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Pufendorf, Samuel von

  1. Michael J. Seidler

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee556

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

Seidler, M. J. 2013. Pufendorf, Samuel von. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


Samuel (Freiherr) von Pufendorf (1632–94) was ennobled (by Charles XI of Sweden) at the end of his life mainly for his historical works, yet he was as well or better known by then for his moral and political thought. He was the main German representative of so-called modern natural law (Tuck 1987; see Natural Law), whose articulate, systematic elaboration of the genre also made it serviceable more broadly in many other national contexts. His works appeared in hundreds of editions and translations in the major European languages, both before and after his death, spawning multiple commentaries, refutations, and imitations; and his ideas shaped intellectual discourse, academic pedagogy, and even politics for over a century.


  • duty and obligation;
  • natural law;
  • normative ethics;
  • seventeenth century