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John Locke + Hobbes Equality, Positive and Negative Rights

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Byron Williston

John Locke (1632-1704) Locke’s Importance: He had a profound influence on the frames of the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution. He provides a key alternative to Hobbes absolutism. He believes in the state of nature – nobody should harm anybody else. Hobbes and Locke on Equality: Hobbes thinks we are all equal in the state of nature in virtue of the relative equality of power among agents. Locke thinks we are equal in the state of nature in virtue of our common origin in God. Locke believes we are born with an innate morality. Morality in the State of Nature: From this it follows (for Locke) that there are moral principles binding us in a state of nature. Lockes believes in a state of nature, people won’t act in our moral principles, therefore need society and law. Without law, there will be some people who won’t recognize these binding laws. Lockes main purpose of government is the protection of private property. This is important because Locke thinks that ownership – both of myself and my stuff is sacrosanct. Lockes believes that your body and anything that your body has adds value. We all own our bodies and we also own the fruit of our bodies (
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