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Law, War And Method In The Commentary On The Law Of Prize By Hugo Grotius

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Chapter Summary

The question whether both enemies in a war could claim the same right, was a fundamental topic in the early modern theory of war and Hugo Grotius treated it briefly in his On Law of Prize and Booty. The jurisprudence of the seventeenth century developed two explanations: the Scholastic tradition held that only one party could fight with right reason, whereas some authors of the humanistic tradition thought that in some cases it was impossible to solve this question. Grotius took elements from both traditions, applying them to two different levels of his argument. Each level uses a different logical relationship in the Aristotelian square because the enemies follow in the former case the pattern of contrary propositions, but in the latter they obey a pattern of subcontrary propositions. By employing a moral voluntarism Grotius attains the same result that Gabriel Vázquez achieves on the basis of a moral probabilism.

Keywords: Gabriel Vázquez; Hugo Grotius; jurisprudence; Law of Prize; lawful war; moral voluntarism



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