Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



The work of Samuel Pufendorf was certainly the outstanding influence on continental legal philosophy during the second half of the seventeenth and throughout the eighteenth centuries. From his work comes the supposedly authoritative notion that scientific natural law and, hence, true legal philosophy as such, began with Hugo Grotius. What he actually meant to say was that Hugo Grotius had secularized the natural law, that is, he had divorced it from moral theology and put it on a non-theological--and, we may surmise--on a non-ethical basis.