Profit and Principle. Hugo Grotius, Natural Rights Theories and the Rise of Dutch Power in the East Indies (1595-1615)

Profit and Principle. Hugo Grotius, Natural Rights Theories and the Rise of Dutch Power in the... Book Reviews / Journal of Early Modern History 12 (2008) 85-98 89 Ittersum, Martine Julia van, Profit and Principle. Hugo Grotius, Natural Rights Th eories and the Rise of Dutch Power in the East Indies (1595-1615) ; Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History, 139 (Leiden: Brill, 2006), lxx + 538 pp., € 99.00, ISBN 978 9 004 14979 3. Th ere may still be lurking in some corner the odd scholar who believes that the importance of Hugo Grotius lies in his being the “founder” or “mes- siah” of international law; an understanding that puts Samuel Pufendorf in the role of its St Paul. Modern scholarship, however, has shown that, though both authors obviously talk at some level about relations between states, their real historical significance lies elsewhere. Pufendorf, for exam- ple, can more plausibly be interpreted as the apologist, or indeed advocate, for the absolutist state. Th is is not to deny that the school of natural law was important in its impact on moral theory and political thinking, far from it; it is still instructive to contrast the ethical rationalist arguments of Samuel Clarke or William Wollaston with the scepticism and utilitarian- ism of David Hume. Rather, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Early Modern History Brill

Profit and Principle. Hugo Grotius, Natural Rights Theories and the Rise of Dutch Power in the East Indies (1595-1615)

Journal of Early Modern History, Volume 12 (1): 89 – Jan 1, 2008

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2008 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1385-3783
eISSN
1570-0658
D.O.I.
10.1163/138537808X297180
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Book Reviews / Journal of Early Modern History 12 (2008) 85-98 89 Ittersum, Martine Julia van, Profit and Principle. Hugo Grotius, Natural Rights Th eories and the Rise of Dutch Power in the East Indies (1595-1615) ; Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History, 139 (Leiden: Brill, 2006), lxx + 538 pp., € 99.00, ISBN 978 9 004 14979 3. Th ere may still be lurking in some corner the odd scholar who believes that the importance of Hugo Grotius lies in his being the “founder” or “mes- siah” of international law; an understanding that puts Samuel Pufendorf in the role of its St Paul. Modern scholarship, however, has shown that, though both authors obviously talk at some level about relations between states, their real historical significance lies elsewhere. Pufendorf, for exam- ple, can more plausibly be interpreted as the apologist, or indeed advocate, for the absolutist state. Th is is not to deny that the school of natural law was important in its impact on moral theory and political thinking, far from it; it is still instructive to contrast the ethical rationalist arguments of Samuel Clarke or William Wollaston with the scepticism and utilitarian- ism of David Hume. Rather,

Journal

Journal of Early Modern HistoryBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2008

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