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Simone Zurbuchen Pittlik

Contact | Curriculum vitae | Fonctions et distinctions | Recherche | Écoles doctorales | Publications (choix)


Simone Zurbuchen Pittlik
Professeure ordinaire


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Section de philosophie
UNIL Anthropole, bureau 4076
CH-1015 Lausanne
Tél. +41 (0) 21 692 29 26
Fax +41 (0) 21 692 30 45

Curriculum vitae

Année Activité
08/2012- Professeure ordinaire de philosophie moderne et contemporaine, Université de Lausanne
2007-2012 Professeure associée (50%) à l'Institut interdisciplinaire d'éthique et des droits de l'homme (IIEDH), Université de Fribourg ; 09/2011-08/2012 directrice de l'IIEDH
2007-2012 Coordinatrice du "Pôle de compétences en éthique" (20%) à l'Université de Fribourg
2003-2007 Professeure associée au département de philosophie, Université de Fribourg (professeur boursier FNS avec projet de recherche "Citoyenneté dans la démocratie libérale")
2000-2002 Collaboratrice scientifique au Forschungszentrum Europäische Aufklärung, Potsdam
2000 Habilitation en philosophie, Université de Zurich
1997 Séjour de recherche au Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
1992-2000 Collaboratrice scientifique du projet FNS "Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie - Reihe 18. Jahrhundert", sous la direction du prof. Helmut Holzhey, Université de Zurich
1991 Thèse, Université de Zurich
1988-1992 Assistante au séminaire de philosophie, Université de Zurich
1980-1986 Etudes en philosophie, en langue et littérature allemandes, Université de Zurich
1979 Maturité type A (grec et latin) au gymnase Rychenberg, Winterthur

Fonctions et distinctions

Année Description
2011- Académie européenne des sciences et des arts
2008 Kuratorium Isaak-Iselin-Edition
2007- Comité de l'Association suisse pour la philosophie du droit et la philosophie sociale (ASPDS) ; depuis 2009 vice-présidente de l'ASPDS
2006- Herausgeberkreis "J. C. Lavater : Ausgewählte Werke in historisch-kritischer Ausgabe"
2006-2011 Présidente de la Société suisse pour l'étude du 18e siècle (SSEDS) ; depuis 1991 comité de la SSEDS
2003-2011 Comité éditorial de la série Travaux sur la Suisse des Lumières (TSL)
2002-2004 Comité de la Deutsche Gesellschaft für die Erforschung des 18. Jahrhunderts
1995-1999 Comité de la Société internationale pour l'étude du 18e siècle
1989-1999 Comité de la Philosophische Gesellschaft Zürich


Domaines de recherche

  • Philosophie moderne (17e/18e siècles) : Droit naturel, droit des gens, droits de l’homme, tolérance, républicanisme, formes de gouvernement
  • Philosophie contemporaine : Citoyenneté, multiculturalisme, éthique de la migration, droits de l’homme, justice globale, théorie de la guerre juste

Projets de recherche actuels

  • Natural Law, Sociability, and the Principle of Equality
    Human Rights as we understand them today are linked with an imperative of non-discrimination. Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, for example, that “everyone is entitled to the rights set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or status”. Given that in the first Human Rights Declarations in the 18th Century “human rights” were synonymous of “natural rights”, there is no doubt that modern natural law – that was taught at Universities and Academies all over Europe as well as in America – had a decisive influence on how human rights were conceived in the Enlightenment period. In light of our present understanding of human rights it is somewhat surprising that natural rights were widely held to be linked with “natural” equality, but fully compatible with distinctions of social rank, sex, religion, etc. Samuel Pufendorf, for instance, who famously referred to the idea of human dignity when explaining natural equality, held that slavery and other forms of domination within the family were compatible with equality.
    The project is part of the European Network Natural Law 1625-1850. It aims at uncovering how natural equality was conceived in the tradition of natural law and why it was held to be compatible with various forms of non-political domination. In so doing, it will also take into account how relations founded on inequality within the family were shaped by the various concepts of sociability. It will also be of interest to find out at what time and in which contexts natural equality was redefined in such a way as to exclude discrimination based on sex, religion, property, and the like.

