The limits of toleration in John Locke's liberal thought

Res Publica 7 (1):39-55 (2001)
In the following paper I attempt to show how in Locke''s liberalthought the individual is subject to a complex operation involvingliberation and subjugation. In A Letter on Toleration (1685),Locke argues that the individual''s inward beliefs should be freed fromthe coercion of Church and State. To ensure liberty of conscience, theindividual''s soul should be constituted in practice – notstructured by violence but negotiated by rational persuasion. However,as I suggest, the authority of reason is not established without anelement of violence. In his writings on education, Locke maintains thatthe right to care for one''s soul should be enjoyed only after rigorousmoral training. Thus, the individual''s conscience is to be freed fromoutward violence of ecclesiastic and civil powers only after first, inyouth, being subject to the moral discipline of esteem, disgrace, andshame, the inward violence of which discloses limits in Locke''sdiscourse on toleration.
Keywords education  John Locke  moral discipline  toleration  violence
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DOI 10.1023/A:1009603216167
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