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Pufendorf's divine conductor

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, one can see that the problem of obligation poses a serious difficulty for Pufendorf; a difficulty which is further enhanced by Pufendorf s particular conception of nature. It examines the foundation and the status of natural law. Like Grotius, Pufendorf turns 'human nature' into the proximate source for natural law. It enables him to reconcile the fundamental freedom of God with the immutability of natural law. The emphasis on God as the legislator of natural law seriously undermines Pufendorf's own demarcation between natural law and divine positive law. The sharp distinction between nature as a senseless and purposeless whole and morality as the product of the imposition by intelligent beings seems to exclude a serious theory of natural law. Pufendorf' s distinction between physical and moral entities may indeed foreshadow Kant's distinction between a world of Sein and a world of Sollen.

Keywords: divine positive law; God; natural law; Pufendorf

10.1163/9789004247383_009
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