Seidler, Michael J.

University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd.
Bowling Green, KY  42101-1086, USA


Research interests
History of moral and political thought, early modern natural law, Pufendorf as social philosopher, normativity in ethical and juridical claims, natural law as a moral positivism, natural law in contemporary legal philosophy

Edition of Dissertationes academicae selectiores [1675] u. verwandte Schriften, to appear in Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann (ed), Samuel Pufendorf: Gesammelte Werke (Berlin: De Gruyter).  Monograph on Pufendorf as a pragmatic naturalist.

Selected bibliography concerning Natural law

  • Edited Volumes

Samuel Pufendorf: An Introduction to the History of the Principal Kingdoms and States of Europe. Translated by Jodocus Crull (1695). Edited and with an Introduction by Michael J. Seidler. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2013. 

Samuel Pufendorf: The Present State of Germany. Translated by Edmund Bohun (1696). Edited and with an Introduction by Michael J. Seidler. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2007.

  • Translations

The Political Writings of Samuel Pufendorf. Edited and with an Introduction by Craig L. Carr. Translated by Michael J. Seidler. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Samuel Pufendorf's “On the Natural State of Men”: The 1678 Latin Edition and English Translation. Translated, annotated, and introduced by Michael Seidler. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1990.

  • Book Chapters

Economizing Natural Law: Pufendorf on Moral Quantities & Sumptuary Legislation, in T. J. Hochstrasser, Ian Hunter, & Richard Whatmore (eds), Natural Law and Politics: Essays in Honour of Knud Haakonssen, Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, forthcoming. 

Natural Law: Law, Rights and Duties, in Richard Whatmore & Brian Young (eds), A Companion to Intellectual History, West Sussex, UK: Wiley, 2015, ch. 27, pp. 377–401. (Co-authored with Knud Haakonssen).

Der Begriff des Völkerrechts bei Samuel Pufendorf (translated by Michael Raeber), in Tilmann Altwicker, Francis Cheneval, and Oliver Diggelmann (eds), Völkerrechtsphilosophie der Frühaufklärung, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016, pp. 61–78.

‘Monstrous’ Pufendorf: Sovereignty and System in the Dissertations, in Cesare Cuttica (ed), Monarchism and Absolutism in Early Modern Europe, London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011), ch. 11, pp. 159–75.

The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, in Howell A. Lloyd, Glenn Burgess, & Simon Hodson (eds), European Political Thought 1450-1700. Religion, Law and Philosophy, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008, pp. 102–72. (Co-authored with Robert von Friedeburg).

‘Wer mir gutes thut, den liebe ich’: Pufendorf, Patriotism, and the Basis of Political Loyalty, in Robert von Friedeburg (ed), ‘Patria’ und ‘Patrioten’ vor dem Patriotismus. Pflichten, Rechte, Glauben und die Rekonfigurierung europäischer Gemeinwesen im 17. Jahrhundert, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2005, pp. 335–65.

The Politics of Self-Preservation: Toleration and Identity in Pufendorf and Locke, in T. J. Hochstrasser & Peter Schröder (eds), Early Modern Natural Law Theories: Contexts and Strategies in the Early Enlightenment, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2003, pp. 227–55.

Pufendorf and the Politics of Recognition, in Ian Hunter & David Saunders (eds), Natural Law and Civil Sovereignty: Moral Right and State Authority in Early Modern Politics Thought, New York: Palgrave–Macmillan, 2002, pp. 235–51.

Qualification and Standing in Pufendorf’s Two English Revolutions, in Robert von Friedeburg (ed), Widerstandsrecht in der frühen Neuzeit, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2001, pp. 329–51. (Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung, Beiheft 26).

Natural Law and History: Pufendorf’s Philosophical Historiography, in Donald R. Kelley (ed), History and the Disciplines: From Renaissance to Enlightenment, Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 1997, pp 203–22.

‘Turkish Judgment’ and the English Revolution: Pufendorf on the Right of Resistance, in Fiammetta Palladini & Gerald Hartung (eds), Pufendorf und die Europäische Frühaufklärung, Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1995, pp. 83–104.

  • Articles

Pufendorf, Sociality, and the Modern State, History of Political Thought 17 (3), 1996: pp. 354–78. (Co-authored with Craig L. Carr).

Religion, Populism, and Patriarchy: Political Authority from Luther to Pufendorf, Ethics 103 (3), 1993: pp. 551–69.

  • Encyclopedia Entries

Pufendorf's Moral and Political Philosophy, in Edward N. Zalta (ed), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition (Winter 2015), URL =

Pufendorf, Samuel von, in Hugh LaFollette (ed), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics, 10 vols., New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013, vol. 7, pp. 4245–48.

Pufendorf, Samuel, Freiherr von (1632-1694), in Lawrence Becker & Charlotte Becker (eds), The Garland Encyclopedia of Ethics, 2nd ed., 3 vols., New York: Garland, 2002, vol.3, pp. 1423–25.

Samuel Pufendorf, in Alan Charles Kors et al. (eds), Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, 4 vols., New York : Oxford University Press, 2003, vol. 3, pp. 378–81.