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The Philosophy of Francisco Suárez$
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Benjamin Hill and Henrik Lagerlund

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583645

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583645.001.0001

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Reason and Obligation in Suárez

Reason and Obligation in Suárez

Chapter:
(p.175) 10 Reason and Obligation in Suárez
Source:
The Philosophy of Francisco Suárez
Author(s):

Thomas Pink

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583645.003.0011

In this essay it is argued that Suárez fundamentally altered the traditional conception of obligation and laid the groundwork for the modern one. According to Suárez the obligatoriness of the moral law does not lie in the power of the law-giver as judge and punisher but rather lies in the rationality of the directives of the moral law itself. It is argued that this is best understood as a distinctive kind of justificatory force within practical reason that is inherent to an action, ‘the force of Demand.’ It is this special force that grounds praise and blame. The reception of this model of obligatoriness is traced among seventeenth-century natural law theorists—Grotius, Pufendorf and Locke—and it is argued that although Grotius and Pufendorf accepted Suárez’s account Locke reverted to the traditional conception.

Keywords:   Francisco Suárez, Hugo Grotius, Samuel Pufendorf, John Locke, moral obligation, natural law, practical reason

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