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The Making of Modern Liberalism$
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Alan Ryan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148403

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148403.001.0001

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Locke on Freedom

Locke on Freedom

Some Second Thoughts

(p.233) 12 Locke on Freedom
The Making of Modern Liberalism

Alan Ryan

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how John Locke's account of government in his Two Treatises can be a solution to the problem of reconciling freedom and authority—a central problem of liberal politics. It argues that Lockean individualism allows the individual no ultimate freedom to decide his or her own ends—these being set by God—but disagrees with the notion that this sort of freedom is necessary to a defense of the rule of law. The chapter first considers the connections between liberty and Locke's account of property, as well as the connections between freedom and republicanism, before discussing Hannah Arendt and Sheldon Wolin's dismissal of liberalism as an essentially “privatized” view of the world. It suggests that Locke's vision of freedom is not a particularly political one, although this is not a knockout blow for the “privatization” thesis.

Keywords:   freedom, John Locke, government, authority, individualism, liberty, property, republicanism, Hannah Arendt, liberalism

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