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Title: Two Concepts of Consent in Locke’s Political Theory
Authors: Layman, Daniel M.
Keywords: Lockeconsentfreedomgeneral willRousseau
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Daniel M. Layman, "Two Concepts of Consent in Locke’s Political Theory", in: "Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2016) XVIII/2", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016, pp. 111-132
Series/Report no.: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics
(2016) XVIII/2
Locke is famous for arguing—by most accounts unsuccessfully—both that many people have political obligations, and that political obligation depends on freely chosen, deliberate acts of individual consent. My aim here is not to resuscitate this feature of Locke’s thought. Rather, it is to show how and why Locke develops another, largely unnoticed line of reasoning about political consent. According to this direction of thought, political consent is not a discrete act that precedes consensual political relationships, but rather a dimension of ongoing political activity in cooperation with others. Such consent, which I will call ‘participatory consent,’ matters not because political life is morally optional, but because it is a necessary condition of freedom from arbitrary power within political society. This alternative picture of political consent, though not without its difficulties, fairs significantly better than the conception of political consent on which most Locke scholars have long focused.
Type: Book Chapter
ISSN: 1825-5167
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2016) XVIII/2

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