POLI 231 - Locke 1

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Published on 29 Sep 2011
School
McGill University
Department
Political Science
Course
POLI 231
Locke
Four main questions of concern:, and Locke's answers to them:
1) How do people in the State of Nature own possession? -> Theory of
Property
2) What makes the State legitimate? -> Delegation of Popular Sovereignty
& The Social Contract Theory
3) How should the State be organized? -> Theory of Constitutional
Governance
4) What is the relationship between the subject and ruler? -> Theory of Trust
(?)
Property: Life, Liberty, Estate (Individual rights)
State of Nature:
absence of common and impartial judiciary
absence of legislative power
absence of executive power
The State of Nature does not provide protection for property
The State is legitimate so far as it protects individual property
Property cannot be taken from an individual without consent
In the beginning, all was held in common .
God wanted all men to live and survive. This means that one must be
able to assert individual rights over food items, for example.
Two ways to do this:
1) Consent from all humanity -> impractical
2) Individual body is not held in common -> Mix one's own labour with other
things
Two limits:
1) No spoilage proviso: cannot take more than one can use
2) Sufficiency proviso: leave as much for others
With the invention of money, the spoilage proviso is routed, and the
sufficiency proviso is eventually violated.
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Document Summary

The state of nature does not provide protection for property. The state is legitimate so far as it protects individual property. Property cannot be taken from an individual without consent. In the beginning, all was held in common. God wanted all men to live and survive. This means that one must be able to assert individual rights over food items, for example. Two ways to do this: consent from all humanity -> impractical, individual body is not held in common -> mix one"s own labour with other things. Two limits: no spoilage proviso: cannot take more than one can use, sufficiency proviso: leave as much for others. With the invention of money, the spoilage proviso is routed, and the sufficiency proviso is eventually violated. Therefore, one must go back to number 1) consent from all humanity. This is manifested in the law and the state. Natural right of self-preservation trumps right of property.