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Lecture 5

BF190 Lecture 5: Locke

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Brantford Foundations
Frank Cameron

Origins of Private Property • Christianity: God gave men the world in Common • So how can anyone have individual property? Nature Introduces private property • Natural reason: men have the right to self-preservation and therefore resources. And in order to be useful to us, resources have to be appropriated (E.g. food). • Something becomes yours when you labour or work with a particular thing. Picking an apple is an example of this. • Criticism: he sees the world as forever abundance You own your body and the things you make with it • Human beings have property over their own person. Their body, their labour, and the products of their labour (provided they don’t deprive anyone else of access to the common). • Because your body labours you own it. • The labour of making an object useful makes it yours Objection: couldn’t you just take everything? • Solution: the purpose of appropriation is enjoyment. Take only those resources that you can enjoy. o If you take too much it will spoil and you are depriving everyone. Waste is only the crime Civil Society • The need for government comes from potential for humans to infringe on each other’s life, liberty, property. Civil society exists to protect natural rights Law is Natural Reason • Civil law should not be a limitation, but direct one’s proper interest. It prescribes the general good, which is freedom o Liberty is freedom from restraint and violence from others, the freedom to dispose of property within the bounds of laws. o If people could be happier without the law it would vanish. (Right to revolution?) It’s good to have land • Land can be owned through labour: till the earth to make it useful and it is yours • This is not prejudicial to others, because there is lots of land left for them. No one could possibly appropriate everything. Today: • Although I’m speaking of long ago, the same rule applies today: there’s more than enough land to support twice the world’s population. • At the time of Locke’s writing the world’s population was about 600,000. Now it is about 7,000,000,000. If we divided all land on earth, each individual would get ab
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