Self-love and sociability: the ‘rudiments of commerce’ in the state of nature

Price, Peter Xavier (2018) Self-love and sociability: the ‘rudiments of commerce’ in the state of nature. Global Intellectual History. pp. 1-35. ISSN 2380-1883

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Istvan Hont’s classic work on the theoretical links between the seventeenth-century natural jurists Hugo Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf and the eighteenth-century Scottish political economists remains a popular trope among intellectual and economic historians of various stamps. Despite this, a common criticism levelled at Hont remains his relative lack of engagement with the relationship between religion and economics in the early modern period. This paper challenges this aspect of Hont’s narrative by drawing attention to an alternative, albeit complementary, assessment of the natural jurisprudential heritage of eighteenth-century British political economy. Specifically, the article attempts to map on to Hont’s thesis the Christian Stoic interpretation of Grotius and Pufendorf which has gained greater currency in recent years. In doing so, the paper argues that Grotius and Pufendorf’s contributions to the ‘unsocial sociability’ debate do not necessarily lead directly to the Scottish school of political economists, as is commonly assumed. Instead, it contends that a reconsideration of Grotius and Pufendorf as neo-Stoic theorists, particularly via scrutiny of their respective adaptations of the traditional Stoic theory of oikeiosis, steers us towards the heart of the early English ‘clerical’ Enlightenment.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
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Depositing User: Peter Price
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2018 07:26
Last Modified: 28 Dec 2019 02:00

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