On this second reading, government is limited to fulfilling the purposes of natural law, but these include positive goals as well as negative rights. The two most promising lines of argument are the following. Simmons argues that this is evidence that Locke is combining both rationales for punishment in his theory.
Locke, John, Works, 10 volumes, London, ; reprinted, Aalen: The relationship between the executive and the legislature depends on the specific constitution.
Paul Bou Habib argues that what Locke is really after is sincere inquiry and that Locke thinks inquiry undertaken only because of duress is necessarily insincere.
Like Sreenivasan, Simmons sees this as flowing from a prior right of people to secure their subsistence, but Simmons also adds a prior right to self-government.
This argument is overdetermined, according to Simmons, in that it can be interpreted either theologically or as a simple rule-consequentialist argument.
This distinction is sometimes formulated as the difference between natural law and positive law. Waldron, in his most recent work on Locke, explores the opposite claim: Unless these positions are maintained, the voluntarist argues, God becomes superfluous to morality since both the content and the binding force of morality can be explained without reference to God.
Macpherson, sees Locke as a defender of unrestricted capitalist accumulation. Resistance, Religion, and Responsibility, Cambridge: Governments are motivated by the quest for power, not truth, and are unlikely to be good guides in religious matters.
According to Grant, Locke thinks that our acts of consent can in fact extend to cases where living up to our commitments will risk our lives. There is no command in the Bible telling magistrates to bring people to the true faith and people could not consent to such a goal for government because it is not possible for people, at will, to believe what the magistrate tells them to believe.
Collected Papers —, Cambridge: Libertarians like Nozick read this as stating that governments exist only to protect people from infringements on their rights. Grant also thinks Locke recognizes a duty based on reciprocity since others risk their lives as well.
Strauss infers from this that the contradictions exist to show the attentive reader that Locke does not really believe in natural law at all. The emphasis on deterrence, public safety, and restitution in punishments administered by the government mirrors this emphasis.
Cambridge University Press, pp. Instead, he argued that there are and have been people in the state of nature. Locke insisted on this point because it helped explain the transition into civil society. From this natural state of freedom and independence, Locke stresses individual consent as the mechanism by which political societies are created and individuals join those societies.
Locke is not opposed to having distinct institutions called courts, but he does not see interpretation as a distinct function or power. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Simmons claims that while Locke did believe that God had rights as creator, human beings have a different limited right as trustees, not as makers.
Marshall, John,John Locke: On the latter interpretation, the people create a legislature which rules by majority vote. There are important debates over what exactly Locke was trying to accomplish with his theory.
Casson, Douglas,Liberating Judgment: Previous accounts had focused on the claim that since persons own their own labor, when they mix their labor with that which is unowned it becomes their property.
One solution suggested by Herzog makes Locke an intellectualist by grounding our obligation to obey God on a prior duty of gratitude that exists independent of God.
There have been some attempts to find a compromise between these positions. He also frequently points out what he takes to be clear evidence of hypocrisy, namely that those who are so quick to persecute others for small differences in worship or doctrine are relatively unconcerned with much more obvious moral sins that pose an even greater threat to their eternal state.
It is thus the quality of the government, not acts of actual consent, that determine whether a government is legitimate. First and foremost of these is the legislative power. On this account the state of nature is distinct from political society, where a legitimate government exists, and from a state of war where men fail to abide by the law of reason.
The government is supreme in some respects, but there is no sovereign. After states are formed, however, the power to punish is to be used for the benefit of his own particular society.
He argues that its coherence depends upon the assumption of differential rationality between capitalists and wage-laborers and on the division of society into distinct classes. They hold that when Locke emphasized the right to life, liberty, and property he was primarily making a point about the duties we have toward other people: Yet nowhere in any of his works does Locke make a full deduction of natural law from first premises.
Richard Vernon argues that we want not only to hold right beliefs, but also to hold them for the right reasons.1. Natural Law and Natural Rights.
Perhaps the most central concept in Locke’s political philosophy is his theory of natural law and natural rights.Download