Passion as the foundation of natural law in the German enlightenment: Johann Jacob Schmauss and J.H.G. von Justi
Title: Passion as the foundation of natural law in the German enlightenment: Johann Jacob Schmauss and J.H.G. von Justi
Author: NOKKALA, Ere Pertti
Citation: European Review of History/Revue européenne d’histoire, 2010, 17, 1, 113-123
ISSN: 1350-7486; 1469-8293 (online)
One of the leading political and economic German thinkers in the eighteenth century, Johann Heinrich Gottlob von Justi (1717-1771), transformed the cameral sciences into sciences of state (Staatswissenschaft) by giving them a foundation in natural law. The aim of this article is to show that the natural law of Justi was not, as has previously often been claimed, the anti-voluntarist, metaphysical and rational natural law of Christian Wolff. Quite the contrary: Justi was a follower of one of Wolff's most fervent opponents, Johann Jacob Schmauss (1690-1757), whose natural law was radically voluntaristic and anti-metaphysical. Justi's natural law must be seen as part of a larger transformation that took place in the natural law theories of the German Enlightenment. Building on the ideas of Johann Jacob Schmauss, Justi was part and parcel of the change from reason-based natural law into a theory that put the main emphasis on human instinct and passions as the source of moral action. These universal instincts were argued to be the foundation of natural rights, which as this article demonstrates, could be extended to entail human rights.
Files in this item
There are no files associated with this item.