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Philosophy 3-17.docx

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PHIL 1070
Robert Mc Gill

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Philosophy 03/17/2014 Locke on Government John Locke (1632 – 1704) Father of classical liberalism Values liberty & freedom Against authoritarianism Greatest threat to freedom is intrusion of government Advocates limited government & toleration of different views Theory of rights influenced French and American revolutions What is the proper role of civil government? Similarities between Hobbes and Locke: Both begin with a state of nature Consider what life is like in the absence of civil government See what role civil government ought to play Both think we have ‘natural rights’ Rights we have as human beings, before government ever comes into being Both argue that a legitimate states comes into existence through a contract States are artificial constructions for the purpose of serving the ends of man (Instrumentalist View) But there are fundamental differences: For Hobbes State of nature is a moral vacuum ‘Natural rights’ and ‘Natural laws’ = what my reason orders me to do for my own self­preservation Natural rights imply no correlative duties for anyone else For Locke Morality exists in the state of nature Natural rights & laws = what my reason orders me to do for the preservation of all Natural rights DO imply correlated duties for others Question: What is the original source of political power? Political Power: A right  to make & execute laws for regulating & preserving property Right to defend the common­wealth from foreign policy And all this only for the public good Definition Implies: Political authority has limits – it is exercised only for the public good Unlike Hobbes – once a sovereign has authority, he retains it even if he’s NOT acting in the interest of the  people  Strategy:   Consider the Natural Condition of Mankind : The Law of Nature Men are created by God and are his property The chief end set us by our creator is survival Both as individuals and as a species So, the fundamental law of nature  =  The preservation of society and every person in it That ALL should be preserved A law of nature is a NORMATIVE law It says how we OUGHT to behave, based on God’s will A law of nature is UNIVERSAL – applies to everyone  Strategy:   Consider the Natural Condition of Mankind : The Law of Nature Given to us by reason Reflect on what is best for yourself and others Give the goal of survival and our natural equality, you will come to this conclusion ACT TO PRESERVE SOCIETY AND EVERYONE IN IT Given the Natural Law, we have certain Natural Rights Natural Right = A permission under natural law to do somethin
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