chapter  1
20 Pages

Grotius and Modern Natural Rights

Beyond a Secular History

In this chapter, the author argues that Grotius indeed has a deontological theory of individual rights, but it is oriented toward a teleological and ultimately Christian conception of person and politics. Rights point to responsibilities. These two elements are anchored in Grotius' division of justice into two categories much noticed but little understood: "expletive", and "attributive". Because Grotius' explicit references to expletive and attributive are somewhat sparing, the project then shows how they are implicit in five areas of his political thought. Each chapter of this book shows how the right in question points toward a wider responsibility to exercise it wisely. Cambridge School figures such as Tuck, Knud Haakonssen, Jerome Schneewind, and Martine Julia Van Ittersum have situated Grotius' writings within the political and economic milieu of early seventeenth-century Holland, often showing considerable historical erudition.