    Status: under construction
    Director: Simone Zurbuchen, University of Lausanne
  • Natural Law as an Academic Discipline: A Universal Concept in the Local Context of Switzerland
    The project is part of the European Network Natural Law 1625-1850. It is generally well known that natural law was taught at the protestant Academies of Lausanne and Geneva since the early 18th century. Indeed, Jean Barbeyrac and Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui played a major role in transmitting Samuel Pufendorf’s natural law theory to the French reading public. It is less well know, however, that natural law was also taught at the University of Basel – the only University in Switzerland until the 19th century – and at the Academies in the German speaking cantons of Berne and Zurich.
    The aim of this archival project was to document the teaching of natural law at Swiss institutions of learning from the 17th up to the 19th century. Data concerning a total of 66 persons (including their education and functions), publications, dissertations, teaching announcements, lecture notes, lecture scripts, literary estates, and secondary literature are collected in a database (FileMaker Pro). While the collection is not exhaustive, it provides a solid basis for further research. The main results are as follows: 1) Natural law was taught during a comparatively long period of time. Teaching began in Basel in 1666/67 (S. Battier), in Berne in 1680 (J. C. Seelmatter), in Lausanne in 1684 (J.-P. de Crousaz), in Geneva in 1686 (B. Mussard) and in Zurich in 1684 (J. H. Schweizer). It was rather surprising to find out that the teaching of natural law went on after the reform of some of the institutions of learning at the end of the 18th century (foundation of the Political Institutes of Berne and Zurich) and that it continued up to the end of the 19th century, in Lausanne until 1895. 2) As expected, a considerable number of lecture notes as well as lecture scripts are preserved in the archives. They are related to the teaching of L. Bourguet, J.-J. Burlamaqui, H. Carrard, Ch. Comte, J.-A. Cramer, Ch.-G. Loys de Bochat, F. Pidou, M.-A. Porta, K. L. S. Tscharner, B.-Ph. Vicat. 3) It is interesting to note that natural law was also taught at the law school of the catholic canton of Fribourg, partly following protestant authors such as J.-J. Burlamaqui (J.-F.-M. Bussard) or J. G. Heineccius, partly following catholic authors such as K. A. von Martini (T. Barras).

    Duration: February – May 2012
    Research director: Simone Zurbuchen
    Research assistant: Linda Ratschiller (University of Fribourg/Switzerland)
    Funding: University of Fribourg/Switzerland
  • Global Justice and Just War Theory
    While theories of global justice and just war theories are both concerned with problems of justice at the transnational level, they represent distinctive areas of research that are only loosely connected. While the former are concerned with human rights and the extension of principles of social justice beyond national or state borders, the latter focus on the more specific question of how and why wars as well as forms of warfare might be morally justified.
    Project (a) is related to global justice theory, more specifically to the field of environmental justice. It deals with the problem of climate change and explores how environmental policy can be defined in such a way as to meet basic criteria of justice. Its aim is to show that this specific ecological issue is an injustice in the sense that its harmful effects are unequally distributed across space and time, making it a problem of global as well as intergenerational justice. To understand and try to find solutions to climate change, topics such as sustainable development, human rights and global commons need to be explored, and contemporary theories of justice such as political liberalism, utilitarianism and the theory of capabilities sometimes need to be reformed or improved. Climate change poses new and deep challenges to political philosophy, and, like other problems of global justice such as world poverty and gender inequalities, it requires the globalisation of social theories of justice and research on the conditions of emergence and functioning of cosmopolitan institutions.

    Collaborator: Michel Bourban

    Project (b) deals with just war theory. While the renaissance and develop-ment of just war theory in the contemporary world are being taken into account, its main focus is the history of the law of nations in the 17th and 18th century and the question of how just war theory was reshaped when Europe was transformed into a system of sovereign states.

