John Locke on Social Contract - Dictionary of Arguments
Höffe I 251
Social Contract/Locke/Höffe: Among the obligations that prevail in Locke's pre-contractual natural state is the right, in the absence of public authority, to punish the violation of the relevant divine and natural commandments itself. Locke sees the only way out of leaving the natural state in the establishment of a political or civil society(1). Cf. >State/Locke.
Religious Reasons/Höffe: (...) Locke's legitimation [still contains] pre-modern elements, with which the philosopher, despite his appreciation of reason and experience, methodically never sufficiently emancipated himself from his puritanical origin.
State: (...), for the establishment of a state, the concept of contract (...) takes on its most important role.
1) It explains the origin of state power, 2) determines its function and 3) defines its limits. All three tasks are combined in the raison d'être of the state, in the defence against all external and internal
Höffe I 252
dangers that threaten the basic goods of citizens, life, freedom and property. >Property/Locke.
Liberalism: With its typically liberal purpose of averting danger and the associated protection of property, Locke answers the question he poses himself: What motive induces purpose-rational persons who seek to maximize the benefits defined in terms of freedom to voluntarily renounce their natural freedom and power and submit to the fetters of a legal and state order that henceforth regulates what they do and do not do by force?
Locke's answer: To overcome the dangers of partiality and powerlessness, private justice is abolished in favour of a common impartial arbitrator who decides according to fixed rules.
Problem: (...) a twofold legal uncertainty (...): people do not always have enough power to enforce their rights and if they do have the power, they run the risk of taking too much.
1. Locke, Second treatise of Government, 1689/90, Chap. VII._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016