• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Locke, John

Page history last edited by Shin Barakan 15 years, 4 months ago

John Locke was an English philosopher, born approximately forty years after Thomas Hobbes.  He influenced many thinkers, including Thomas Jefferson in his n

otions of the rights to life, liberty, and property. 

     His theory for the state of nature ends with the consent to money in the state of nature and the agreement to use capital in trade relations, which lead to the rise of inequalities  and the intial limitations of accumulation can be transcended. While he perceives individuals as capable of governing themselves by the law of nature, when these laws are violated, it becomes difficult for each individual to protect their property.

     Locke’s theory of possessive individualism also differs from that of Hobbes.  Locke believes that people are born without innate ideas, that the mind is a blank slate, and that knowledge comes from experience and observation.  His state of nature is a peaceful one in which humans are rational and have natural empathy for one another (different from Hobbes’ materialism and instinctual drive). 

      According to Locke, there is not only a natural predisposition to consent to society, but also equality in the desire to possess and in the subordination to the market. Humans are born into perfect freedom, all with the equal right to posses and it is this equal right to appropriate, which Locke equivilates to freedom.  Locke outlines three restrictions on the accumulation of property in the state of nature: one may only appropriate as much as he can use before it spoils, one must leave enough and ‘as good’ for others, and one must only appropriate property through one’s own labor.  Thus, while Hobbes says ‘use power to gain wealth’, Locke says ‘use labor to gain wealth’.  

     Since, in Locke’s theory, humans have the inalienable right to possess, they also have the right to alienate their possessions (in order to gain freedom), resulting in unequal capital and therefore inequality amongst the population. Locke justifies this inequality saying it is for the good of society since capital makes humans more efficient and productive (i.e. people with more capital can provide for those with less). Thus, unlike Hobbes’ society where market exchanges and the sovereign constitute public interest, Locke envisions a consensual civil society and moral community in which it is necessary to share common views (i.e. common wheel) and promote public good.

     In addition, Locke also places a heavy emphasis on class distinctions; by this, he implies that all men are equal in their natural rights, although a certain class that one is born into determines his/her rationality in society. Thus, if one is born into a low-end labor class, he/she is considered to be less rational, compared to another born into the bourgeoisie class. Locke also strongly emphasizes that we can not escape these class distinctions we are born into.

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.