The main focus of my work is the juridical mode in moral and political thought, more particularly the shared European heritage of natural law from Hugo Grotius in the early 17th century to the post-Kantians of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This is a subject of central importance for most aspects of the intellectual history of the period. However, while the subject has an ascertainable historical presence, its identity is deeply contested and demands a combination of philosophical, institutional and political history.

In addition, I have taken the initiative to a major European project on early-modern natural law as an academic subject, which I am now directing in collaboration with Frank Grunert (Halle) and Diethelm Klippel (Bayreuth). The project either encompasses or will encompass (1) an ambitious digitization programme of large amounts of materials, both printed and in manuscript, relating to the academic institutionalization of natural jurisprudence across Europe; (2) a digital database of instructors and institutions active in natural law and an associated bibliography; (3) an extensive international network of scholars who research and teach subjects within or relevant to the history of natural law; (4) regular conferences and workshops; (5) a book series, ‘Natural Law 1625-1850’, published by Brill under the general editorship of the three directors. So far institutions (universities, research libraries, centers of advanced study) from thirteen European countries are members of the project. See