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At the beginning of De jure naturae et gentium (1672), Samuel von Pufendorf proposed a radical dichotomy between nature and morality. He was followed down this arid path by his great admirer John Locke. This article begins by exploring their descriptions of this dichotomy, examining the ways in which human animals were supposed to haul themselves out of the push and pull of the mechanistic world in order to become free moral agents. The article then argues that bubbling up from within this principal account of morality is an alternative account according to which virtue seems to infuse nature, thereby blurring the lines between obligation and motivation, and refiguring the character of moral and political agency. In uncovering this refiguration, I highlight the importance of Aristotelianism and Stoicism for Pufendorf and Locke, suggest continuities rather than breaks between the natural lawyers of the seventeenth century and the theorists of moral sentiment of the next, and gesture towards a hitherto underappreciated discourse in early modern thought: the normativity of nature.


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Department of History, King's College London, Room 8.05 Strand Building, Strand, wc2r


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This article began life as the inaugural Balzan–Skinner Lecture that I delivered at the University of Cambridge. I am deeply indebted to Quentin Skinner, who endowed the Balzan–Skinner Prize in an act characteristic of his unfailing generosity to the historical profession, and who has offered me sustaining encouragement and comments on the paper. I am also hugely grateful to Richard Bourke, Annabel Brett, Chris Brooke, Mark Goldie, Lena Halldenius, James Harris, Clare Jackson, Susan James, Sachiko Kusukawa, Linda Randall, John Robertson, Richard Serjeantson, and the anonymous reviewers of this article for their helpful feedback. Finally, heartfelt thanks to the International Balzan Prize Foundation for their indispensable support, and to the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Cambridge for hosting me as the Balzan–Skinner Fellow for a very happy term.



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1 von Pufendorf, Samuel, Of the law of nature and nations, trans. Kennett, Basil (Oxford, 1703), pp. 13. I use the first edition of Kennett's translation to get closest to an early modern English reading of Pufendorf's text. I have compared it to the Latin, which Locke owned, in part to indicate relevant departures from the original, but also because sometimes the Latin speaks especially powerfully to my argument, as well as pointing to Locke's immersion in the Latin text. More generally, I have flagged up the (sometimes Latin) intertextuality between sources, suggesting that the two accounts of morality I delineate in this article are langues as much as paroles.

2 Locke, John, An essay concerning human understanding, ed. Nidditch, Peter H. (Oxford, 1975), p. 429.

3 E.g. Haakonssen, Knud, Natural law and moral philosophy: from Grotius to the Scottish Enlightenment (Cambridge, 1996), p. 6; Korsgaard, Christine M., The sources of normativity (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 45; Schneewind, J. B., The invention of autonomy: a history of modern moral philosophy (Cambridge, 1998), p. 4. On Pufendorf, see, e.g., Westerman, Pauline C., The disintegration of natural law theory: Aquinas to Finnis (Leiden, 1998), p. 288. On the centrality of reason and freedom in Locke, see, e.g., Harris, Ian, The mind of John Locke: a study of political theory in its intellectual setting (Cambridge, 1998), pp. 252–79; Yaffe, Gideon, Liberty worth the name: Locke on free agency (Princeton, NJ, 2000); Tuckness, Alex, Locke and the legislative point of view: toleration, contested principles, and the law (Princeton, NJ, 2002); Waldron, Jeremy, God, Locke, and equality: Christian foundations of John Locke's political thought (Cambridge, 2002). Cf. Kraye, Jill, ‘Conceptions of moral philosophy’, in Garber, Daniel and Ayers, Michael, eds., The Cambridge history of seventeenth-century philosophy (2 vols., Cambridge, 1998), ii, pp. 1279–316, at p. 1307. Some commentators, e.g., Forde, Steven, Locke, science and politics (Cambridge, 2013), p. 12, still hive Locke off from theology; for a rebuttal, see Tim Stanton's own Balzan–Skinner lecture, John Locke and the fable of liberalism’, Historical Journal, 61 (2018), pp. 597622.

