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Book published by Liberty Fund

We feature here the latest books published by Liberty Fund as well as some of best volumes from the back catalog. Many books published by Liberty Fund are also available online. Copies can also be ordered from our online catalog.

Pufendorf, Elements of Universal Jurisprudence (1660)
Samuel von Pufendorf, Two Books of the Elements of Universal Jurisprudence (1660)

Two Books of the Elements of Universal Jurisprudence (1660) was Samuel von Pufendorf’s first work. Its appearance effectively inaugurated the modern natural-law movement in the German-speaking world. The work also established Pufendorf as a key figure and laid the foundations for his major works, which were to sweep across Europe and North America. Elements of Universal Jurisprudence established Pufendorf’s political theory, which, when fully developed, became the most significant alternative to rights-based theories. Pufendorf rejected the concept of natural rights as liberties and the suggestion that political government is justified by its protection of such rights, arguing instead for a principled limit to the state’s role in human life. The Elementorum Jurisprudentiae Universalis Libri II was Pufendorf's (1632-94) first published work, and ushered in not only his own career as a lecturer on natural law, but also the modern natural-law tradition in Germany. Though it tends to be overshadowed by his later and better known work, says Behme (philosophy, Free U. of Berlin), it contains elements of his mature philosophy and is distinctive in that its organization methodologically follows the reformed Euclidean Aristotelianism of his mentor Erhard Weigel.

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