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Montesquieu - Despre Spiritul Legilor (P1, C1)

Montesquieu - Despre Spiritul Legilor (P1, C1)

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Published by: Adelina Sandu on Jun 15, 2012
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07/09/2013

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BOOKI
On
lawsingeneral
CHAPTER
I
On
laws
intheir
relation
with
the
various
beings
Laws,takeninthebroadestmeaning,arethenecessaryrelationsderivingfromthenature
of
things;andinthissense,
all
beingshavetheirlaws:thedivinitylhasitslaws,thematerialworldhasitslaws,theintelligencessuperiortomanhavetheirlaws,thebeastshavetheirlaws,manhashislaws.Thosewhohavesaidthat
ablindfate
has
produced
all
the
effects
that
we
see
intheworld
havesaidagreatabsurdity;forwhatgreaterabsurdity
is
therethanablindfatethatcouldhaveproducedintelligentbeings?
There
is,then,aprimitive
a
reason;andlawsareboththerelationsthatexistbetween
it
andthedifferentbeings,andtherelations
of
thesevariousbeingstoeachother.Godisrelatedtotheuniverse,ascreatorandpreserver;the
laws
accordingtowhichhecreatedarethoseaccordingtowhichhepreserves;heactsaccordingtotheserulesbecauseheknowsthem;heknowsthembecausehemadethem;hemadethembecausetheyarerelatedtohiswisdom
b
andhispower.
As
weseethattheworld,formed
by
themotion
of
matteranddevoidofintelligence,stillcontinuestoexist,itsmotionsmusthaveinvariablelaws;and,
if
onecouldimagineanotherworldthanthis,itwouldhaveconsistent'rules
or
itwouldbedestroyed.
1
"The
law,"Plutarchsays
in
[Moralia]
Ad
principemineruditum
[78oc],
"is
the
queen
of
all,mortalandimmortal."[Plutarchis
quoting
Pindar,fragment169(151).]
'We
haverenderedMontesquieu's
primitive
as
"primitive,"thusretainingthedistinc-tionbetweenthattermand
premier,
"first,"which
is
usedrepeatedly
in
1.2.
bWe
havetranslated
sage
anditsvariousformswith"wise"anditsvariousforms.
The
meaning
is
generallyprudence,calm,sobriety.'Montesquieuuses
constant,
constamment,
and
constance
to
referboth
to
a
fixed
ruleand
3
 
Part
I
Thus
creation,whichappearstobeanarbitraryact,presupposesrulesasinvariableasthefateclaimed
by
atheists.
It
would
be
absurdto
say
thatthecreator,withouttheserules,couldgoverntheworld,sincetheworldwouldnotcontinuetoexistwithoutthem.
These
rulesareaconsistentlyestablishedrelation.Betweenonemovingbodyandanothermovingbody,it
is
inaccordwithrelations
of
massandvelocitythat
all
motionsarereceived,increased,diminished,orlost;everydiversity
is
unifimnity,
everychange
is
consistency.d
Particularintelligentbeingscanhavelawsthattheyhavemade,
but
theyalsohavesomethattheyhavenotmade.Beforetherewereintelligentbeings,theywerepossible;therefore,theyhadpossiblerelationsandconsequentlypossible
laws.
Before
laws
weremade,therewerepossiblerelations
of
justice.'
To
say
thatthere
is
nothingjustorunjust
but
whatpositivelawsordainorprohibit
is
to
say
thatbeforeacirclewasdrawn,allitsradiiwerenotequal.Therefore,onemustadmitthattherearerelations
of
fairness!priortothepositivelawthatestablishesthem,sothat,forexample,assumingthatthereweresocieties
of
men,itwould
be
justtoconformtotheirlaws;sothat,
if
therewereintelligentbeingsthathadreceivedsomekindnessfromanotherbeing,theyoughttobegratefulfor
it;K
sothat,
if
oneintelligentbeinghadcreatedanotherintelligentbeing,thecreatedoneoughttoremaininitsoriginaldependency;
so
thatoneintelligentbeingwhohasdoneharmtoanotherintelligentbeingdeservesthesameharminreturn,andsoforth.Buttheintelligentworldisfarfrombeingaswellgovernedasthephysicalworld.For,thoughtheintelligentworldalsohaslawsthatareinvariablebytheirnature,unlikethephysicalworld,itdoesnotfollowits
laws
consistently.
The
reasonforthis
is
thatparticularintelligentbeingsarelimited
by
theirnatureandareconsequentlysubjecttoerror;furthermore,it
is
intheirnaturetoact
by
themselves.Therefore,they
tomultipleactionsthatconformtotherule.
We
havechosentotranslatethem
by
"consistent"and"consistency,"whichhaveboth
of
theseimplications.dHeretranslating
constance
as"consistency"conveysthemeaning
of
changingaccord-ingtoarule,as"constancy"withitsstaticimplicationwouldnot.Seenote
b,
above.
'Here
Montesquieutakesadvantage
of
therange
of
meaning
of
the
French}uste,
whichincludesboththenotion
of
"correct"andthat
of"just."
It
leadshimtothearithmeticnotionofjusticeinthenextparagraph.
f
Equiti
istranslatedthroughoutas"fairness,"becauseitimpliesamuchwiderspherethantheEnglishterm"equity"withitsalmostexclusivelylegalimplications.HereMontesquieu's
equite
remindsthereader
of
the
egal,
"equal,"attheendoftheprecedingsentenceand
of
thearithmeticrelation.
gavoir
dela
reconnais,ance,
See31.33
(note',
bk.3I).
4
 