4 Lloyd, Genevieve, ‘The man of reason’, Metaphilosophy, 10 (1979), pp. 1837, at p. 32 (talking here about Leibniz). Cf. eadem, The man of reason: ‘male’ & ‘female’ in western philosophy (York, 1984); James, Susan, Passion and action: the emotions in seventeenth-century philosophy (Oxford, 1997); Kahn, Victoria, Saccamano, Neil, and Coli, Daniela, eds., Politics and the passions, 1500–1850 (Princeton, NJ, 2006). See also Hirschman, Albert O., The passions and the interests (Princeton, NJ, 1977). On the tenacity of the reason/passion divide, see, e.g., Cuneo, Terence, ‘Reason and the passions’, in Harris, James A., ed., The Oxford handbook of British philosophy in the eighteenth century (Oxford, 2013), pp. 226–47.

5 See Haakonssen, Natural law, p. 6; Korkman, Petter, ‘Voluntarism and moral obligation: Barbeyrac's defence of Pufendorf revisited’, in Hochstrasser, Tim and Schröder, Peter, eds., Early modern natural law theories (Dordrecht, 2003), pp. 195225.

6 See Harrison, Peter, ‘Voluntarism and early modern science’, History of Science, 40 (2002), pp. 6389; idem, The territories of science and religion (Chicago, IL, 2015); Henry, John, ‘Voluntarist theology at the origins of modern science: a response to Peter Harrison’, History of Science, 47 (2009), pp. 79113.

7 On the long-standing endeavour to pin down Locke's position, see Singh, Raghuveer, ‘John Locke and the theory of natural law’, Political Studies, 9 (1961), pp. 105–18; Colman, John, John Locke's moral philosophy (Edinburgh, 1983); Soles, David E., ‘Intellectualism and natural law in Locke's Second treatise’, History of Political Thought, 8 (1987), pp. 6381; Ward, W. Randall, ‘Divine will, natural law and the voluntarism/intellectualism debate in Locke’, History of Political Thought, 16 (1995), pp. 208–18; Oakley, Francis, ‘Locke, natural law and God – again’, History of Political Thought, 18 (1997), pp. 624–51; Tuckness, Alex, ‘The coherence of a mind: John Locke and the law of nature’, Journal of the History of Philosophy, 37 (1999), pp. 7390; Colman, John, ‘Locke's empiricist theory of the law of nature’, in Anstey, Peter R., ed., The philosophy of John Locke: new perspectives (London, 2003), pp. 106–26. For a dazzling challenge to the voluntarist/realist taxonomy, as well as insights into nature and liberty, see Brett, Annabel S., Liberty, right and nature: individual rights in later scholastic thought (Cambridge, 1997).

8 Tully, James, An approach to political philosophy: Locke in contexts (Cambridge, 1993), p. 281. Cf. Pufendorf, On the duty of man and citizen according to natural law, ed. Tully, James, trans. Silverthorne, Michael (Cambridge, 1991), p. 36; Locke, Essays on the law of nature, ed. von Leyden, W. (Oxford, 1954), p. 199.

9 Tuck, Richard, Philosophy and government, 1572–1651 (Cambridge, 1993); cf. Haakonssen, Natural law, pp. 24–6. See also Charles Larmore, ‘Scepticism’, in Garber and Ayers, eds., Cambridge history, ii, pp. 1145–92; Israel, Jonathan, Radical enlightenment (Oxford, 2002); Popkin, Richard, The history of scepticism: from Savonarola to Bayle (Oxford, 2003). For complicating accounts, pointing instead and overlappingly to Aristotelian scholasticism (and, in Brett's case, Stoicism), see Sommerville, Johann P., ‘Selden, Grotius, and the seventeenth-century intellectual revolution in moral and political theory’, in Kahn, Victoria and Hutson, Lorna, eds., Rhetoric & law in early modern Europe (New Haven, CT, 2001), pp. 319–44; Brett, Annabel, ‘Natural right and civil community: the civil philosophy of Hugo Grotius’, Historical Journal, 45 (2002), pp. 3151; eadem, “The matter, forme, and power of a common-wealth”: Thomas Hobbes and late Renaissance commentary on Aristotle's Politics’, Hobbes Studies, 23 (2010), pp. 72102; Leijenhorst, Cees, The mechanization of Aristotelianism: the late Aristotelian setting of Thomas Hobbes’ natural philosophy (Leiden, 2001).

