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Locke’s Tracts and the anarchy of the religious conscience

UNSPECIFIED (2015) 'Locke’s Tracts and the anarchy of the religious conscience.' European Journal of Political Theory, 14 (1). 3 - 18. ISSN 1474-8851

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Abstract

© The Author(s) 2013 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav. This article reconstructs the main arguments in John Locke’s first political writings, the highly rhetorical, and often obscure, Two Tracts on Government (1660–1662). The Tracts support the government’s right to impose religious ceremonies on its people, an astonishing fact given Locke’s famous defense of toleration in his later works. The reconstruction of the Tracts developed here allows us to see that rather than a pessimistic view of the prospects for peace under religious diversity, what mainly animates the young Locke is a desire to defend the rule of law against an anarchical conception of religious freedom. The article also argues that the evolution of Locke’s thinking on religious freedom was in large part governed by Locke’s attempt to interpret religious freedom in a way that avoids its having anarchical implications.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2014 11:21
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2019 18:16
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/10889

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