Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Locke's theory of justified resistance an explanation and defense
by Reinisch, Peter, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2014, 199; 3620241
Abstract (Summary)

One of the main goals of John Locke's Second Treatise Of Government, is to explain when it is morally permissible for someone to resist their government with force. I call this "John Locke's Theory of Justified Resistance." How Locke derived this theory was be weaving together his thoughts about the nature of God, the law of nature, human nature, human understanding, natural rights, human history, and government. The result is what I think to be and what I hope to prove is a comprehensive and internally coherent moral theory. The theory provides for us the conditions and circumstances in which someone is morally justified to resist their government. Although Locke's theory has been very influential it has not been without its critics. Some of the criticisms have been answered and some have not. In my dissertation I provide answers to the critics. How I answer the critics is by either explaining the theory or by explaining the relevant aspects of Locke's thought that come into play in a given situation. The best way to do those two things is to appeal most often to Locke's own words. Locke is his best defender. Besides explaining the theory and providing answers to the critics, I also examine hypothetical and historical cases studies and apply Locke's theory to them. These case studies test Locke's theory and they allow us to see both the strength and the relevance of the theory, while also helping us gain a deeper understanding of the theory. In the end I offer my own disagreement and criticism of the theory, but I think without undermining Locke's great achievement of giving us an invaluable theory of justified resistance.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: MANDLE, JON
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Philosophy
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 75/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy
Keywords: Government, Law of nature, Locke, Morality, Rebellion, Resistance
Publication Number: 3620241
ISBN: 9781303899898
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