10 In his Introduction (pp. 1–92) to Locke's Essays, von Leyden ignores Stoicism as a source, and (p. 35) dismisses Cicero as insignificant. See also Carey, Daniel, Locke, Shaftesbury, and Hutcheson: contesting diversity in the Enlightenment and beyond (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 3468. Commentators are, however, gathering to highlight the importance of Stoicism for early modern thought, including, now, for Locke; see, e.g., Stewart, M. A., ‘The Stoic legacy in the early Scottish Enlightenment’, in Osler, Margaret J., ed., Atoms, pneuma, and tranquility: Epicurean and Stoic themes in European thought (Cambridge, 1991), pp. 2743–96; Parkin, Jon, Science, religion and politics in Restoration England: Richard Cumberland's De legibus naturae (Woodbridge, 1999); Long, A. A., ‘Stoicism in the philosophical tradition: Spinoza, Lipsius, Butler’, in Millar, Jon and Inwood, Brad, eds., Hellenistic and early-modern philosophy (Cambridge, 2003), pp. 729; Blom, H. W. and Winkel, Laurens C., eds., Grotius and the stoa (Assen, 2004); Nuovo, Victor, ‘Aspects of Stoicism in Locke's philosophy’, in Christianity, antiquity, and enlightenment (Dordrecht, 2011), pp. 181205; Brooke, Christopher, Philosophic pride: Stoicism and political thought from Lipsius to Rousseau (Princeton, NJ, 2012). On Pufendorf's Stoicism, see Seidler, M. J., ‘Introductory essay’, in idem, ed., Samuel Pufendorf's ‘On the natural state of men’ (Lewiston, 1990), pp. 169, at p. 49; Saastamoinem, Kari, ‘Pufendorf and the Stoic model of natural law’, Grotiana, 22 (2001), pp. 257–69; Palladini, Fiammetta, ‘Pufendorf and Stoicism’, Grotiana, 22 (2001), pp. 245–55; Jon Parkin, ‘Taming the Leviathan: reading Hobbes in seventeenth-century Europe’, in Hochstrasser and Schröder, eds., Early modern natural law, pp. 31–52, at p. 45. There are further overlapping intellectual contexts, some of which I touch on in the article, such as Epicureanism and Augustinianism, on the conjunction of which see Robertson, John, The case for the Enlightenment: Scotland and Naples, 1680–1760 (Cambridge, 2005); see also Leddy, Neven and Lifschitz, Avi, eds., Epicurus in the Enlightenment (Oxford, 2009). For a ground-breaking account of English attitudes to ancient philosophy, see Levitin, Dmitri, Ancient wisdom in the age of the new science: histories of philosophy in England, c. 1640–1700 (Cambridge, 2015).

11 Long, A. A. and Sedley, D. N., eds., The Hellenistic philosophers (2 vols., Cambridge, 1987), i, p. 395; Harrison, John and Laslett, Peter, The library of John Locke (Oxford, 1965), p. 124. See Striker, Gisela, Essays on Hellenistic epistemology and ethics (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 209–97.

12 See Scholfield, Malcolm and Striker, Gisela, eds., The norms of nature: studies in Hellenistic ethics (Cambridge, 1986). On Stoic epistemology and morality, see Sharples, R. W., Stoics, Epicureans and sceptics: an introduction to Hellenistic philosophy (London, 1996), pp. 20–3, 123–5.

