This volume guides the reader through a detailed examination of the text to an understanding of Locke’s political ideas in relation to his writings on philosophy, education, religion and economics and the influence these ideas had upon eighteenth-century political theorists. The author shows how Locke carefully constructed his political perspective as a defence of the principles of natural rights, constitutional government and popular resistance. He offers an original interpretation of the Two Treatises…, emphasizing the specific ways in which Locke’s political (...) purposes in writing the work influence his discussion of such concepts as the state of nature, property, consent and tyranny. The author discusses the historical and biographical context of the work and demonstrates how eighteenth century political thinkers developed or rejected aspects of Locke’s political theory and summarizes important recent studies of Locke’s work. (shrink)
From the seventeenth to the mid?nineteenth centuries, the language of natural law and natural rights structured the commitment of liberalism to the development of both a market society and democratic political institutions. The existence of widespread poverty was seen, at various times, as a problem to be resolved either by an expanding commercial/capitalistic society or through democratic political reform. As Thomas Home shows in Property Rights and Poverty, liberalism as apolitical theory has, from its origins, been deeply committed to (at (...) least a minimalist) social welfare policy. Nevertheless, not only have the dimensions of the problem of poverty increased with the growth of democratic capitalist society, but also, viewed from an historical perspective, it is the problem of poverty that exposes the fundamental tensions at the heart of liberal political theory. (shrink)
This collection of essays looks at the distinctively English intellectual, social and political phenomenon of Latitudinarianism, which emerged during the Civil War and Interregnum and came into its own after the Restoration, becoming a virtual orthodoxy after 1688. Dividing into two parts, it first examines the importance of the Cambridge Platonists, who sought to embrace the newest philosophical and scientific movements within Church of England orthodoxy, and then moves into the later seventeenth century, from the Restoration onwards, culminating in essays (...) on the philosopher John Locke. These new contributions establish a firmly interdisciplinary basis for the subject, while collectively gravitating towards the importance of discourse and language as the medium for cultural exchange. The variety of approaches serves to illuminate the cultural indeterminacy of the period, in which inherited models and vocabularies were forced to undergo revisions, coinciding with the formation of many cultural institutions still governing English society. (shrink)
'It would ... be a pity if the sketch of religious controversy in the 1670s contained in Richard Ashcraft's bold and exhilarating attempt to reconstruct the argument and intellectual framework of Locke's political thinking and activity should be thought to represent the entire debate accurately.' (Spurr 1988, 567 n. 17).
As the title intimates, my aims in this essay are twofold: first, I wish to defend the claim that there are radical dimensions to John Locke's thought, and by extension, that there are radical dimensions to the tradition of discourse which seeks to provide an intellectual defence for the social practices and institutional structures characteristic of a market society and a democratic political system insofar as such an intellectual defence is dependent upon or makes use of certain Lockean statements and (...) arguments. As this objective maps out a rather large and exceedingly difficult terrain for discussion, prudence dictates that I provide the reader with a brief clarification of the direction and limitations of this part of my argument before indicating the second and, in my view, more difficult problem to be addressed. (shrink)
Contrary to Thomas Horne's propensity to consider arguments concerning property rights and poverty as exclusive and self?contained topics within the political discourse of liberalism, they should be seen as part of the defense of democratic and market institutions that is central to the historical development of liberalism. The problems arising from the relationship of property rights to poverty, therefore, need to be included in any assessment of the success or failure of the institutions of a democratic market society to realize (...) their objectives. (shrink)
This work is the second in the Routledge Series of Critical Assessments of Leading Political Philosophers . Each volume of the series presents a comprehensive selection of the critical literature commenting on the life and works of a major political philosopher. John Locke (1632-1704) is a key figure because his political philosophy was one of the foundations for both the American Constitution and the French Revolution. He defined government as based on a free contract between people which can be subsequently (...) modified, and he stressed the importance of religious toleration. Locke also wrote extensively on other aspects of philosophy, on education, and on religion. The present volumes provide students of politics and philosophy with immediate access to Locke's contribution and show how his work has been received and modified by others. (shrink)