One of the great debates of scholarship surrounding Locke is his “natural law” or law of nature theory. There are those that argue he stands squarely within the Ciceronian-Augustinian-Thomistic tradition wherein the natural law is not only moral, but it will, at end, produce happiness for us. There are others who claim otherwise – that … Continue reading Locke’s Law of Nature: Moral, Immoral, or Amoral?
John Locke is one of the most important modern philosophers. He contributed, most famously – though often misunderstood by people who name-drop him – to political philosophy; but Locke also made important contributions to philosophy more broadly (including epistemology, theology, and labor theory in economics). I have a comprehensive summary of Locke’s Second Treatise which … Continue reading Locke: From Self-Preservation to Property
In the final installment of reading Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, we turn to the paradoxes of Locke’s theory of revolution. Most people are woefully ignorant as to what Locke is actually saying since they’ve never read Locke – they’ve only ever been told lies about Locke’s view of revolution. Locke’s revolution is not about … Continue reading Reading Locke’s Two Treatises: Chapters 14-19
In continuing our reading of Locke’s Two Treatises, beginning with Chapter 9, we turn to Locke’s understanding of what the end of political governance, the commonwealth, and legislature, is ultimately for. That is to say, what does political society aim at? Essentially his answer was already given in the preceding chapters – peaceable and solitary … Continue reading Reading Locke’s Two Treatises: Chapters 9-13
As we continue reading Locke’s Two Treatises, we turn away from the state of nature and Locke’s anthropology of humans as material-acquiring animals and begin the road to civil society (or political society). This is captured in chapters 6-8 in which he lays out an argument for government on the basis of the natural extension … Continue reading Reading Locke’s Two Treatises: Chapters 6-8
Chapter 5 of the Second Treatise is arguably the most influential writing ever penned by John Locke. Chapter 5 deals with his anthropology, along with his defense of property and labor – and how “divine workmanship” led to property and how property and labor is leading us out of the state of nature and toward … Continue reading Reading Locke’s Two Treatises: Ch. 5
John Locke is commonly thought of as the “father of limited government” and the progenitor of the rights-based tradition of political philosophy called “liberalism.” He is often contrasted with the absolutism of Hobbes: Locke’s government is minimal where Hobbes’s government is all-powerful, Locke’s State of Nature is good and benign where Hobbes’s state of nature … Continue reading Reading Locke’s Two Treatises: Chapters 1-4