13 See Schmitter, Amy M., ‘Passions and affections’, in Anstey, Peter, ed., The Oxford handbook of British philosophy in the seventeenth century (Oxford, 2013), pp. 442–71; Harris, James A., Hume: an intellectual biography (Cambridge, 2015), pp. 126–30; Reventlow, Henning Graf, ‘Morality, reason and history as factors in biblical interpretation’, in Cameron, Euan, ed., The new Cambridge history of the Bible from 1450–1750 (Cambridge, 2016), pp. 641–56, at p. 653. On the history of natural jurisprudence, see Forbes, Duncan, ‘Natural law and the Scottish Enlightenment’, in Campbell, R. H. and Skinner, A. S., eds., The origins and nature of the Scottish Enlightenment (Edinburgh, 1982), pp. 186204; Dunn, John, ‘From applied theology to social analysis: the break between John Locke and the Scottish Enlightenment’, in Hont, Istvan and Ignatieff, Michael, eds., Wealth & virtue: the shaping of political economy in the Scottish Enlightenment (Cambridge, 1983), pp. 119–35; Istvan Hont and Michael Ignatieff, ‘Needs and justice in the ‘Wealth of Nations’, in Hont and Ignatieff, ed., Wealth & virtue, pp. 1–44; Haakonssen, Natural law; Tuck, Richard, ‘The “modern” theory of natural law’, in Pagden, Anthony, ed., The languages of political theory in early-modern Europe (Cambridge, 1987), pp. 99120; Istvan Hont, ‘The language of sociability and commerce: Samuel Pufendorf and the theoretical foundations of the “four-stages” theory’, in Pagden, ed., Languages of political theory, pp. 253–76; Seidler, ‘Introductory essay’; Buckle, Stephen, Natural law and the theory of property: Grotius to Hume (Oxford, 1991); Darwall, Stephen, The British moralists and the internal ought: 1640–1740 (Cambridge, 1995); idem, Norm and normativity’, in Haakonssen, Knud, ed., The Cambridge history of eighteenth-century philosophy (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 9871025; Schneewind, The invention of autonomy; Hochstrasser, T. J., Natural law theories in the early Enlightenment (Cambridge, 2000); Brett, Annabel S., ‘The development of the idea of citizens’ rights’, in Skinner, Quentin and Stråth, Bo, eds., States and citizens: history, theory, prospects (Cambridge, 2003), pp. 97112; Brett, Annabel S., Changes of state: nature and the limits of the city in early modern natural law (Princeton, NJ, 2011); Hochstrasser and Schröder, eds., Early modern natural law; Hunter, Ian, Rival enlightenments: civil and metaphysical philosophy in early modern Germany (Cambridge, 2009); Hutton, Sarah, ‘From Cudworth to Hume: Cambridge Platonism and the Scottish Enlightenment’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 42 (2012), 826; Parkin, Jon and Stanton, Tim, eds., Natural law and toleration in the early Enlightenment (Oxford, 2013); Robertson, John, ‘Sacred history and political thought: Neapolitan responses to the problem of sociability after Hobbes’, Historical Journal, 56 (2013), pp. 129.

14 Florio, John, Queen Anna's new world of words, or dictionarie of the Italian and English tongues (London, 1611), p. 329; Phillips, Edward, The new world of words (London, 1696), sig. Bbbb3v.

15 Locke, Essay, p. 148.

16 Ibid., pp. 150, 199.

17 On Locke's engagement with Pufendorf, see Harrison and Laslett, The library, p. 215; Locke, British Library, MS 4290, fos. 11–14, at fo. 12v. Cf. von Leyden, ed., Essays, pp. 38–9; Hont and Ignatieff, ‘Needs and justice’, pp. 36–42; Marshall, John, John Locke: resistance, religion, and responsibility (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 201–4; Michael J. Seidler, ‘The politics of self-preservation: toleration and identity in Pufendorf and Locke’, in Hochstrasser and Schröder, eds., Early modern natural law, pp. 227–55. On Locke's republic of letters, see Marshall, John, John Locke, toleration and early Enlightenment culture (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 469535.

18 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 2; Pufendorf, De jure naturae et gentium (Lund, 1672), pp. 24 (I will refer to this edition unless otherwise specified).

19 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 13.

20 Ibid., p. 14.

21 Ibid., p. 15.

22 Ibid., p. 6.

23 Ibid., p. 7.

24 Locke, Essay, p. 165; Locke lists a third category of complex ideas – relations between ideas – but tends to subsume them under mixed modes, e.g., p. 437.

25 Ibid., p. 429.

26 Ibid., p. 453.

27 Ibid., p. 359.

28 Ibid., p. 119.

29 Burnet, Thomas, Second remarks upon an essay concerning humane understanding (London, 1697), p. 22.

30 Ibid., p. 11.

31 Hobbes, Thomas, Man and citizen, ed. Gert, Bernard (Indianapolis, IN, 1991), p. 41.

32 Ibid., pp. 42–3.

33 Locke, Essay, p. 516; cf. p. 560.

34 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 13.

