Professor Knud Haakonssen

Professor Knud Haakonssen

PhD (Edinburgh) Dr.Phil. (Copenhagen); FBA, FRSE, Fellow Royal Danish Academy, FASSA, FRhistS


Contact Details

Telephone - +44 (0)1334 462884
Fax - +44 (0)1334 462914





Teaching and Research Interests

Dividing my time between St. Andrews and the Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien, Universität Erfurt, I contribute to the MLitt courses in Intellectual History and am available for co-supervision of dissertations in early-modern moral, political and legal thought. For further details, see

Academic Projects

I co-direct ‘Natural Law 1625-1850. An International Research Network’ ( and am General Editor of The Edinburgh Edition of Thomas Reid ( and of Natural Law and Enlightenment Classics.

Main Publications


  • The Science of a Legislator. The Natural Jurisprudence of David Hume and Adam Smith. Cambridge UP, 1981. French, Japanese & Chinese translations.
  • Natural Law and Moral Philosophy: From Grotius to the Scottish Enlightenment. Cambridge UP, 1996. Chinese translation.
  • Enlightenments and Religions. 14th C. Th. Dimaras Lecture (2009), Institute for Neohellenic Research, Athens 2010.

Scholarly text editions:

  • Thomas Reid, Practical Ethics; being Lectures and Papers on Natural Religion, Self-Government, Natural Jurisprudence and the Law of Nations. Princeton UP, 1990. Rev. ed.: Thomas Reid on Practical Ethics, Edinburgh UP, 2007
  • David Hume, Political Essays. Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought, Cambridge UP, 1994. Portuguese & Serbian translations.
  • Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy, Cambridge UP, 2001. Chinese & Japanese translations.
  • (co-ed.) Thomas Reid, Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man. Edinburgh UP, 2002.
  • (co-ed.) Thomas Reid, Essays on the Active Powers of Man. Edinburgh UP, 2010.
  • (co-ed.) Thomas Reid on Society and Politics. Edinburgh UP, 2015
  • (general ed.) The Edinburgh Edition of Thomas Reid, Edinburgh UP, 10 vols., 8 published.
  • (general ed.) Natural Law and Enlightenment Classics, Liberty Press, 44 titles., 39 published.

Edited collections:

  • (ed.) Traditions of Liberalism. Essays on John Locke, Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill, CIS, Sydney, 1988.
  • (co-ed.) A Culture of Rights: The Bill of Rights in Philosophy, Politics and Law - 1791 and 1991, Cambridge UP, 1991.
  • (ed.) Enlightenment and Religion: Rational Dissent in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Ideas in Context, Cambridge UP, 1996.
  • (ed.) Grotius, Pufendorf and the Natural Law Tradition, International Library of Critical Essays in the History of Philosophy, Dartmouth Publ. Co., 1998.
  • (ed.) Adam Smith, International Library of Critical Essays in the History of Philosophy, Dartmouth Publ. Co., 1998.
  • (ed.) The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Philosophy, 2 vols, Cambridge UP, 2006.
  • (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith, Cambridge UP, 2006.
  • (co-ed.) Northern Antiquities and National Identities. Perceptions of Denmark and the North in the Eighteenth Century, Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Copenhagen, 2008 .
  • (co-ed.), Dugald Stewart: His Development in Scottish and European Context, special issue of History of European Ideas, 2011
  • (co-ed.), David Hume, International Library of Essays in the History of Political Thought, Ashgate, 2012.
  • (ed.) Modern International Thought. A symposium occasioned by David Armitage’s Foundations of Modern International Thought’, special issue of History of European Ideas, 40 (2014).


Sixty articles and chapters -  a selection:

  • ‘Protestant natural law theory: A general interpretation’ in New Essays on the History of Autonomy. A Collection Honoring J.B. Schneewind, ed. Natalie Brender and Larry Krasnoff, Cambridge University Press, 2004, 92-109.
  • ‘German natural law’, in Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Political Thought, ed. Mark Goldie and Robert Wokler, Cambridge UP, 2006, 251-90.
  • ‘Natural law’, Routledge Encyclopedia of Ethics, ed. J. Skorupski, Routledge, 2010. 76-87.
  • ‘Natural law and personhood: Samuel Pufendorf on social explanation’, Max Weber Lecture, European University Institution, 2010:
  • ‘Natural jurisprudence and the identity of the Scottish Enlightenment’, in Religion and philosophy in Enlightenment Britain, ed. R. Savage, Oxford UP, 2012. 258-277
  • ‘Natural rights or political prudence? Toleration in Francis Hutcheson’, in Natural Law and Toleration in the Early Enlightenment, eds. J. Parkin and T. Stanton, Proceedings of the British Academy, 2012. 261-289
  • ‘Naturretten, Pufendorf og Holberg – men hvilken naturret? Hvilken Pufendorf?’, in Ludvig Holbergs naturrett, eds. E. Vinje and J. Sejersted, Oslo: Gyldendal, 2012, 31-45
  • ‘Enlightenment and the ubiquity of natural law’, in Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Gesellschaft zur Erforschung des 18. Jahrhunderts, 2012, pp. 45-57



Main Publications