Episode 22, John Locke's Political Philosophy (Part II)


Welcome to Episode 22 (Part II/II) on John Locke's Political Philosophy. 

Born in Somerset, England 1632 and died in Essex, at the age of 72 in 1704, John Locke was among the most famous philosophers and political theorists of the 17th century. Locke’s main political work, Two Treatise of Government, was published in anonymously in 1689. The First Treatise is a sentence-by-sentence refutation of Robert Filmer's Divine Right of Kings, whilst the Second Treatise outlines Locke's ideas for civilized society based on natural rights and contract theory. Our main focus today is the second treatise of government. Locke begins by describing the state of nature, a picture much more stable than Thomas Hobbes' state of nature that recall, is "war of every man against every man,". Locke argues that all men are created equal in the state of nature by God. He proceeds by explaining the hypothetical rise of property and civilisation, in the process explaining that the only legitimate governments are those consented to by the people. Ultimately for Locke, a government that rules without the consent of the people can ultimately be overthrown. For many, the language of the second treatise of government echoes throughout the declaration of independence. In the words of Thomas Jefferson: "Bacon, Locke and Newton, I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived".

This week in Part II, we'll be discussing Locke's idea of property, civil society and engaging in some further analysis and discussion.

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Nigel Warburton and David Edmond's fantastic podcast Philosophy Bites is a must listen. Click here to visit their website.

Part I. State of Nature (19:15)
Part II. Property (00:05 in Part II)
Part III. Civil Society (15:50 in Part II)
Part IV. Further Analysis and Discussion (31:40 in Part II)