    Simone Zurbuchen, „Vattel’s ‚Law of Nations‘ and the Principle of Non-Intervention“, Grotiana 31 (2010), p. 69-84.
    Simone Zurbuchen, „Emer de Vattel’s Law of nations and just war theory“, History of European Ideas, vol. 35 (2009), p. 408-417.

Écoles doctorales

 ProDoc "La Suisse dans les Lumières européennes" : www.unil.ch/ed18

Publications (choix)


  • Humanismus. Sein kritisches Potential für Gegenwart und Zukunft, (coéd.), Basel, Schwabe / Fribourg, Academic Press, 2011.
  • Bürgerschaft und Migration. Einwanderung und Einbürgerung aus ethisch-politischer Perspektive, (éd.), Münster, Lit, 2007.
  • Patriotismus und Kosmopolitismus. Die Schweizer Aufklärung zwischen Tradition und Moderne, Zurich, Chronos, 2003.
  • Samuel Pufendorf, On the Nature and Qualification of Religion in Reference to Civil Society, (éd. avec introduction), Indianapolis, Liberty Fund, 2002.
  • Samuel Pufendorf, The Divine Feudal Law : Or Covenants with Mankind, Represented, (éd. avec introduction), Indianapolis, Liberty Fund, 2002.
  • Naturrecht und natürliche Religion. Zur Geschichte des Toleranzbegriffs von Samuel Pufendorf bis Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Würzburg, Königshausen & Neumann, 1991.


