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Four Seminal Thinkers in International TheoryMachiavelli, Grotius, Kant, and Mazzini$
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Martin Wight

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273676

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199273677.001.0001

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10 April 1583–28 August 1645

(p.29) Chapter 2 Grotius
Four Seminal Thinkers in International Theory

Martin Wight

Oxford University Press

Grotius is acknowledged as the father of International Law. His thought is marked by richness and complexity. He was a reconciler and synthesizer, favoured ‘the middle way’ and advocated the reunion of Christendom. He believed not that war could be abolished but that its effects could be mitigated—his aim was to reduce suffering. He held that the existence of society reflected natural law, which is also to be found in the doctrine of prescription. Beyond natural law is the hierarchy of the moral life dependent ultimately upon individual moral responsibility.

Keywords:   individual responsibility, international law, middle way, moral life, natural law, prescription, society, suffering, war

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