The Lockean Enough-and-as-Good Proviso: An Internal Critique

Journal of Moral Philosophy 9 (3):410-442 (2012)
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Abstract

A private property account is central to a liberal theory of justice. Much of the appeal of the Lockean theory stems from its account of the so-called `enough-and-as-good' proviso, a principle which aims to specify each employable person's fair share of the earth's material resources. I argue that to date Lockeans have failed to show how the proviso can be applied without thereby undermining a guiding intuition in Lockean theory. This guiding intuition is that by interacting in accordance with the proviso persons interact as free and equal, or as reciprocally subject to the `laws of nature' rather than as subject to one another's arbitrary will. Because Locke's own and contemporary Lockean conceptions of the proviso subject some persons to some other persons' arbitrary will, the proviso so conceived cannot function as it should, namely as a principle that restricts interacting persons' actions reciprocally and thereby enables Lockean freedom under law

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Helga Varden
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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