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

European Journal of Political Theory 21 (2):230-252 (2022)
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Abstract

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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References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
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A Matter of Principle.Ronald Dworkin - 1987 - Ethics 97 (2):481-483.
Hobbes on Representation.Quentin Skinner - 2005 - European Journal of Philosophy 13 (2):155–184.
Hobbes and the Purely Artificial Person of the State.Q. Skinner - 1999 - Journal of Political Philosophy 7 (1):1–29.

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