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Law of Nature as Justification for Reforms
Law of Nature as Justification for Reforms

Polish Political Thought in the Eighteenth Century

Author(s): Paweł Fiktus, Marta Baranowska
Subject(s): History of ideas, 18th Century
Published by: Jihočeská univerzita v Českých Budějovicích
Keywords: The law of nature; Józef Wybicki; Hugo Kołłątaj; Stanisław Staszic; political thought in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Summary/Abstract: The subject of the article is the law of nature in the Polish political thought of the secondhalf of the 18th century. This article discusses the views of Józef Wybicki, Hugo Kołłątaj,and Stanisław Staszic (leading Polish politicians of this period), who opposed feudalismby promoting a compromise between the nobility and bourgeoisie. Their views influencedthe formation of the Constitution of 3 May, whose norms were not to violate natural lawat any point. Analysis of their views will enable us to track the process of conceptualizationand then positivization of the law of nature. In modern historiography, there are manyworks on the subject of political reform programs presented by Polish writers of that time.However, it is worth paying attention to the theoretical and philosophical background ofthese considerations, especially the idea of the law of nature, state of nature, social contractand the relationship between the law of nature and positive law. This article discusses thefollowing questions: did thinking in terms of the law of nature have a decisive influenceon the formation of political solutions, and did Polish thinkers creatively develop the ideasof Western philosophers?

  • Issue Year: 20/2019
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 40-55
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: English