PHIL 1010 Lecture Notes - Atomic Theory, Plat, Practical Reason
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Locke's Liberal State
> Representation and 'persons'
• Landowner's and rights
• Who's going to 'sign on' to this program?
> Majority Rule
> Libertarian Locke or welfare state Locke?
• Small government or big government
Locke's Two Radical Proposals
> Persons are rational, autonomous, equal and free by nature
• This presents the basis for liberal individualism
• Society is a collection of autonomous individuals seeking the security of central
• Society is a collection of people
> Locke is representation
• What does this mean exactly?
> The interests and opinions of the citizens are a key factor in making public
policy and legislation
> Political actors act on behalf of the citizenry
• If they fail, in this regard, this is grounds for 'eviction'
> This sounds straightforward...
> Three issues that arise here:
• Individualism as a basis for social organization, idea that society is a sum of
collection of individuals
• Property and representation
• Equality: what role does this play in the state
Individualism and Government
> Individuals for Locke:
• Atomic theory of self
• Goods acquirers of goods
• Rational agents - Practical reasoning key here
• Notions of justice and good based on individuals interests and inhibition of
• 'a state of perfect freedom to order their actions ... as they think fit... without
asking leave, or depending on the Will of any other Man'
• Limits on freedom must be justified on grounds that such limits secure our
• In fact, for Locke, law as a restriction must enhance our freedom to pursue our
interests and be safe in our property
Problems with this model
> Priority of individual over collective goods
> libertarian locke or welfare state locke: small government or big government. > persons are rational, autonomous, equal and free by nature: this presents the basis for liberal individualism, society is a collection of autonomous individuals seeking the security of central governing bodies, society is a collection of people. > the interests and opinions of the citizens are a key factor in making public policy and legislation. > political actors act on behalf of the citizenry: if they fail, in this regard, this is grounds for "eviction" > three issues that arise here: individualism as a basis for social organization, idea that society is a sum of collection of individuals, property and representation, equality: what role does this play in the state. > priority of individual over collective goods: mills harms principle a good example, government has to pay attention to individuals right, that is freedom freedom to pursue as long as you don"t harm others.