35 Pufendorf, Elementorum jurisprudentiae universalis, trans. Oldfather, William Abbott (2 vols., Oxford, 1931), ii, p. 7, i (Latin), p. 6.

36 Locke, Essays, p. 199.

37 Ibid., pp. 71, 352.

38 Locke, ‘Of ethic in general’, in Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Locke c. 28, fos. 146r–152r, 151r.

39 Suárez, Francisco, A treatise on laws and God the lawgiver, in Selections from three works, trans. Williams, Gwladys L., Brown, Ammi, Waldron, John, and Davis, Henry (2 vols., Oxford, 1944), ii, p. 233.

40 Pufendorf, Duty, p. 28.

41 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 20; Locke, Essay, p. 517.

42 See, e.g., Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 113; Locke, The reasonableness of Christianity, in Nuovo, Victor, ed., John Locke: writings on religion (Oxford, 2002), pp. 85210, at p. 195. See Peter Harrison, ‘The Bible and the emerging “scientific” world-view’, in Cameron, ed., The new Cambridge history, pp. 620–40; on the ‘Enlightenment's’ scepticism about reason and reliance on revelation, see Ahnert, Thomas, The moral culture of the Scottish Enlightenment, 1690–1805 (New Haven, CT, 2015).

43 Locke, Reasonableness, pp. 92, 190; cf. Locke, Essays, p. 183; Locke, Two treatises of government, ed. Laslett, Peter (Cambridge, 1988), p. 305. See Wootton, David, ‘John Locke: Socinian or natural law theorist?’, in Crimmins, James E., ed., Religion, secularization and political thought: Thomas Hobbes to J. S. Mill (London, 1990), pp. 3967; Marshall, John, ‘Locke, Socininanism, “Socinianism”, and Unitarianism’, in Stewart, M. A., ed., English philosophy in the age of Locke (Oxford, 2000), pp. 111–82; Savonius-Wroth, S. J., ‘“Lovers of truth” in Pierre Bayle's and John Locke's thought’, in Mortimer, Sarah and Robertson, John, eds., The intellectual consequences of religious heterodoxy, 1600–1750 (Leiden, 2012), pp. 155–80; Mortimer, Sarah, Reason and religion in the English Revolution: the challenge of Socinianism (Cambridge, 2014); Jolley, Nicholas, Locke's touchy subjects: materialism and immortality (Oxford, 2015).

44 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 19.

45 Aristotle, The Nicomachean ethics, trans. Ross, David (Oxford, 1980), p. 36.

46 Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. Tuck, Richard (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 34, 146, 45, 145. Cf. Skinner, Quentin, ‘Thomas Hobbes on the proper signification of liberty’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 40 (1990), pp. 121–51.

47 Pufendorf, Law of nature, pp. 27–8; Pufendorf, De jure, p. 51.

48 Pufendorf, Elementorum, ii, p. 5.

49 Pufendorf, Law of nature, pp. 27, 2.

50 Locke, Essay, pp. 240, 264, 265. See Chappell, Vere, ‘Locke on the freedom of the will’, in idem, ed., Locke (Oxford, 1998), pp. 86105; Harris, James, Of liberty and necessity: the free will debate in eighteenth-century British philosophy (Oxford, 2005); Ott, Walter, Causation and laws of nature in early modern philosophy (Oxford, 2009).

51 Locke, Essay, pp. 266, 267, 263, 270.

52 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 20; Pufendorf, De jure, p. 36; Locke, Essay, pp. 263, 267.

53 Locke, Essay, p. 271.

54 Pufendorf, Elementorum, ii, p. 3. Cf. Locke, Essay, p. 277.

55 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 27.

56 Pufendorf, Elementorum, ii, p. 5.

57 Ibid., ii, p. 4.

58 Ibid., ii, p. 9, i, p. 8.

59 Suárez, Treatise on law, ii, p. 237, i (Latin), p. 141.

60 Ibid., ii, pp. 239–40.

61 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 60.

62 Locke, Essay, p. 478.

63 Ibid., p. 109.

64 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 2.

65 Locke, Essay, p. 266.

66 Locke, Two treatises, pp. 270, 305. See Tierney, Brian, Liberty and law: the idea of permissive natural law, 1100–1800 (Washington, DC, 2014); Kelly, Duncan, The liberty of propriety: persons, passions and judgement in modern political thought (Princeton, NJ, 2011), pp. 2058.