On
laws
ingeneral
donotconsistentlyfollowtheirprimitivelaws
or
evenalwaysfollowthelawsthey
give
themselves.
It
is
notknownwhetherbeastsaregoverned
by
thegeneral
laws
of
motionor
by
amovementparticulartothemselves.Bethatasit
may,
theydonothaveamoreintimaterelationwithgod
h
thantherest
of
thematerialworldhas,andfeelingisusefultothemonlyintheirrelation
to
oneanother,eitherwithotherparticularbeings,
or
withthemselves/
By
theattraction
of
pleasuretheypreservetheirparticularbeing;
by
thesameattractiontheypreservetheirspecies.
They
havenatural
laws
becausetheyareunited
by
feeling;theyhavenopositivelawsbecausetheyarenotunited
by
knowledge.Still,theydonotinvariably
follow
theirnaturallawsjplants,inwhichweobserveneitherknowledgenorfeeling,betterfollowtheirnaturallaws.Beastsdonothavethesupremeadvantagesthat
we
have;theyhavesomethat
we
donothave.
They
donothave
our
expectations;
but
theydonothave
our
fears;theysufferdeathaswedo,
but
withoutrecognizingit;mostevenpreservethemselvesbetterthan
we
doanddonotmakesuchbaduse
of
theirpassions.Man,
as
aphysicalbeing,isgoverned
by
invariablelawslikeotherbodies.
As
anintelligentbeing,heconstantlyviolatesthelawsgodhasestablishedandchangesthosehehimselfestablishes;he
must
guidehimself,andyetheisalimitedbeing;heissubjecttoignoranceanderror,asareallfiniteintelligences;heloseseventheimperfectknowledgehehas.
As
afeelingcreature,hefallssubjecttoathousandpassions.Suchabeingcouldatanymomentforgethiscreator;godhascalledhimbacktohim
by
thelaws
of
religion.
Such
abeingcouldatanymomentforgethimself;philosophershaveremindedhim
of
himself
by
the
laws
of
morality.
Made
forlivinginsociety,hecouldforgethisfellows;legislatorshavereturnedhim
to
hisduties
by
politicaland
civillaws.
hMontesquieunevercapitalizes
dieu,
"god."
i
dans[erapportqu
'elles
ontentreelles,
ou
avecd'autresitres
particuliers,
ouavec
elles-memes.
The
middleterm
was
addedafter1748.Thisadditionsuggeststhatthemeaning
is
thatrelationsamonganimalsmaybeeitherwithmembers
of
otherspeciesorwithothermembers
of
their
own
species.iWhethermen'shavingpurposesbeyondthose
of
theanimalsleadstohopesorexpectationsis,
of
course,notclearfromtheFrench.(Seenote
a
inPreface.)
5

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