Encyclopedia of Global Justice

2011 Edition
| Editors: Deen K. Chatterjee

Locke, John

  • Gordon A. Babst
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9160-5_477

The English philosopher John Locke (1632–1704) is known for his political philosophy as well as his epistemological theory. Locke bridged his epistemology and political philosophy in his A Letter Concerning Toleration, the first version of which was written in 1685, in which the liberal virtue of toleration was asserted for reason of it being imprudent not to tolerate unorthodox or dissenting views because coercion cannot result in a change in heartfelt conviction as genuine assent can be given only under conditions of liberty. Intolerance backed by threat of force is illegitimate in the realm of belief, and so too is it illegitimate to attempt to rule over a society or people without their willing consent, the political idea for which Locke is most famous. Locke defended English revolutionaries against the monarchy, and denounced the divine right of kings, arguing that there’s no hereditary, patriarchal right to rule descended from Adam and bestowing dominion of the world on his...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon A. Babst
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceWilkinson College Chapman UniversityOrangeUSA