Tag: State of Nature

Major Works

  • Two Treatises of Government

    - Recommended edition: Two Treatises of Government, ed. Peter Laslett (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988).
    Excerpt: Thou hast here the beginning and end of a discourse concerning government; what fate has otherwise disposed of the papers that should have filled up the middle, and were more than all the rest, it is not worth while to tell thee. These, which… More


  • “Locke’s State of Nature in Political Society”

    - Robert Goldwin, "Locke's State of Nature in Political Society," Western Political Quarterly 29 (1976), 126-135.
    Excerpt: “Readers of the Two Treatises of Government have long wondered about the meaning of Locke’s discussion of the state of nature. Did Locke think that the state of nature really existed, or did he present it as an invented or imagined state?… More
  • Natural Rights Theories: Their Origin and Development

    - Richard Tuck, Natural Rights Theories: Their Origin and Development (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982).
    This book shows how political argument in terms of rights and natural rights began in medieval Europe, and how the theory of natural rights was developed in the seventeenth century after a period of neglect in the Renaissance. Dr Tuck provides a new… More
  • The Political Thought of John Locke

    - John Dunn, The Political Thought of John Locke (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969).
    This study provides a comprehensive reinterpretation of the meaning of Locke’s political thought. John Dunn restores Locke’s ideas to their exact context, and so stresses the historical question of what Locke in the Two Treatises of Government was… More
  • “John Locke”

    - Robert Goldwin, "John Locke" in History of Political Philosophy, eds. Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).
    Excerpt: The theme of human freedom characterizes those of Locke’s works which are most important for an understanding of his political thought: in A Letter Concerning Toleration (1689), he wrote of religious freedom; in the Two Treatises of Government… More
  • “Locke’s Political Anthropology and Lockean Individualism”

    - Ruth Grant, "Locke's Political Anthropology and Lockean Individualism," Review of Politics 50 (1988), 42-63.
    Locke’s anthropological accounts do not depict isolated individuals whose behavior is governed by rational calculations of their interests. He is not an “atomistic” individualist; he acknowledges what communitarian critics of liberalism… More
  • “Locke’s Doctrine of Natural Law” by Leo Strauss

    - Leo Strauss, "Locke's Doctrine of Natural Law" in What is Political Philosophy? And Other Studies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959), 197-220.
    Excerpt: Locke’s notion of natural right appears to be much closer to the traditional view as restated by Hooker than to the revolutionary view of Hobbes. Closer inspection would show that this appearance is deceptive and must be traced to Locke’s… More
  • “Locke and the Legislative Principle”

    - Walter Berns, "Locke and the Legislative Principle," The Public Interest 100 (1990), 147-156.
    Excerpt: Like so many of our political principles, this idea of legislative superiority (but not supremacy) derives from John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government. Locke began, as did his predecessor Thomas Hobbes, with an analysis of the condition… More
  • The Spirit of Modern Republicanism

    - Thomas Pangle, The Spirit of Modern Republicanism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988).
    The Spirit of Modern Republicanism sets forth a radical reinterpretation of the foundations on which the American regime was constructed. Thomas L. Pangle argues that the Founders had a dramatically new vision of civic virtue, religious faith, and… More
  • John Locke: Resistance, Religion and Responsibility

    - John Marshall, John Locke: Resistance, Religion and Responsibility (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994).
    This book provides a major new historical account of the development of the political, religious, social and moral thought of the political theorist and philosopher John Locke. It offers reinterpretations of several of his most important works, particularly… More
  • Our Only Star and Compass: Locke and the Struggle for Political Rationality

    - Peter C. Myers, Our Only Star and Compass: Locke and the Struggle for Political Rationality (Lexington, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999)
    In Our Only Star and Compass: Locke and the Struggle for Political Rationality, Peter C. Myers reexamines the role of Locke in liberal political philosophy. Myers considers Locke’s philosophy in relation both to contemporary liberalism and to the great… More
  • “Nature and Happiness in Locke”

    - Thomas West, “Nature and Happiness in Locke” in The Claremont Review of Books, 19 Apr 2004.
    Excerpt: Contrary to Zuckert, I agree with Strauss that Locke’s doctrine of natural law is not a moral doctrine in the strict sense, because Locke is unable to establish by mere reason the fact of a moral obligation, that is, a lawgiver who promulgates… More


  • Steven Smith: Lectures on the Second Treatise

    - Steven Smith, "Introduction to Political Philosophy," Yale Open Courses, Autumn 2006.
    Professor Steven Smith’s lectures on Locke’s Second Treatise from Yale’s “Introduction to Political Philosophy,” available through Yale Open Courses. Autumn 2006. Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise (1-5)… More
  • Thomas West and Steven Forde: John Locke on the Foundations of Natural Law and Natural Right

    - Thomas West and Steven Forde, "John Locke on the Foundations of Natural Law and Natural Right," for the Braniff Graduate Salon, October 17, 2008
    Public discussion with Dr. Thomas West and Dr. Steven Forde of University of North Texas on “John Locke on the Foundations of Natural Law and Natural Right,” for the Braniff Graduate Salon, sponsored by the students of Braniff Graduate School,… More