The State of Nature and Commercial Sociability in Early Modern International Legal Thought

27 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2011

See all articles by Benedict Kingsbury

Benedict Kingsbury

New York University School of Law

Benjamin Straumann

New York University School of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2011

Abstract

Writing as the recognizable modern idea of the state was being framed, Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and Samuel Pufendorf (1632-1694) each took distinctive approaches to the problems of whether and how there could be any legal or moral norms between these states in their emerging forms. They differed in their views of obligation in the state of nature (where ex hypothesi there was no state), in the extent to which they regarded these sovereign states as analogous to individuals in the state of nature, and in the effects they attributed to commerce as a driver of sociability and of norm-structured interactions not dependent on an overarching state. This paper explores the differences between their views on these issues, differences which contributed to the development of the thought of later writers such as Emer de Vattel (1714-1767), David Hume (1711-1776), and Adam Smith (1723-1790), and eventually in more attenuated ways to the different empirical legal methodologies of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and Georg Friedrich von Martens (1756-1821).

Suggested Citation

Kingsbury, Benedict and Straumann, Benjamin, The State of Nature and Commercial Sociability in Early Modern International Legal Thought (February 1, 2011). NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1753021 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1753021

Benedict Kingsbury (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
212-998-6278 (Phone)

Benjamin Straumann

New York University School of Law ( email )

D'Agostino Hall 212
110 West Third Street
New York, NY 10012
United States
917-684-9185 (Phone)
212-995-4538 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
190
Abstract Views
1,085
rank
157,276
PlumX Metrics