Political Theory

Natural Rights and Moral Sense: Freedom and Responsibility in the Thought of Henry Home, Lord Kames, and Thomas Jefferson


With an eye to investigating questions of liberty and responsibility as they arise within the context of natural rights and the moral sense, this conference focused upon Lord Kames’s Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion and upon writings by Thomas Jefferson, for whom Kames’s writings on moral sense was very influential. We inquired particularly into the nature of the moral sense, its plausibility, the sources of natural rights, and whether natural rights and moral sense theories are compatible with each other.


Conference Readings

Home, Henry and Lord Kames. Natural Law and Enlightenment Classics: Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion. Edited by Mary Catherine Moran and Knud Haakonssen. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005.

Jefferson, Thomas. The Essential Jefferson. Edited by Jean M. Yarbrough. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2006.