Pufendorf and Condillac on Law and Language

in Journal of the Philosophy of History
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This essay argues that Pufendorf conceived the principles of natural law against the rationalism and innatism of the 17th century, and that Condillac similarly formulated a conception of the human origin of language, both of them thus securing open and human foundations for the two primal institutions of law and language, and also making all citizens free agents in the ordering of communal living.

Pufendorf and Condillac on Law and Language

in Journal of the Philosophy of History




Lucian“On the Dance,” in Luciantr. by A. M. Harmon 8 vols. (Harvard UP 1962 Loeb Classical Library) 5.247. The anecdote of the perfect mime is pp. 267–269.


Robert DerathéJean-Jacques Rousseau et la science politique de son temps (1950; rpt. Paris: Vrin1970) with section on Pufendorf pp. 78–84 where it is also pointed out that Pufendorf had prestigious advocates such as Heinrich von Treitschke and Otto Gierke. On the supersession of civil philosophy I am indebted to the succinct “Preface” in Ian Hunter Rival Enlightenments: Civil and Metaphysical Philosophy in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge UP 2002) pp. ix–xiii. Hunter treats the subject passim but especially in “Postscript: The Kingdom of Truth and the Civil Kingdom” pp. 363–376. Also important is a book to which I am indebted Timothy Hochstrasser Natural Law Theories in the Early Enlightenment (Cambridge UP 2000) with sections on “Kant Natural Law and the History of Philosophy” pp. 197–212; “Kantianism and the History of Philosophy” pp. 213–219. Hochstrasser also devotes pages to “Pufendorf’s Theory of Language” pp. 87–94 119–120.


Donatella Di Cesare“Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835),” in Klassiker der Sprachphilosophieed. by Tilman Borsche (München: Beck 1996) p. 278.


Quoted in Hochstrasser p. 119 from Christian Thomasius Institutiones jurisprudentiae divinae 6th ed. (Halle 1717) pp. 137–139 (Ch. 4 §§ 52–56). First edition 1688.

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