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Book roundtable – God, Science and Money in 17th Century English Law of Nature

book cover


Moot Court Room,
Old College


Tue 23 January 2024

About the event

Professor Monica Garcia Salmones is Assistant Professor of the Foundations of Law at University of Maastricht

The book is an attempt to spell out the transformations in the concept of nature and natural law in England during the 17th century and to do so capturing the mixed vocation of the main natural lawyers, such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, being at once natural scientists, economists, medical doctors, theologians, natural lawyers, and philosophers. The natural sciences and economics that we have inherited from that period constituted a world structured according to natural law that has influenced and shaped our understanding of moral natural law anew. Far from disappearing, natural law has become embedded in the very foundations of all enlightened societies. The thesis advanced in the book reframes our understanding of Hobbes and Locke’s political theory as a reaction to radical scepticism, Neoplatonism, and the commercial spirit of England in the seventeenth century, but without ever really escaping the reach of these new ideas and worldviews. The book also introduces Robert Boyle’s important philosophical and economic work on nature. Its approach relates to natural lawyers’ naturalism and care for the public good, their medical studies, the ambiguous deconstruction of the sacred notion of nature during the Scientific Revolution, and the increasingly anxious twenty-first-century debate among scientists and lawyers about how to protect nature and curb greed globally.

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