Although little known today, the Utrecht physician and town councillor Lambert van Velthuysen (1622–1685) was a prolific Dutch seventeenth-century philosopher and a vociferous advocate of the new philosophies of Descartes and Hobbes.
The Letter on the Principles of Justness and Decency of 1651 constitutes both the first published reaction to Hobbes's political philosophy and the first attempt by a Dutch philosopher at using Hobbes to supply a ‘Cartesian’ moral philosophy. It is also a highly original work that seeks to define the nature of virtue and vice and to justify the magistrate's right to punish crimes. It will thus be of interest not only to historians of philosophy but to all those interested in the social and cultural history of the Dutch Golden Age.
Malcolm de Mowbray is an author and translator specializing in the history of science and philosophy. He has worked extensively on Dutch seventeenth-century philosophy and, more recently, the Middle Ages.
Catherine Secretan, Ph. D. (1980), is Directrice de recherche at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France). She has published monographs, translations and many scholarly papers, including
Le marchand philosophe de Gaspar Barlaeus (Champion, 2002) and
The Self-Perception of Early Modern Capitalists (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, with Margaret Jacob).
Translator’s Preface i
A Letter on the Principles of Justness and Decency
Preface to the Reader
On the Principles of Justness and Decency
A Demonstration from Holy Scripture
Epistolica dissertatio de principiis justi et decori
Praefatio ad Lectorem
De principiis justi et decori
Probatio quaestionum quarundam ex Scriptura sacra
All interested in the history of philosophy, especially ethics and politics and the influence of Descartes and Hobbes, and in the cultural and religious history of the Dutch Golden Age.