POLB71 Final exam review 2
The Exclusion Crisis gave John Locke much to think about. The First Treatise tears
asunder the arguments for both the divine right of kings and the rule of the patriarchy.
The divine right of kings was defiantly an issue in this crisis, as Charles II was openly
opposing parliament, the representatives of the people. If one accepts Locke's argument
against divine right one can read most of the Second Treatise as a rebuke on the way in
which the English government was operating at that time. Locke clearly is not a supporter
of divine monarchy, and had concerns about the Royal Prerogative which was exercised
at the time. He understands the necessity of that prerogative, stating that:
" The power of calling parliaments in England, as to precise time, place, and duration, is
certainly a prerogative of the king, but still with this trust, that it shall be made use of for
the good of the nation, as the exigencies of the times, and variety of occasions, shall
require: for it being impossible to foresee which should always be the fittest place for
them to assemble in, and what the best season; the choice of these was left with the
executive power, as might be most subservient to the public good, and best suit the ends
Locke however does not allow for the ruler exercising such prerogative to do so in selfish
self interest, claiming that no one can have nor should have the authority to put
themselves and their interests over the the interest of those who have consented to be
governed. This was the primary issue at stake during the exclusion crisis. The
government was not at all acting in the best interest of its people; Charles II was ignoring
the whim of the people via parliament, abusing his prerogative to amass and dismiss the
parliament, and acting not to further the English state but simply to firmly cement himself
and his family as the legitimate trustees of the English throne. Locke sees the necessity of
prerogative in order for leaders to quickly respond to the issue of the day by strongly
supports it being largely curtailed, stating that
"Nor let any one think, this lays a perpetual foundation for disorder; for this operates not,
till the inconveniency is so great, that the majority feel it, and are weary of it, and find a
necessity to have it amended. But this the executive power, or wise princes, never need
come in the danger of: and it is the thing, of all others, they have most need to avoid, as
of all others the most perilous."(3)
Locke is clearly more concerned with the people being fairly represented over issues
being dealt with expediently, and notes that if something is a big enough inconvenience
to a majority of the people it will inevitably be addressed and fixed. This crisis, while
largely political, set the stage not only for the Glorious Revolution that was only a few
years off at this point, but also provided an excellent example for Locke to use to expose
the weaknesses and inherent injustice of the divine monarchy as it existed at the time.
What is the main idea of Sir Filmer‟s Patriarcha? One major goal of Patriarcha was to harness widespread early modern social theory - in
particular, the idea that fathers are by nature the governors of their families, and that their
powers do not arise from the consent of their children or wives - to the cause of royal
absolutism. Another objective of the book was to show that theories which based
government on consent or contract were unjustified by the evidence - there was no
historical record of governments beginning with contracts - and that they were
unworkable (for instance, if government rests on the people's consent, then we should
have consult the people afresh every time someone is born or dies, as the people changes
when such things happen). Filmer also claimed that history shows that the worst atrocities
happen under democracies rather than monarchies. The third chapter of the book ends
with a discussion of English legal and constitutional history, intended to show that the
king was an absolute monarch from early times; concentrate on the main points rather
than the details of this.
There is a tendency to link theories like Filmer's - which defended royal absolutism and
took an authoritarian view of the family - with conservative and illiberal thought more
generally. But in important respects this is unjustified. In an age when many people
believed in witchcraft, and thought that witches should be killed, Filmer expressed doubts
on the subject in An Advertisement to the Jury-men of England touching Witches (1653).
Many clergymen in Filmer's time claimed that it was sinful to lend money at interest.
Filmer argued against this idea in another book published in 1653.
