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Pufendorf, sociality and the modern state

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Pufendorf's chief contribution to political thought is to be found in his dedicated effort to defend the modern state as a fundamental feature of humankind's moral development, and thus to reconcile the artificiality of civil association with its moral necessity. By exploring the state's moral character, Pufendorf helped move political discourse beyond a focus on the practical need for civil association and towards a search for a modern theory of political legitimacy, i.e., a theory that is both compelling enough to demonstrate the moral legitimacy of political authority regardless of one's religious beliefs or moral convictions, and precise enough to permit insight into the nature and limits of this authority.
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Keywords: Pufendorf; modern state; political thought; sociality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Sovereignty Dept. of Political Science, Portland State University. Email:[email protected]

Publication date: 01 March 1996

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