Francis Hutcheson

Philosophiae Moralis Institutio Compendiaria

This Liberty Fund publication of Philosophiae
Moralis Institutio Compendiaria is a parallel
edition of the English and Latin versions of a book
designed by Hutcheson for use in the classroom. General
Editor Knud Haakonssen remarks that “Hutcheson’s
Institutio was written as a textbook for university
students and it therefore covers a curriculum which has an institutional background in his own university,
Glasgow. This was a curriculum crucially influenced by Hutcheson’s predecessor Gershom Carmichael, and at its
center was modern natural jurisprudence as systematized
by Grotius, Pufendorf, and others. … The Institutio is the first major [published] attempt by Hutcheson to deal
with natural law on his own terms. … It therefore
encapsulates the axis of natural law and Scottish
Enlightenment ideas, which so many other thinkers,
including Adam Smith, worked with in their different
ways. It is of great significance that this work issued from
the class in which Smith sat as a student.”
Editor Luigi Turco comments that “the aim of the text
was twofold: on one hand, to put forward an optimistic
view of God, human nature, and the harmony of the
universe; on the other hand, to provide students with the knowledge of natural and civil law required by the
university curriculum. Hutcheson starts from Pufendorf’s
De officio hominis et civis (itself an abridgment of his
De jure naturae et gentium)—the text that was most
widely read within Protestant universities—but modifies
its moral foundations.”
Francis Hutcheson was a crucial link between the continental European natural law tradition and the emerging Scottish Enlightenment. Hence, he is a pivotal figure in the Natural Law and Enlightenment Classics series. A contemporary of Lord Kames and George Turnbull, an acquaintance of David Hume, and the teacher of Adam Smith, Hutcheson was arguably the leading figure in making Scotland distinctive within the general European Enlightenment.
Luigi Turco is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bologna.
Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of
Sussex, England.
756 printed pages
Original publication


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