Saturday, July 29, 2006

Hugo Grotius

I received an email from JB asking about Hugo Grotius and subjective right. I have not read his works yet, though I have read books talking about Grotius, as well as Puffendorf, Locke, and the Spanish neo-scholastics. Nothing too clear about what they thought of the relationship between natural law and natural right. (These books do not offer a summation of their arguments; I wonder if Copleston's history is more successflu.) Works of prominent rights theorists of the 17th century and beyond can be found at the Liberty Fund Online Library of Liberty. Reading their works is something I plan on getting around to doing some day, unless I get sidetracked by reality... or secret societies... haha

From some professor's page on Grotius:
Grotius' conception of the nature of natural law is set forth in his works De Jure Praedae (Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty) and De Jure Belli ac Pacis (On the Law of War and Peace). On the Law of War and Peace, which was published in 1625, is a seemingly expanded version of On the Law of Prize and Booty, which was written in the late months of 1604 and the early months of 1605. On the Law of Prize and Booty was not published until 1868 when it was discovered at a book sale by several professors from the University of Leyden. Although this manuscript was not found until the late 19th century, Chapter Twelve of the book was published separately in 1609 as Mare Liberum (The Freedom of the Seas). Mare Liberum talks about the rights of England, Spain, and Portugal to rule over the sea. If these countries could legitimately control the seas, this would prevent the Dutch from sailing, for example, into the East Indies. Grotius argued that the liberty of the sea was a key aspect in the communications amongst peoples and nations. No one country can monopolize control over the ocean because of its immensity and lack of stability and fixed limits.
The SEP page on Grotius.

If they actually assert that natural law is posterior to natural right, rather than the vice versa, I think that would be a obvious difference from the natural law teaching of Aquinas (who does not have a notion of subjective active right, though perhaps a notion of subjective passive right is implicit in his account of ius, as John Finnis would argue. Even then, I would think that a notion of subjective passive right cannot be fully harmonized, because subjective passive rights are posterior to what reason determines in accordance with natural law, not prior to it, and there is a danger of absolutizing them, as in the case of the supposed 'right to property.')

Some page in Spanish on natural right.

At the Thomistic Institute I met a professor from University of Navarre,
Prof. Dr. Juan Fernando Sellés. He lives in the same building as Javier Hervada, whose book on natural right I have and am using for the dissertation. An article on Professor Hervada. His "The Principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church."

University of Navarre is also the home of
Enrique Alarcón, creator of the Corpus Thomisticum website.

Makes me want to learn Spanish and go to Puerto Rico and make Sarge's nightmare come true haha. I wonder if there is a webpage for photos of Latina celebs without makeup...

1 comment:

James said...

Thanks TC for the links and the thoughts. I am reading a good deal now about Grotius and his connection to the spanish neo-scholastics like Suarez.
The American Founders were influence by Grotius, so his works sparked my curiosity.
To be continued...