John Locke - Simple English Wikipedia, the free …
When Locke turns from speculative principles to the question ofwhether there are innate practical moral principles, many of thearguments against innate speculative principles continue to apply, butthere are some additional considerations. Practical principles, suchas the Golden Rule, are not self-evident in the way such speculativeprinciples as “What is, is” are. Thus, one can clearly andsensibly ask reasons for why one should hold the Golden Rule true orobey it (I, 3. 4. p. 68). There are substantial differences betweenpeople over the content of practical principles. Thus, they are evenless likely candidates to be innate propositions or to meet thecriterion of universal assent. In the fourth chapter of Book I, Lockeraises similar points about the ideas which compose both speculativeand practical principles. The point is that if the ideas that areconstitutive of the principles are not innate, this gives us even morereason to hold that the principles are not innate. He examines theideas of identity, impossibility and God to make these points.
John Locke: The Justification of Private Property
In Locke's Letter Concerning Toleration, he develops severallines of arguments that are intended to establish the proper spheresfor religion and politics. His central claims are that governmentshould not use force to try to bring people to the true religion andthat religious societies are voluntary organizations that have noright to use coercive power over their own members or those outsidetheir group. One recurring line of argument that Locke uses isexplicitly religious. Locke argues that neither the example of Jesusnor the teaching of the New Testament gives any indication that forceis a proper way to bring people to salvation. He also frequentlypoints out what he takes to be clear evidence of hypocrisy, namelythat those who are so quick to persecute others for small differencesin worship or doctrine are relatively unconcerned with much moreobvious moral sins that pose an even greater threat to their eternalstate.
Recent scholarship has continued to probe these issues. Davis closelyexamines Locke's terminology and argues that we must distinguishbetween political society and legitimate government. Only those whohave expressly consented are members of political society, while thegovernment exercises legitimate authority over various types of peoplewho have not so consented. The government is supreme in some respects,but there is no sovereign. Van der Vossen makes a related argument,claiming that the initial consent of property owners is not themechanism by which governments come to rule over a particularterritory. Rather, Locke thinks that people (probably fathersinitially) simply begin exercising political authority and peopletacitly consent. This is sufficient to justify a state in ruling overthose people and treaties between governments fix the territorialborders. Hoff goes still further, arguing that we need not even thinkof specific acts of tacit consent (such as deciding not to emigrate).Instead, consent is implied if the government itself functions in waysthat show it is answerable to the people.
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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.
Locke’s proof that God exists | Boisterous beholding
The most direct reading of Locke's political philosophy finds theconcept of consent playing a central role. His analysis begins withindividuals in a state of nature where they are not subject to acommon legitimate authority with the power to legislate or adjudicatedisputes. From this natural state of freedom and independence, Lockestresses individual consent as the mechanism by which politicalsocieties are created and individuals join those societies. Whilethere are of course some general obligations and rights that allpeople have from the law of nature, special obligations come aboutonly when we voluntarily undertake them. Locke clearly states that onecan only become a full member of society by an act of express consent(Two Treatises 2.122). The literature on Locke's theory ofconsent tends to focus on how Locke does or does not successfullyanswer the following objection: few people have actually consented totheir governments so no, or almost no, governments are actuallylegitimate. This conclusion is problematic since it is clearlycontrary to Locke's intention.