Grotius on Natural Law and Supererogation

Journal of the History of Philosophy 57 (3):443-469 (2019)

Abstract

hugo grotius was lavishly praised by his successors in the protestant natural law tradition for having been the first to make “any great Progress in the Knowledge of the true fundamental Principles of the Law of Nature, and the right Method of explaining that Science.”1 Wildly influential in his own time, historians of philosophy have found it difficult to determine what, if anything, is innovative in Grotius’s moral theory.2 Scholarly assessments of Grotius’s place in the history of ethics have been hampered by pervasive disagreement about what his views on natural law actually are.This article provides new ammunition to those who hold that Grotius was an innovative and systematic moral thinker in his...

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