  • „Die Schweizer Aufklärung”, in Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie. Die Philosophie des 18. Jahrhunderts, éd. par H. Holzhey (à paraître).
  • „Ist Lockes politische Philosophie ‚sexistisch‘ und ‚rassistisch‘? Formen der Herrschaft im häuslichen Verband der Familie (Kap. 1, 4, 6, 15)“, in John Locke, Zwei Abhandlungen über die Regierung, éd. par B. Ludwig et M. Rehm, Berlin, Akademie Verlag, Reihe Klassiker Auslegen, vol. 43 (à paraître).
  • „Die philosophische Toleranzdebatte der Aufklärung“, in Schwierige Toleranz. Der Umgang mit Andersdenkenden und Andersgläubigen in der Christentums-geschichte, éd. par Mariano Delgado, Volker Leppin und David Neuhold, Stuttgart, Kohlhammer, p. 103-118.
  • „Migration und Menschenwürdeverletzungen – ethische Überlegungen zur Migration“, in Menschenrechte und Migration. 8. Internationales Menschenrechtsforum, vol. VIII, éd. par P. G. Kirchschläger et Th. Kirchschläger, Bern, Stämpfli, 2012, p. 233-235.
  • „Freiheit der Alten – Freiheit der Modernen. Der schweizerische Republikanismus des 18. Jahrhunderts“, in Wege zur direkten Demokratie in den schweizerischen Kantonen, éd. par R. Roca et A. Auer, Zurich, Schulthess, 2011, p. 123-136.
  • „Lässt sich die universale Geltung der Menschenrechte im Rekurs auf die Idee eines übergreifenden Konsenses verteidigen?“ in Humanismus. Sein kritisches Potential für Gegenwart und Zukunft, éd. par A. Holderegger, S. Weichlein et S. Zurbuchen, Basel, Schwabe / Fribourg, Academic Press 2011, p. 251-272.
  • „Are Human Rights Universal?“ Journal international de bioéthique 4 (2010), p. 41-49.
  • „Vattel’s ‚Law of Nations‘ and the Principle of Non-Intervention“, Grotiana 31 (2010), p. 69-84.
  • „Aufklärung im Dienst der Republik. Johann Jakob Bodmers radikal-politischer Patriotismus“, in Johann Jakob Bodmer und Johann Jakob Breitinger im Netzwerk der europäischen Aufklärung, éd. par A. Lütteken et B. Mahlmann- Bauer, Göttingen, Wallstein, 2009, p. 386-409 (Das achtzehne Jahrhundert, Supplementa, Bd. 16).
  • „Republik oder Monarchie? Montesquieus Theorie der gewaltenteiligen Verfassung Englands“, in Die Natur des Staates. Montesquieu zwischen Macht und Recht, éd. par O. Hidalgo et K. Herb (Reihe: Staatsverständnisse), Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2009, p. 79-97.
  • „Universal human rights and the claim to recognition of cultural difference“, in Universality: From Theory to Practice. An intercultural and interdisciplinary debate about facts, possibilities, lies and myths, éd. par B. Sitter-Liver, Fribourg, Acacemic Press, 2009, p. 259-289.
  • „Samuel Pufendorfs Lehre von den Staatsformen und ihre Bedeutung für die Theorie der modernen Republik“, in Naturrecht und Staatstheorie bei Samuel Pufendorf , éd. par D. Hüning (Reihe: Staatsverständnisse), Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2009, p. 138-160.
  • „Emer de Vattel’s Law of nations and just war theory“, History of European Ideas, vol. 35 (2009), p. 408-417.
  • „Ist die Anerkennung kultureller Differenz ein Gebot der Gerechtigkeit?“, in Soziale Gerechtigkeiten? éd. par M. Budowski et M. Nollert, Zürich, Seismo, 2008, p. 252-269.
  • „§10. Die Kritik des Absolutismus und die Begründung einer europäischen Friedensordnung“, §11. Das Naturrecht in der französischen Schweiz“, in Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie. Die Philosophie des 18. Jahrhunderts, vol. 2, Frankreich, éd. par J. Rohbeck et H. Holzhey, Basel, Schwabe, 2008, p. 168- 212.
  • „Gibt es ein Recht auf Bürgerschaft? Migration und die Grenzen demokratischer Selbstbestimmung am Beispiel der Schweiz“, in Bürgerschaft und Migration. Einwanderung und Einbürgerung aus ethisch-politischer Perspektive, éd. par S. Zurbuchen, Münster, LIT, 2007, p. 113-145.
  • „Zur Entwicklung von der Toleranz zur Religionsfreiheit im historischen Kontext Brandenburg-Preussens am Beispiel von Pufendorf und Mendelssohn“, in Berliner Aufklärung. Kulturwissenschaftliche Studien, vol. 3, éd. par U. Goldenbaum et A. Kosenina, Berlin, Wehrhahn, 2007, p. 7-32.
  • „Theorizing Enlightened Absolutism: The Swiss Republican Origins of Prussian Monarchism“, in Monarchisms in the Age of Enlightenment. Liberty, Patriotism, and the Public Good, éd. par H. Blom et al., Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2007, p. 240-266.
  • „Religion and Society“, in The Cambridge History of Eighteenth Century Philosophy, éd. par K. Haakonssen, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2006, vol. 2, p. 779-813.
  • „Kosmopolitismus und Nationalismus im Zeitalter der Globalisierung. Zum Verhältnis zwischen Theorie und Praxis im Völkerrecht“, in Theorie und Praxis – Brüche und Brücken, éd. par Ch. Giordano und J.-L. Patry, Münster, LIT, 2006, p. 79-101.
  • „Globale Gerechtigkeit und das Problem der kulturellen Differenz: eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit dem liberalen Nationalismus“, in Studia Philosophica vol. 64 (2005), p. 121-141.
  • „Republicanism and Toleration“, in Republicanism. A Shared European Heritage, éd. par M. van Gelderen et Q. Skinner, vol. 2, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002, p. 47-71.
  • (avec H. Holzhey), „Christian Thomasius und der Beginn der deutschen Aufklärung“, in Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie, Reihe 17. Jahrhundert, vol. 4, éd. par H. Holzhey et W. Schmidt-Biggemann, Basel, Schwabe, 2001, p. 1161-1202, 1216-1219.
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