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The Political Thought of John Locke

The Political Thought of John Locke
An Historical Account of the Argument of the 'Two Treatises of Government'


  • Date Published: September 1982
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521271394

£ 27.99

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About the Authors
  • 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 intending to claim. By adopting this approach, he reveals the predominantly theological character of all Locke's thinking about politics and provides a convincing analysis of the development of Locke's thought. In a polemical concluding section, John Dunn argues that liberal and Marxist interpretations of Locke's politics have failed to grasp his meaning. Locke emerges as not merely a contributor to the development of English constitutional thought, or as a reflector of socio-economic change in seventeenth-century England, but as essentially a Calvinist natural theologian.

    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a highly original and brilliantly argued study … Dunn's approach yields something entirely new in Locke scholarship: a full-length portrait of Locke's mind, shown in its evolution in all its stresses and inconsistencies. The result is a book equally outstanding in its learning and its intelligence.' The American Historical Review

    '… an outstanding book which should be read by every serious student of the history of philosophy for its historiographical good sense'. Philosophical Quarterly

    'Important, fascinating.' Christopher Hill, Durham University Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 1982
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521271394
    • length: 312 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 139 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.345kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I:
    1. Introduction: John Locke in history: the problems
    2. The developing mind
    3. The essays on the law of nature
    4. The essay on toleration
    Part II:
    5. The Two Treatises and exclusion
    6. Sir Robert Filmer
    7. Locke and Hobbes
    Part III:
    8. The premises of the argument
    9. The state of nature
    10. The creation of the legitimate policy
    11. Prerogative
    12. Public good and reason of state
    13. The conditions for legitimate resistance
    14. The law of nature
    Part IV:
    15. The coherence of a mind 1
    16. The coherence of a mind 2
    17. The coherence of a mind 3
    Part V:
    18. The calling: tradition and change
    19. Conclusion

  • Author

    John Dunn

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