Dissertation Chapter How


Date of publication: 2017-07-09 02:45

After clearing some ground in the First Treatise , Locke offers a positive view of the nature of government in the much better known Second Treatise. Part of Locke’s strategy in this work was to offer a different account of the origins of government. While Filmer had suggested that humans had always been subject to political power, Locke argues for the opposite. According to him, humans were initially in a state of nature. The state of nature was apolitical in the sense that there were no governments and each individual retained all of his or her natural rights. People possessed these natural rights (including the right to attempt to preserve one’s life, to seize unclaimed valuables, and so forth) because they were given by God to all of his people.

Gay Marriage: The Arguments and the Motives

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
- William Blake (Auguries of Innocence)

Frankenstein Thesis Statements and Essay Topics

We are now in a position to understand the character of Locke’s empiricism. He is committed to the view that all of our ideas, everything we can possibly think of, can be broken down into simple ideas received in experience. The bulk of Book II is devoted to making this empiricism plausible. Locke does this both by undertaking an examination of the various abilities that the human mind has (memory, abstraction, volition, and so forth) and by offering an account of how even abstruse ideas like space, infinity, God, and causation could be constructed using only the simple ideas received in experience.

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Does your smaller scope and intensity of wrongdoing mean that the character of human evil within you is really different than the Nazis? If one uses deception to conceal wrongdoing that harms only one person, is it less the character and identity of human evil than the lies used to cover the wrongdoings of an entire government? If you steal a small thing, is it less the nature of evil than those who try to steal the entire world? If you fail to honor the human dignity of one person who is not like you, is it any less a product of ignorance than the evil of those who mass murder the people they identify as different?

Locke defines a quality as a power that a body has to produce ideas in us. So a simple object like a baked potato which can produce ideas of brownness, heat, ovular shape, solidity, and determinate size must have a series of corresponding qualities. There must be something in the potato which gives us the idea of brown, something in the potato which gives us the idea of ovular shape, and so on. The primary/secondary quality distinction claims that some of these qualities are very different from others.

The peasants who settled in the cities as proletariat and petty bourgeois learned to read and write for the sake of efficiency, but they did not win the leisure and comfort necessary for the enjoyment of the city's traditional culture. Losing, nevertheless, their taste for the folk culture whose background was the countryside, and discovering a new capacity for boredom at the same time, the new urban masses set up a pressure on society to provide them with a kind of culture fit for their own consumption. To fill the demand of the new market, a new commodity was devised: ersatz culture, kitsch, destined for those who, insensible to the values of genuine culture, are hungry nevertheless for the diversion that only culture of some sort can provide.

Erdoğan’s increasingly dictatorial rule in Turkey illustrates the dangers of a leader trampling on rights in the name of the majority. For several years, he has shown diminishing tolerance for those who would challenge his plans, whether to build over a park in central Istanbul or to amend the constitution to permit an executive presidency.

In his later years Locke devoted much of his attention to theology. His major work in this field was The Reasonableness of Christianity , published (again anonymously) in 6695. This work was controversial because Locke argued that many beliefs traditionally believed to be mandatory for Christians were unnecessary. Locke argued for a highly ecumenical form of Christianity. Closer to the time of his death Locke wrote a work on the Pauline Epistles. The work was unfinished, but published posthumously. A short work on miracles also dates from this time and was published posthumously.

Thus, despite Portis' ideal vision of Weber's thought to the contrary, social science and political activity are compatible: The social scientist, in conducting research and analyzing facts, is necessarily influenced by his political position, at least to the extent determined by his ultimate values. Weber knew this, and exhorted his fellow social scientists to clarify both for themselves and for others the values driving their investigations. Such a clarification is the prerequisite to objective analysis of facts with a particular purpose or value in mind.

That this instinct for self-interest may assert itself in minds that are ignorant, confused, twisted, broken and utterly unable to know what is truly good is a separate issue that does not negate the fundamental truth of Socrates’ insight that people never willingly harm themselves. Action based on ignorance still has the motive of benefiting the actor but lacks the knowledge to make good of that motive.

"Why rank that method among the great achievements of humanity? Because it makes moral inquiry a common human enterprise, open to everyone. Its practice calls for no adherence to a philosophical system, or mastery of a specialized technique, or acquisition of a technical vocabulary. It calls for common sense and common speech. And this is as it should be, for how a human being should live is everyone's business." [6]

Locke’s views on education were, for the time, quite forward-looking. Classical languages, usually learned through tedious exercises involving rote memorization, and corporeal punishment were two predominant features of the seventeenth century English educational system. Locke saw little use for either. Instead, he emphasized the importance of teaching practical knowledge. He recognized that children learn best when they are engaged with the subject matter. Locke also foreshadowed some contemporary pedagogical views by suggesting that children should be allowed some self-direction in their course of study and should have the ability to pursue their interests.

We will now connect the idea of wrongdoing to the term evil. In the west, the term evil is so overloaded with Christian theological content that it will be necessary to limit the semantic range of the term. The vestige of influence that we wish to identify and eliminate is the cosmological and ontological aspects of the Christian concept of evil. In Christian thought, evil is a term with cosmological contexts that are used to explain the existence (ontology) of human wrongdoing. This style of explaining human evil in the tradition of the Abrahamic religions is connected to concepts of sin, rebellion against God, and the fall of humanity from divine paradise. This is pushing the term evil for more than it is worth in a Socratic perspective.

The acceptance of the smallest discourtesy or the normalization of the slightest disrespect is not just the first step on the road to human evil. It is the whole of the journey. For human evil must not be measured according to the amplitude of its destructive force. It must be understood according to the character of its nature. There is no difference in the character of discourtesy and genocide. The fundamental nature of both is to be an expression of ignorance and fear. The identity of discourtesy and genocide as being evil is the same, because the nature of their origin is the same. Eliminate even the smallest discourtesy and the larger and more destructive results of human evil are never brought into being.

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