locke part 4

locke part 4 - Laws and Locke on law phil 104 sec 2-12...

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Laws and Locke on law phil 104 sec 2-12 April 16, 2008 page 1 The Nature of Law: Outline: I Laws as Coercion: II Historical Conceptions of Law 1) Divine Right of Kings: 2) Platonic tradition 3) Hobbes 4) Axelrod 5) utilitarian/ consequentialist III Locke on Law: A) Locke's assumptions: B) Locke's summary: (p.81) IV Law and Morality in the Lockean Tradition: A) Public and Private B) Rights and Goodness C) good NOT = there ought to be a law V Law in Modern Democracies I Laws as Coercion: laws as state compulsion to do something whether you wish to or not: Laws are the fundamental way that a nation-state enforces social policy. The basic idea of a political law is coercion: A law requires that persons do something whether they want to or not. A law specifies penalties for disobedience. When push comes to shove, laws are enforced by physical coercion. If you persist in not paying your taxes, the government will seize your house. If you resist the seizure, they will seize you. So: Laws are different from recommendations and advice: "Speed Limit 55" is not a recommendation but a command. An imperative. A basic issue is whether there is a distinction between a practice being such that it ought to be done and a practice being such that it ought to be required. My point of view, following the liberal tradition, is that a law requiring X needs much more justification than just "it would be better if everyone did X." Law cannot be the enforcer of morality, because law, being general, and uniform, is governed by the justice perspective. (In fact, “morality is a system of laws” IS the Justice perspective.) Since morality is inductive, and law is (in essence ) deductive, no system of laws can be adequate to morality. Law, by this argument, only enforces minimal goodness. [=non-violation of rights] But since law is the main instrument of Government, and so an important topic in political philosophy. II Historical Conceptions of Law traditional conceptions of Law and its justification: 1) Divine Right of Kings:
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Laws and Locke on law phil 104 sec 2-12 April 16, 2008 page 2 According to the main traditions of Political Philosophy before Locke, law is justified by appeal to God's Law. Law is the earthly expression of divine command; obedience to God's will is the sum of morality. On this conception, law = morality. Before Hobbes, Locke and the Liberal tradition, the usual justification of Laws, at least in Europe, was that they were extensions of the Divinity: roughly, God had assigned human caretakers to the world, and political laws were extensions of God's law. This conception was very ancient, going back several thousand years before the Bible was written. Typically, the King of a Mesopotamian empire or state was regarded as the representative of the main god. In Egypt, from about 3500 bc, the king, Pharoah, was himself a divinity. The idea that the ruler himself was divine was adopted also in the time of Alexander the Great, who declared himself to be divine (and killed his old buddies who disagreed—arguably Alexander the Great was
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This note was uploaded on 04/22/2008 for the course PHIL 104 taught by Professor Bontly during the Fall '08 term at UConn.

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locke part 4 - Laws and Locke on law phil 104 sec 2-12...

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