Why does Locke think individuals would choose to leave the state of nature and form a
Locke reiterates why people would give up their natural freedom to enter into society--
namely, to assure the protection of their lives, liberties, and estates, all of which Locke
Nature lacks three very important things, all of which a just civil society provides: "an
established, settled, known law"; "a known and indifferent judge"; and the "power to
back and support the sentence" In order to gain the three things above, people must
relinquish their natural rights. These include the right to do as they wish within the
bounds of the law of nature; the power to punish the crimes committed against natural
law. The first right is partially given up by submitting oneself to the laws of civil society,
which are stricter than those of nature. The second right is given up totally in favor of
putting oneself under the protection of the executive power of the society. Locke finishes
by noting that this system is contingent on the three characteristics of civil society
mentioned above--a law, a judge, and an executive working "to no other end, but the
peace, safety, and public good of the people."
“But though this(e.g the state of nature) be a state of liberty, yet it is a not a state of
The law of nature implies that the state of nature is not a state of license, but rather is
characterized by duties and obligations to which all individuals are subject: 'But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of licence' (Locke II, para. 6). Man has the
right, in the state of nature, to punish those who transgress his natural rights:
“The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are property his… Thus
the grass my horse has bit; the turfs my servant has cut; and the ore I have digged in any
place, where I have a right to them in common with others, become my property, without
the assignation or consent of any body.”
Locke Chapter 5 Of Property. Sec 27
The above is textbook libertarian justification of private property: things other than
oneself--the "commons"--can be made part of oneself politically, so that one can have the
same rights in the disposition of resources & products as one has in the disposition of
oneself. Locke argues that this ability is essential in order to exist--to eat is to treat nature
as private property--and for the full exercise of liberty to which life entitles one. So
private property, like liberty, is natural and not ethically dependent on any person's or
group's permission. However, property differs from oneself in that something must first
be taken from common nature before it can be private property, whereas an individual
comes into nature as his or her own private property. We "own" ourselves inherently;
people, unlike the world, are not "given to all mankind in common." The difference in
inherent privacy between individuals and the rest of nature leads Locke to limit the right
Amour propre vs. amour de soi
Amour propre - Essentially, the opposite of self-preservation (amour de soi). Amour
propre is an acute awareness of, and regard for, oneself in relation to others. Whilst the
savage person cares only for his survival, civilized man also cares deeply about what
others think about him. This is a deeply harmful psychological deformation, linked to the
development of human reason and political societies. At its root is a difference between
being and appearing. Savage man can only "be", and has no concept of pretence: civil
man is forced to compare himself to others, and to lie to himself. Rousseau traces the
development of amour propre back to the first village festivals, in which competition to
dance and sing well increases the villagers' awareness of each other's talents and abilities.
Amour propre is best expressed in a society in which wealth dominates; there, all are
compared on an insubstantial and harmful basis.
Rousseau distinguishes between 'amour de soi' - which we would usually translate as
'self-respect'; and 'amour propre' - nearer to being 'selfishness' or 'arrogance'.
Amour de soi tells you that you are valuable, and so are other people. It encourages you
to take care of yourself, but not at the expense of doing harm to others. Amour de soi tells
you that you are as good as other people.
Amour propre is selfishness. It tells you that you are more important than other people (in
most cases it tells you that what other people need or desire doesn't matter at all). Amour
propre tells you that you are the most important person in the world, and that nobody else
will ever matter as much as you do. Amour de soi is not normally competitive; amour de soi encourages you to share with
other people, so that both of you can benefit.
Amour propre is entirely selfish; amour propre tells you that anyone else' gain is your
loss, and insists that you behave selfishly at all times, and spitefully when you think you
can get away with it.
How does rationality develop in the state of nature, according to Rousseau?
He states that in a state of nature there is no room for law, right and morality. Rousseau
simply means that we tend to avoid harming others because of our natural aversion to
pain and suffering. Therefore, if men are in a state of war they would feel terrible for all
the harming caused to other fellows.
In the state of nature man are equal. Rousseau sees the private property as a source of
inequality, mutual dependence and jealousy: “The destruction of equality was attended by
the most terrible disorders. Usurpation by the rich, robbery by the poor, and the unbridled
passions of both, suppressed the cries of natural compassion and still feeble voice of
justice, and filled man with avarice, ambition, and vice. Between the title of the strongest
and that of first occupier, there arouse perpetual conflicts, which never ended but in battle
and bloodshed. The new-born state of society thus gave rise to a horrible state of war”
(Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, 97).
