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Grotius's humanisation of natural law

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Chapter Summary

This chapter mainly focuses on the theoretical innovations in the internal structure of the concept of natural law. In order to gain some insight into the way the new concept of natural law was construed, it is useful to compare Grotius's main oeuvre De Jure Belli ac Pacis (JBP) with a very early work, called De Jure Praedae Commentarius (JP). A comparison between the JP and the JBP might give us some insight into the question why the original theoretical framework of the JP was later thought to be insufficient. On the basis of that insight it is possible to assess the importance of natural law in the JBP. Although Grotius's step towards a humanisation of natural law solves some traditional dilemmas, it creates a new problem as well. This problem is summarised as 'the problem of overload'.

Keywords: De Jure Belli ac Pacis (JBP); De Jure Praedae Commentarius (JP); Grotius; natural law



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