:   natural law, Protestant natural law, alterity, sociability, Thomas Hobbes, moral philosophy, Catholic scholastic tradition, individual agency, animal behavior, Protestant jurists

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