How does Rousseau‟s account of human nature differ from Hobbes‟s?
Rousseau‟s theory contrasted with that of Hobbes, as he thought human nature is largely
good. Society is the corrupting force that transforms „natural man‟ into the self-obsessed
beast illustrated by Hobbes. Rousseau does not deny that Hobbes‟ account of the „State of
Nature‟ is correct, just that Hobbes did not define the „State of Nature‟ correctly. For
Rousseau, the „State of Nature‟ is much more than just a removal of government, it is the
removal of all „cultural clothes‟ including beliefs, language and even an understanding of
ourselves. At this level of development Rousseau believed that self-love and pity are the
only sentiments that remain in our nature; that we are solitary, and have no desire for
power because there would be nobody to have power over. Therefore Rousseau‟s view of
human nature is very positive compared to Hobbes‟, and that any negative aspects of
human nature are the result of interaction with society.
How does inequality comes about, in Rousseau‟s account?
Rousseau‟s argument in the Discourse is that the only natural inequality among men is
the inequality that results from differences in physical strength, for this is the only sort of
inequality that exists in the state of nature. As Rousseau explains, however, in modern
societies the creation of laws and property have corrupted natural men and created new
forms of inequality that are not in accordance with natural law. Rousseau calls these
unjustifiable, unacceptable forms of inequality moral inequality, and he concludes by
making clear that this sort of inequality must be contested.
Republicanism Republicanism emphasizes the importance of a mixed government stabilized by
incorporating the preferences of various classes of the society
In other words, the classical republicanism demands a broad social basis for self
government (which, as we will see below, survives as a central element of modern
republicanism), and it posits that any government controlled by one class is both
illegitimate and unstable
The most important figure in developmental republicanism is J.J. Rousseau. To
Rousseau, the appeal of republicanism lies not in its potential in guaranteeing the private
liberty of individuals, but in its ability to develop human potentials and to unleash the
"general will." Rousseau is no liberal, but his influence in republican and democratic
theories is enduring. Like his classical predecessors, Rousseau does not see the value of a
"private sphere;" indeed, Rousseau hates the private sphere. The existence of a private
sphere, with its accompanying inequality in wealth, vanity and distortions, causes much
of the human sufferings. Rousseau wants people to live independently and transparently,
and only the "general will" of the people can lead people to happiness and
freedom. Rousseau sees a republican democracy as the way to general will and freedom.
What are the key features of the state of nature for Rousseau?
Rousseau begins by discussing man in his state of nature. For Rousseau, man in his state
of nature is essentially an animal like any other, driven by two key motivating principles:
pity and self-preservation. In the state of nature, which is more a hypothetical idea than
an actual historical epoch, man exists without reason or the concept of good and evil, has
few needs, and is essentially happy. The only thing that separates him from the beasts is
some sense of unrealized perfectability.
Rousseau holds that the state of nature is generally a peaceful, happy place made up of
free, independent men. To Rousseau, the sort of war Hobbes describes is not reached
until man leaves the state of nature and enters civil society, when property and law create
a conflict between rich and poor
Rousseau‟s conception of natural man is a key principle in all his work: man is naturally
good and is corrupted only by his own delusions of perfectability and the harmful
elements of his capacity for reason. The means by which human beings are corrupted and
the circumstances under which man agrees to leave the state of nature and enter human
civil society are the focal points of Rousseau‟s masterpiece, The Social Contract.
What role does pity play in Rousseau‟s political theory?
Rousseau advocates a social contract theory of morality according to which moral
duties are derived from mutually beneficial agreements. In the state of nature, there is
no morality precisely because such agreements have yet to be formed. Cassirer seems to
have this in mind when he claims that pity, according to Rousseau, is not rooted in some
“ethical” quality of natural man. It is rather a mere gift of imagination. He writes: “It is
true that according to Rousseau even natural man is capable of compassion; but this
very compassion is not rooted in some originally “ethical” quality of man‟s will but
merely in man‟s gift of imagination” (1963, 101).