67 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 31; Pufendorf, De jure (Amsterdam, 1688), p. 42.

68 Pufendorf, Duty, p. 33.

69 Ibid., p. 35; Pufendorf, De officio hominis et civis (Oxford, 1927), p. 21. On Pufendorfian sociality, see James Tully, ‘Introduction’, in Pufendorf, Duty, pp. xiv–xxxvii; Hont, Istvan, ‘Introduction’, in Jealousy of trade (Cambridge, MA, 2005), pp. 3751; Palladini, Fiammetta, ‘Pufendorf disciple of Hobbes: the nature of man and the state of nature: the doctrine of socialitas’, History of European Ideas, 34 (2008), pp. 2660; Saastamoinen, Kari, ‘Pufendorf on natural equality, human dignity, and self-esteem’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 71 (2010), pp. 3962.

70 Locke, Two treatises, p. 270.

71 Locke, Essays, p. 215. Cf. Cicero, On duties, trans. Miller, Walter (Cambridge, MA, 1913), p. 280.

72 Locke, Essay, p. 356.

73 Plato, The republic, ed. Ferrari, G. R. F., trans. Griffith, Tom (Cambridge, 2000), p. 22.

74 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 116; Pufendorf, De jure (Amsterdam), p. 153.

75 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 116.

76 Hobbes, Leviathan, pp. 253–4.

77 Locke, ‘Of ethic’, fos. 149v–150r.

78 Locke, Essay, p. 67. See Tully, James, ‘Governing conduct: Locke on the reform of thought and behaviour’, in An approach to political philosophy: Locke in contexts (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 179241.

79 Locke, Essay, p. 229.

80 Pufendorf, De jure, p. 55.

81 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 29.

82 Locke, Essay, p. 229.

83 Locke, ‘Of ethic’, fo. 149v.

84 Locke, Essay, pp. 272–7.

85 Ibid., p. 351.

86 Suárez, Treatise of law, ii, p. 234, i, p. 140. See Finnis, John, Natural law and natural rights (Oxford, 1980), p. 348, passim; Pink, Thomas, ‘Reason and obligation in Suárez’, in Hill, Benjamin and Lagerlund, Henrik, eds., The philosophy of Francisco Suárez (Oxford, 2012), pp. 175208; Irwin, Terence H., ‘Obligation, rightness, and natural law: Suárez and some critics’, in Schwartz, Daniel, ed., Interpreting Suárez: critical essays (Cambridge, 2012), pp. 142–62.

87 Locke, Essay, p. 352; cf. Pufendorf, Duty, p. 36.

88 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 49; Locke, Essays, pp. 183–5.

89 Locke, ‘Of ethic’, fo. 152r.

90 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 47; Pufendorf, De jure, p. 82.

91 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 49.

92 Ibid., p. 32.

93 Ibid., p. 50; Pufendorf, De jure, p. 88.

94 Dyche, Thomas and Pardon, William, A new general English dictionary (London, 1737), sig. Zzz3v; A. Fisher, An accurate new spelling dictionary and expositor of the English language (1777), sig. S2v.

95 Cf. Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 110.

96 Locke, Essays, p. 185.

97 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 52; Pufendorf, De jure, p. 93.

98 Pufendorf, Duty, p. 27; Pufendorf, De officio, p. 13.

99 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 47.

100 Ibid., p. 49.

101 Pufendorf, Duty, p. 29; Pufendorf, De officio, p. 15.

102 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 52; Pufendorf, De officio, p. 70.

103 Locke, ‘Of ethic’, fo. 150v.

104 Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 147.

105 Ibid., p. 146.

106 Aristotle, Nicomachean ethics, p. 48.

107 Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 146.

108 Ibid., p. 97.

109 Locke, Two treatises, p. 392.

110 Ibid., p. 393.

111 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 33; Pufendorf, De jure, pp. 56–7.

112 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 33.

113 Locke, Essay, p. 239.

114 Ibid., p. 267.

115 Ibid., p. 268.

116 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 31; Pufendorf, De jure (Amsterdam), p. 42. Cf. Plato, Phaedrus 426a–b.

