This is the first detailed study in any language of the single most influential theory of the modern state: Samuel von Pufendorf's account of the state as a 'moral person'. Ben Holland reconstructs the theological and political contexts in and for which Pufendorf conceived of the state as being a person. Pufendorf took up an early Christian conception of personality and a medieval conception of freedom in order to fashion a theory of the state appropriate to continental Europe, and which could head off some of the absolutist implications of a rival theory of state personality, that of Hobbes. The book traces the fate of the concept in the hands of others - international lawyers, moral philosophers and revolutionaries - until the early twentieth century. It will be essential reading for historians of political thought and for those interested in the development of key ideas in theology, international law and international relations.
Ben Holland is a lecturer in international relations in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham. He has published articles in academic journals such as History of Political Thought, International Studies Quarterly and Philosophy and Social Criticism. He is currently an editor of Political Studies and Political Studies Review.
Introduction. Body, souls, persons, states; Part I: 1. The constitution of the free person; 2. The constitution of the person of the state; Part II: 3. Continental appropriations: the moral person of the state and the law of nations; 4. Atlantic appropriations: breaking and making composite polities; 5. Anglo-German interpretations: the moral person of the state and the legal person of the state; Conclusion.