Rational Natural Law and German Sociology: Hobbes, Locke and Tönnies

While the roots of modern German sociology are often traced back to historicism, the importance of rational natural law in the inception of the founding work of German sociology, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft by Ferdinand Tönnies, intended as a ?creative synthesis? between rational natural law and romantic historicism, should not be overlooked. We show how in his earliest scholarly work on Thomas Hobbes and John Locke the shift in the meaning of the two concepts ?Gemeinschaft? and ?Gesellschaft? represents a departure from early liberal enlightenment to a Weltanschauung marked by romantic authors such as Fichte, Novalis and Haller, by Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Spencer and Marx, notwithstanding Tönnies' adherence to the political and social values of a liberal civil society.
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2011.624717
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