• Contests about Natural Law in Early Enlightenment Copenhagen

    Author(s):
    Mads Langballe Jensen (see profile)
    Date:
    2016
    Subject(s):
    Enlightenment, Political science, History, Intellectual life
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Natural law, history of political thought, Intellectual history
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/fav0-d121
    Abstract:
    This article discusses the works of the first two lecturers on natural law in Copenhagen, Henrik Weghorst and Christian Reitzer. Contrary to the existing scholarship which characterises their works as derivative of either Grotius or Pufendorf, the article argues that the character and significance of these works can only be grasped when understood in light of the local intellectual traditions on which they built. Seen against this background, it becomes clear that Weghorst and Reitzer developed significantly different theories of natural law, disagreeing on such fundamental issues as the definition of law, the moral good, and the role of sociality in natural law. Following a tradition of Christian natural law in Kiel, Weghorst developed a theory of natural law fundamentally critical of the secularising theories of Grotius and Pufendorf, while Reitzer followed Pufendorf and his disciple Christian Thomasius in Halle. The article concludes by indicating how Weghorst's and Reitzer's works established the framework for discussions of natural law in the first decades of the eighteenth century, suggesting the need for further research into the significance of natural law for the early enlightenment in Denmark-Norway.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    5 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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