Apr 16 2010
Download the second chapter from John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government (1690):
Read the second chapter “On the State of Nature”, then answer the following questions:
- Why does Locke imagine a time or situation which he calls the “state of nature”, why does it appear necessary for him to write about a form of existence that is ‘pre-social’, as it were?
- In sec. 6 Locke maintains that the state of nature is a state of freedom but not a state of license – what does he mean by that? What consequences does that have for his theory of social interaction and political power?
- In sec. 14, Locke is reacting to the question whether the state of nature actually existed – how does he do that? And do you see any particular relevance of his reasoning in relation to the concept of America in the mind of his contemporaries?
Even though we talked about some of these issues, I suppose that these questions deserve some thought (and less Wikipedia searches) of your own.
That’s the bad news, probably, but the good news is that you will have more time to answer these questions. There will be no lecture on Tuesday for reasons that I will explain in a separate post on the blog (and a news on StudIP). While you will have two weeks to hand in your answers, you also will have to read another text in preparation for next session, which you will find here:
Enjoy and Good Luck!