Consensual Government and the Politics of Probability
This chapter illustrates how Locke's Second Treatise can be read as a revolutionary call for subjects to employ this new notion of probable judgment. In order to teach his readers to be active, critical, and even revolutionary members of the polity, Locke sets out to convince them not only that they are capable of making crucial determinations concerning the limits of political power, but also that they are obligated to do so. His account of the state of nature is not simply a heuristic device illustrating an abstract theory of government, but an attempt to provide tangible support to his contention that individuals have a natural right of judgment. Along the way he seeks to guide his readers in the proper exercise of this capacity by showing them the reasonableness of limiting their judgment to the concrete, visceral experiences of neediness and injury.
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