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Title: The light of conscience : Jean Barbeyrac on moral, civil and religious authority
Author: Bisset, Sophie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 4491
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2012
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Jean Barbeyrac (1674-1744) is best known for his annotated French translations of the natural law treatises of Hugo Grotius, Samuel Pufendorf and Richard Cumberland and has generally been understood through the prism of his interpretations of these. However, not only was he in fact an independent natural law thinker, who drew eclectically from a vast array of authors, synthesising their ideas to construct his own distinct theory; he also wrote extensively on morals and politics in other genres, works that have received very little attention and never been seen in their coherence with his natural law ideas. This thesis considers Barbeyrac as a thinker in his own right, drawing together all of his major and many of his minor works and situating them within a number of the wider contexts Barbeyrac inhabited: namely, as a Huguenot refugié, a member of the Republic of Letters and a professional academician. Barbeyrac's central concern was the relationship between moral, civil and religious authority, and the core of his solution was a comprehensive concept of conscience that unified and naturalised man's moral and religious duties and served as the source of authoritative moral judgement. The first three chapters of the dissertation focus on the structure of his natural law theory, arguing that the attempt to establish conscience as a comprehensive faculty of moral judgement caused intractable philosophical tensions, reflected in his innovative but inchoate theory of permissive natural law. The final two chapters extend this analysis beyond Barbeyrac's natural law, arguing that despite his efforts to balance the potentially competing demands that arise when the authority of conscience comes into conflict with other sources of moral authority, namely ecclesiastical and civil, Barbeyrac had to insist that, ultimately, individuals must uphold the first and principal duty of natural law to follow the light of conscience.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: C Auxiliary sciences of history (General) ; KZ2260.B37 Barbeyrac, Jean, 1674-1744