Presentation on theme: "Second Treatise on Government"— Presentation transcript:
1 Second Treatise on Government John LockeSecond Treatise on Government
2 Locke’s Second Treatise I. Biographical/Historical BackgroundII. State of Nature OneIII. Freedom, Liberty, and LicenseIV. Property and Labor
3 I. Historical Background John Locke (1632 – 1704)Enters Oxford in 1651Studies philosophy, natural history, medicineBecomes physician and advisor to First Earl of Shaftesbury (big Whig politician)Reign of Charles II, Charles dies in 1685
4 I. Historical Background Line of succession issue (Catholic vs. Protestant)Locke – through Shaftesbury – gets implicated in plot to assassinate JamesLeaves England for Holland in 1683Begins to write anonymous political pamphlets, including the Two Treatises on Government (1689)
5 I. Historical Background 1688 “Glorious Revolution” in EnglandReplace the Catholic line from James with William and Mary (both Protestant)Locke was an advisor to William while the two of them were in Holland togetherIn exchange for throne, William & Mary agreed to a more limited, constitutional monarchySigned “Toleration Act” which allowed for religious toleration for most faiths (except Catholicism and Unitarianism)
6 I. Historical Background Locke lives out his days on government pension… without further ado, Locke’s Second Treatise
7 II. State of Nature 1 Locke begins Chapter 2: “To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, me must consider what state all men are naturally in…”What we need to know, then, is the natural condition of mankind
8 II. State of Nature 1Continuing with the quote from the opening of Chapter 2“… and that is a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions, and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of Nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.”What does that mean?
9 II. State of Nature 1 Individuals living in state of nature Also seems we need to know 3 things:FreedomLaw of natureProperty Rights
10 II. Freedom, Liberty, License Two senses of freedom at work hereFree from any social bonds, which meansNot dependent on the will of any other peopleI can do “X” without asking someone else’s approval to do “X”Bear in mind, he is saying that this freedom is natural; that we naturally are free from any social constraints or relationsNote: to this point in human history, very few people could be said to enjoy freedom in this sense
11 II. Freedom, Liberty, License But it’s not just any freedom, rather it’s freedom in accord with “the law of nature”And that law is:“The state of Nature has a law of Nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions” (chp.2, par 6).
12 II. Freedom, Liberty, License We get 2 arguments to support this view:ReligiousEach of us is created in God’s imageWe don’t have the right to destroy ourselves (as we are God’s creatures), so we can’t have the right to destroy others like usSecular“equal and independent” phraseMoral sympathy and rationality
13 II. Freedom, Liberty, License SummaryIn state of nature we have freedom, which is life in accordance with the law of natureDistinction between liberty and licenseFor Locke, liberty is not the right to do everything, but rather to do anything in accordance with the law of nature
14 II. Freedom, Liberty, License Locke contra HobbesLocke basically agrees with the structure of Hobbes’ argument, but disagrees with his accountThere is a sense in which people in Hobbes state of nature have freedom, but it is not a freedom we would want; it is self-defeatingBut…How can I be free if I must obey a law?
15 II. Freedom, Liberty, License Drug addict exampleDo I want to be the kind of person who smokes crack?Do I want to smoke crack now? Or now? Or..Only the first person is truly free, and that person is obeying a rule or lawFreer in that life is more fully an expression of your own willWhen following the laws of nature, you are following the dictates of your own reason and nothing else
16 II. Freedom, Liberty, License In other words, freedom does not mean war… it means peace!Think of interpersonal interaction … do we need a sovereign to tell us what is right?
17 II. Freedom, Liberty, License So for Locke, state of nature is when we are all free, indeed it is a state of perfect freedomAlso a state of equality, since no one is forced to submit to any authority higher than the dictates of her own reason
18 II. Freedom, Liberty, License Chapter 2“A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another: there being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank promiscuously born to all the same advantages of Nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection, unless the Lord and Master of them all, should by any manifest declaration of his will set one above another, and confer on him by an evident and clear appointment an undoubted right to dominion and sovereignty.”
19 II. Freedom, Liberty, License For Hobbes, freedom and equality were in large measure responsible for the state of nature being a war of all against allFor Locke, freedom and equality lead to a radically different situation
20 II. Freedom, Liberty, License “Men living together according to reason, without a common superior on Earth, with authority to judge between them, is properly the state of Nature” (chp. 3, par. 19).
21 II. Freedom, Liberty, License Which raises the question of why we would ever leave the state of nature? Why not anarchy?Do we find any problems lurking in the state of nature????