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Unformatted text preview: JOHN LOCKE AND CONSENT THEORY I. John Locke, British philosopher (1632-1704) a. Why Social Contract Theory? i. Opposed authoritarianism 1. Both individual/state ii. Justify the coercive power of the state iii. Demonstrate the limits of the states powers 1. The First Treatise of Government : argues against the Divine Right of Kings a. Argued that we ought to use reason to look for truth, rather than simply accept authority/superstition/etc b. A king is not a father to his people -- thus, argued against patriarchy. c. A father does not have absolute power -- thus the king does not have absolute power. 2. Influenced French/American revolutions. II. So why ought we form a government and follow its laws? a. The Second Treatise of Government : Locke's positive theory of government b. Why is it important to offer this theory ? i. Lest men fall into the dangerous belief that all government in the world is merely the product of force and violence. 1 c. Why do we need a government in the first place? i. Because we have a right to, and have to, survive. d. Why is survival an issue? i. Because without the state, we are in a state of nature 1. there is no legitimate political authority that can adjudicate disputes, and people live according to the law of reason a. This is not political society (where there is a government) and it is different form Hobbes state of nature (of all against all) b. Within that state of nature, there is:b....
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- Spring '07