Hedonism and Natural Law in Locke's Moral Philosophy

Journal of the History of Philosophy 54 (2):203-225 (2016)

Elliot Rossiter
Concordia University College of Alberta
according to some interpreters of John Locke’s moral philosophy, there is an inconsistency between Locke’s adoption of hedonism and his commitment to a natural law view of ethics. Indeed, Locke is not fully explicit about the relationship between pleasure and pain and the natural law in the Essay concerning Human Understanding. But the thesis I defend in this paper is that the idea of convenientia, according to which God harmonizes the natural law with human nature, can be used to understand how Locke synthesizes the hedonism he adopts in the 1670s, and ultimately expresses in Book II, chapter 20 of the Essay, with the natural law doctrine he maintains over the course of his lifetime. As I argue, God’s providential..
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DOI 10.1353/hph.2016.0044
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