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PHIL 1610 (12)

John Locke

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PHIL 1610
Iva Apostolova

1632-1704 John Locke was an empiricist, like Hume; considered the father of liberalism. Locke’s treatise is an attack on Hobbes doctrine of the divine and absolute Monarch. In the first Treatise of Government, Locke argues against the contention that men are not “naturally free” and that the most legitimate government is “absolute monarchy”. Locke denies that the Bible or reason supports this argument. So, he wants to establish a theory which would reconcile the library of the citizen with political order. Locke argues that the doctrine of the absolute monarchy leaves the subject of the monarch in the state of nature against one another. That’s why a new theory based upon the idea of the independence of the individual person is needed. Thus, he develops in the Second Treatise of Government. What is the state of nature? Natural rights theory: those rights which we are supposed to have as human beings before any government comes into being, are natural rights. Ex. Right for survival and preservation of ourselves and our families. The right to punish aggressors. Because of these basic rights, self-love, mutual love and respect should be the guidelines for the people in the state of nature. These guidelines are referred to as ‘law of reason’ or 'moral law’. In the state of nature there is no government; but men are subject to the moral law, which is the law of God. Locke: God created men, men are God’s property. So, murder and suicide violate the divine purposes. Men are born free and equal in rights. Freedom in the state of nature: library to do as one pleases => liberty without licence. Also, men owns the products of his labor. So, everyman is the judge, interpreter and executioner of the law of nature. This way impartiality and justice suffer. The theory of social contract and the state of civil government: the state of nature is opposed to the state of civil government. Locke sees that, when men have multiplied and land has become scarce, the moral law continues to be vlid, bit it is not always kept. So, other rules are necessary. The origin of the state of civil government: for the better administration of the law, men agree to delegate the function of punishing the transgressor to certain officers. Thus, government is instituted by a "social contract”. Its powers are
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