Lecture 3 - Locke: Equality, Freedom, Property and the Right to Dissent

author: Iván Szelényi, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: June 24, 2012,   recorded: September 2009,   views: 3044
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)

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John Locke, a liberal thinker and near-contemporary of the conservative Hobbes, disputes Hobbes's thinking in some keys ways and builds on it in others. Locke starts his political theory with a notion of individuals in the state of nature being free, equal and reasonable; the state of nature is not synonymous with the state of war for Locke as it is for Hobbes. Locke argues that states should protect the property of individuals and must govern with the consent of subjects. Unlike Hobbes's strong, unitary sovereign, Locke envisions a separation of the powers of the state into executive, legislative, and federative powers. We examine how Locke's political and social thought assumes an abundance of resources while Hobbes's thought is predicated on an assumption of scarcity.

Reading assignment:

Locke, Second Treatise of Government

- Chapter 1-5, pp. 267-302
- Chapter 7-13, pp. 318-374

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