117 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 53; Pufendorf, De jure, p. 94.

118 Long and Sedley, eds., Hellenistic philosophers, i, p. 394.

119 Cicero, On ends, trans. H. Rackham (Cambridge, MA, 1931), pp. 233–5.

120 Pufendorf, Duty, p. 46.

121 Locke, Essays, pp. 157–9.

122 The digest of Justinian, ed. Watson, Alan (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1998), i, i.1.

123 Cicero, On ends, p. 283.

124 Augustine, City of God, trans. Bettenson, Henry (Harmondsworth, 1984), p. 868.

125 Locke, Essays, pp. 108–9; Locke, Some thoughts concerning education, ed. John W. and Yolton, Jean S. (Oxford, 1989), p. 239. See Rogers, G. A. J., ‘Locke, law, and the laws of nature’, in Brandt, Reinhardt, ed., John Locke: Symposium Wolfenbuttel 1979 (Berlin, 1981), pp. 146–62.

126 Grotius, The rights of war and peace, ed. Tuck, Richard (Indianapolis, IN, 2005), pp. 82–3.

127 Locke, Two treatises, p. 179.

128 Ibid., p. 309.

129 Ibid., p. 181.

130 Locke, Essays, p. 209.

131 Ibid., p. 207.

132 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 109. For an elaboration of attitudes to language at the time, see Dawson, Hannah, Locke, language and early-modern philosophy (Cambridge, 2007), and on Locke's anxieties about language for sociability, see eadem, Locke on language in (civil) society’, History of Political Thought, 26 (2005), pp. 397425.

133 Locke, Essay, p. 402.

134 Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Locke f. 3, pp. 381–2, at p. 381. See Stuart-Buttle, Tim, ‘“A burthen too heavy for human sufferance”: Locke on reputation’, History of Political Thought, 38 (2017), pp. 644–88; Hannah Dawson, ‘Shame in early modern thought: from sin to sociality’, History of European Ideas (2018).

135 Locke, Essay, p. 353.

136 Ibid., p. 357.

137 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 16; Pufendorf, De jure, p. 27.

138 Grotius, Rights of war and peace, pp. 84, 79–81. See Brooke, Christopher, ‘Grotius, Stoicism and ‘Oikeiosis’, Grotiana, 29 (2008), pp. 2550.

139 Cicero, On ends, p. 283.

140 Cicero, On duties, p. 163.

141 Ibid., p. 161.

142 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 108.

143 Ibid., pp. 109–10.

144 Pufendorf, Duty, p. 119; Pufendorf, De officio, p. 103.

145 Pufendorf, Duty, p. 11.

146 Pufendorf, Law of nature, p. 21; Pufendorf, De jure, p. 38.

147 Locke, Essays, pp. 132–3.

148 Ibid., pp. 157–9.

149 Ibid., p. 111, cf. p. 109.

150 Locke, Two treatises, pp. 318–19.

151 Locke, Essays, p. 123.

152 See Dunn, John, The political thought of John Locke (Cambridge, 1689); Bourke, Richard and Geuss, Raymond, eds., Political judgement: essays for John Dunn (Cambridge, 2009).

153 Locke, Two treatises, p. 380 (my italics).

154 Ibid., p. 415.

155 Dunn, John, ‘What is living and what is dead in the political theory of John Locke?’, and ‘Trust and political agency’, in Interpreting Political Responsibility (Princeton, NJ, 1990), pp. 925 and pp. 26–44.

This article began life as the inaugural Balzan–Skinner Lecture that I delivered at the University of Cambridge. I am deeply indebted to Quentin Skinner, who endowed the Balzan–Skinner Prize in an act characteristic of his unfailing generosity to the historical profession, and who has offered me sustaining encouragement and comments on the paper. I am also hugely grateful to Richard Bourke, Annabel Brett, Chris Brooke, Mark Goldie, Lena Halldenius, James Harris, Clare Jackson, Susan James, Sachiko Kusukawa, Linda Randall, John Robertson, Richard Serjeantson, and the anonymous reviewers of this article for their helpful feedback. Finally, heartfelt thanks to the International Balzan Prize Foundation for their indispensable support, and to the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Cambridge for hosting me as the Balzan–Skinner Fellow for a very happy term.




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