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January 18th- poli 231.docx

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School
McGill University
Department
Political Science
Course
POLI 231
Professor
Arash Abizadeh
Semester
Winter

Description
January 18th Locke 4 main questions: 1) How do people in the state of nature come to own things? - Locke answers this with his theory of property 2) What makes a government legitimate? - Answers with the social contract theory 3) How should the state be organized? - Constitutional government 4) What is the proper relationship between ruler and government? - One of trust, based on consent Before society, there was the state of nature Locke believes there is no natural form of political rule- in the state of nature there are no formal politics, so all political society must be artificial The state of nature is marked by 2 factors: 1) Humans are free to act as we see fit to preserve ourselves 2) we are equal (no natural authority) Locke says that political rule requires consent to be legitimate If we are naturally free in the state of nature, why would we ever want to leave it to enter into political society? - In the state of nature, there is freedom, but the enjoyment of it and our property is insecure (Note: property encompasses life, liberty, and estate) 3 additional features of the state of nature: 1) No common law which is manmade 2) No impartial judge to judicate disputes 3) No common executive The state of nature does, however, have a human community, with a natural law which governs everyone. Everyone knows intuitively what these natural laws are- they exist independently of anyone agreeing to them. Everyone is an executor in this state- a sort of vigilante society where everyone has the right to execute the laws of nature People are not so desperate to leave the state of nature as Hobbes thinks, because people have the capacity for moral reasoning and won’t accept just any political society which will secure their property- Locke says we will accept limited government to standardize law We want to standardize law because in the state of nature, law exists, but in the abscence of an impartial and independent judiciary, it becomes muddled. The way people interpret laws is biased in their own favour, which means that the “natural laws” are open to numerous interpretations. This does not protect our property (remember: life, liberty, estate) sufficiently, so we need political society to do this. The purpose of political society in contemporary terms then, is to protect our individual rights So, a legislative power is set up so we know the ru
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