Pace Cassirer, Rousseau could not have viewed pity as a mere gift of imagination
since he denies that natural man is capable of imagining. He maintains that natural man‟s “imagination depicts nothing to him; his heart asks nothing from him” (
Rousseau is inconsistent with Rousseau‟s own claim that pity is a natural virtue: “I do
not believe I need fear any contradiction in granting to man the only Natural virtue…. I
speak of pity, a disposition suited to beings as weak and as subject to many ills as we
incapable of using reason to derive moral duties. However, he maintains that, in the
state of nature, pity can give rise to “maxims of natural goodness” Even though pity is
distinct from morality, it is nevertheless an adequate substitute
for morality in the state of nature.
The crucial role Rousseau assigns to pity is not limited to the state of nature but
rather extends to civil society. Rousseau asserts that while pity is “obscure and lively in
Savage man,” it is “developed but weak in civil man” (
In the state of nature, pity is the substitute for morality; in civil society, it becomes
a necessary component of morality
If the state of nature is such an idyllic place, why do humans enter into civil society and
adopt a social contract?
Self preservation and self protection and social contract within people?
Human motivation Pity or compassion
Fellow creature suffer.
Lead to attack and war.
Savage man behaveiour each other, motivated by both self preservation and pity. State of
nature would be state of war.
Human beings are naturally motivated by Pity or compassion.
He claims that we generally try to avoid harming others, not because we recognize that
harm is immoral, but because we have an aversion to harm, even when it is not our own.
Naturally sympathetic to others, and are upset by their suffering, so avoid it.
The state exists naturally in the sense of being natural to human being. May be we would
not be human beings if we lived in a society without a state. Perhaps we would be a lower
form of animal. If human beings exist, then so does the state.
Life without the state might seem much more attractive possibility if we adopted differnet
theory of human nature and motivation.
What are some of the downsides of civilization, according to Rousseau? How do they
Men develops could call „Corrupted needs” we become dependent on what were at first
considered luxuries, having them gives us little or no pleasure, but losing them is
devastating, as societies develop, so do languages, and the opportunity for comparison of
talents. This gives rise to pride, shame, and envy. Revenged.
Rousse sated “the real youth of the world”
Also private property leads to mutual dependence, jealousy, inequality, and the slavery of
the poor eventually the destruction of equality was attended by the most terrible
disorders. How does Rousseau‟s account of economic development differ from the four stages
theory of the Scottish Enlightenment?
What are Locke‟s main arguments in favor of the separation of church and state?
He wants to persuade the reader that government is instituted to promote external
interests, relating to life, liberty, and the general welfare, while the church exists to
promote internal interests, i.e., salvation. The two serve separate functions, and so, must
be considered to be separate institutions.
For Locke, the only way a Church can gain genuine converts is through persuasion and
not through violence. This relates to his central conclusion, namely, that the government
should not involve itself in care of souls. In support of this argument he presents three
main reasons: (1) individuals, according to Locke, cannot divest control over their souls
to secular forces, as God does not appoint the magistrate; (2) force cannot create the
change necessary for salvation, because while it can coerce obedience, it cannot change
one‟s beliefs; and (3) even if coercion could persuade someone of a notion, it would not
help for the salvation of the soul, because then birth would be related with salvation.
Locke argued that atheists should not be tolerated because „Promises, covenants, and
oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can have no hold upon an atheist‟. The
Roman Catholic Church can not be tolerated either, according to Locke, because „all
those who enter into it do thereby ipso facto deliver themselves up to the protection and
service of another prince‟. If this Church were tolerated, amagistrate would have to abide
by the settling of a „foreign jurisdiction‟ in his own country and see its followers „listed,
as it were, for soldiers against his own Government‟.
There is, however, a passage added in a later edition of the Essay concerning Human
Understanding, where Locke perhaps questions “whether „atheism‟ was