Locke´s political arguments for toleration

Locke´s political arguments for toleration -...

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Selina Chen** Abstract: by looking at a set of important but neglected arguments for toleration. Standard accounts which view Lockean toleration as justified solely on considerations of con- overcame his earlier objections to toleration, and the importance of considerations regarding the practicability of religious toleration. The paper argues that attention to integrates his views on toleration with his wider political theory. These political argu- ments arise from, and are intimately related to this theory of consent and his epistemo- logical views. The political arguments allow Locke to formulate a response to the then These arguments not only establish toleration as a natural right, but also a necessary condition for maintaining legitimate political society. They also explain his intolerance of atheists and Catholics on grounds other than prejudice. John Locke&s writings on toleration are frequently remembered for their elo- quent defence of the integrity of individual conscience and the right to freedom of religious belief. In particular, Locke is famous for stating the well-known argument that freedom of religion should be granted because genuine belief is involuntary and cannot be coerced, an argument which has found resonance among modern liberals. 1 outcome of a conviction that individuals should be free to follow their con- * An earlier version of this paper was presented at the American Political Science Association Meeting, Chicago, 1995. I would like to thank D.A. Lloyd-Thomas, Mark Philp and members of the Nuffield Political Theory Group. ** Dept. of Politics, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ. Email: ssc@socsci.soton.ac.uk 1 See J. Waldron, ±Locke: Toleration and the Rationality of Persecution&, in Justi- fying Toleration , ed. S. Mendus (Cambridge, 1988); S. Mendus, Toleration and the Limits of Liberalism (Basingstoke, 1989), pp. 22²43; J. Gough, John Locke&s Political Philoso- phy (Oxford, 2nd edn., 1976), Ch. 8; D. Richards, Toleration and the Constitution , 90 (Oxford, 1983); J . Dunn, Political Thought of John Locke (Cambridge, 1969); J. Dunn, ±The Claim to Freedom of Conscience: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Thought, Freedom of Worship?&, in From Persecution to Toleration: The Glorious Revolution and Religion in England , ed. O.P. Grell and J. Israel (Oxford, 1991); and J. Dunn, ±What is Living and What is Dead in John Locke&s Political Philosophy&, in Interpreting Political Responsibility (Cambridge, 1990). Also J. Tully, Approaches to Political Philosophy: Locke in Context (Cambridge, 1993), Chs. 9 and 10.
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This note was uploaded on 03/11/2012 for the course MBA 103 taught by Professor Wise during the Spring '12 term at Salem Intl..

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Locke´s political arguments for toleration -...

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