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A Discourse on Property
John Locke and his Adversaries


  • Date Published: October 1982
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521271400

£ 37.99

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About the Authors
  • John Locke's theory of property is perhaps the most distinctive and the most influential aspect of his political theory. In this book James Tully uses an hermeneutical and analytical approach to offer a revolutionary revision of early modern theories of property, focusing particularly on that of Locke. Setting his analysis within the intellectual context of the seventeenth century, Professor Tully overturns the standard interpretations of Locke's theory, showing that it is not a justification of private property. Instead he shows it to be a theory of individual use rights within a framework of inclusive claim rights. He links Locke's conception of rights not merely to his ethical theory, but to the central arguments of his epistemology, and illuminates the way in which Locke's theory is tied to his metaphysical views of God and man, his theory of revolution and his account of a legitimate polity.

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This study makes an invaluable contribution to our knowledge and understanding of Locke and the natural law and natural rights tradition. There is no comparable study anywhere, in any language. We badly need to have this careful, scholarly examination of that important concept in Locke's political philosophy, property.' John Yoltori

    '… the best and the most important piece of extended analysis of Locke's political theory on the issue of property to have been produced by a twentieth-century scholar.' John Dunn

    '… Tully has succeeded brilliantly in recovering all that was implied in Locke's theory of property.' David Lieberman, The Times Literary Supplement

    '… Undergraduate students of politics will learn from it how carefully a text should be treated.' G. J. Hughes, The Times Higher Education Supplement

    '… a major and profound reassessment of Locke.' Mark Goldie, History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 1982
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521271400
    • length: 212 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.32kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Philosophical Underpinnings:
    1. The contribution of the Essay
    2. The law of nature
    Part II. Natural Rights:
    3. Inclusive natural rights
    4. The background to chapter five of the Second Treatise
    5. Exclusive rights
    6. Property and obligation
    Part III. Conventional Rights:
    7. Property in political society

  • Author

    James Tully, McGill University, Montréal

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