A Guide to John Locke's Essay ..

With respect to the specific content of natural law, Locke neverprovides a comprehensive statement of what it requires. In the TwoTreatises, Locke frequently states that the fundamental law ofnature is that as much as possible mankind is to be preserved. Simmonsargues that in Two Treatises 2.6 Locke presents 1) a duty topreserve one's self, 2) a duty to preserve others whenself-preservation does not conflict, 3) a duty not to take away thelife of another, and 4) a duty not to act in a way that “tendsto destroy” others. Libertarian interpreters of Locke tend todownplay duties of type 1 and 2. Locke presents a more extensive listin his earlier, and unpublished in his lifetime, Essays on the Lawof Nature. Interestingly, Locke here includes praise and honor ofthe deity as required by natural law as well as what we might callgood character qualities.

John Locke′s Second Treatise on Government - Jim

A summary of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding in 's John Locke (1634–1704)

Locke, John | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Hobbes argued that it was the violence and uncertainty of life in the state of nature that motivated people to form governments. Because life was so bad in the state of nature, Hobbes argued that the desire for peace and stability would become so profound that the people would seek out a "sovereign" or ruler to whom they could transfer or give their own sovereignty. In return, the sovereign would provide the peace and stability the people wanted. So long as they abided by the laws the sovereign established, the people would then be free to pursue happiness without constantly fearing for their lives and property.

John Locke (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

For all for the attaining an , being limited by that end, whenever that is manifestly neglected, or opposed, the must necessarily be , and the Power devolve into the hands of those that gave it, who may place it anew where they shall think best for their safety and security.John Locke, , §149, 1690John Locke is the most important modern political philosopher, even if not now the most popular one, as we shall see.

John Locke - mind as a tabula rasa - his Essay concerning Human Understanding empiricism

John Locke > By Individual Philosopher > Philosophy

Locke's most obvious solution to this problem is his doctrine of tacitconsent. Simply by walking along the highways of a country a persongives tacit consent to the government and agrees to obey it whileliving in its territory. This, Locke thinks, explains why residentaliens have an obligation to obey the laws of the state where theyreside, though only while they live there. Inheriting property createsan even stronger bond, since the original owner of the propertypermanently put the property under the jurisdiction of thecommonwealth. Children, when they accept the property of theirparents, consent to the jurisdiction of the commonwealth over thatproperty (Two Treatises 2.120). There is debate over whetherthe inheritance of property should be regarded as tacit or expressconsent. On one interpretation, by accepting the property, Lockethinks a person becomes a full member of society, which implies thathe must regard this as an act of express consent. Grant suggests thatLocke's ideal would have been an explicit mechanism of societywhereupon adults would give express consent and this would be aprecondition of inheriting property. On the other interpretation,Locke recognized that people inheriting property did not in theprocess of doing so make any explicit declaration about theirpolitical obligation.

John Locke (1632-1704) - Friesian School

A final question concerns the status of those property rights acquiredin the state of nature after civil society has come into being. Itseems clear that at the very least Locke allows taxation to take placeby the consent of the majority rather than requiring unanimous consent(2.140). Nozick takes Locke to be a libertarian, with the governmenthaving no right to take property to use for the common good withoutthe consent of the property owner. On his interpretation, the majoritymay only tax at the rate needed to allow the government tosuccessfully protect property rights. At the other extreme, Tullythinks that, by the time government is formed, land is already scarceand so the initial holdings of the state of nature are no longer validand thus are no constraint on governmental action. Waldron's view isin between these, acknowledging that property rights are among therights from the state of nature that continue to constrain thegovernment, but seeing the legislature as having the power tointerpret what natural law requires in this matter in a fairlysubstantial way.

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However this debate is resolved, there will be in any current orpreviously existing society many people who have never given expressconsent, and thus some version of tacit consent seems needed toexplain how governments could still be legitimate. Simmons finds itdifficult to see how merely walking on a street or inheriting land canbe thought of as an example of a “deliberate, voluntaryalienating of rights” (69). It is one thing, he argues, for aperson to consent by actions rather than words; it is quite another toclaim a person has consented without being aware that they have doneso. To require a person to leave behind all of their property andemigrate in order to avoid giving tacit consent is to create asituation where continued residence is not a free and voluntarychoice. Simmons' approach is to agree with Locke that real consent isnecessary for political obligation but disagree about whether mostpeople in fact have given that kind of consent. Simmons claims thatLocke's arguments push toward “philosophical anarchism,”the position that most people do not have a moral obligation to obeythe government, even though Locke himself would not have made thisclaim.