Locke, liberty, and law: Legalism and extra-legal powers in the Second Treatise

Sage Publications: European Journal of Political Theory 21 (2):230-252 (2019)
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European Journal of Political Theory, Volume 21, Issue 2, Page 230-252, April 2022. The apparent inconsistency between Locke’s commitment to legalism and his explicit endorsement of the extra-legal power of prerogative has confounded many readers. Among those who don’t ignore or dismiss it, the common approach is to qualify the role or scope of prerogative. The article advocates the opposite approach. It argues that Locke’s legalism should be understood within the context of his oft neglected conception of political liberty in terms of self-government. This not only allows for the reconciliation of Locke’s legalism with his endorsement of extra-legal powers, but also provides a fuller, more accurate account of the role of law and of political liberty in Locke’s theory.



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Assaf Sharon
Stanford University

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Liberty before Liberalism.Quentin Skinner - 2001 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 63 (1):172-175.
A Matter of Principle.Ronald Dworkin - 1987 - Ethics 97 (2):481-483.
The Concept of Representation.Hanna Fenichel Pitkin - 1974 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 7 (2):128-129.
The Concept of Representation.D. A. Lloyd Thomas - 1969 - Philosophical Quarterly 19 (75):186-187.

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