Talk:Two Treatises of Government

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Why is there no mention of Locke's complete disregard for the African slave trade in this article? All his arguments concerning slavery obliterate any rationale for the African trade, so how could this be justifiable from a Lockean perspective? It is interesting to note that Locke had substantial investments in the trade. Either way, Locke completely ignores the natural rights of Africans and their slavery which is infinitely more prominent in his society than the slavery he depicts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:43, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

The claim that most scholars "roundly reject" Locke as apologising for slavery is not borne out by my research (Locke, Natural Law, and New World Slavery James Farr Political Theory , Vol. 36, No. 4 (Aug., 2008), pp. 495-522 Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. Article Stable URL:

For example, seems to say otherwise, as do others. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:01, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Question: Outside Force?[edit]

Hi. I do Lincoln-Douglas Debate and it would be a great help if someone could answer this: Did Locke believe that only the people had the right of revolution, or did he believe that an outside force had the right to maintain human rights? Sir Elderberry 14:25, 28 March 2007 (UTC)


This was requested on June 4, 2005! Of Civil Government refers to the Second Treatise only: the title of the whole work is Two Treatises of Government. Those with university access can probably check a page image of the title page at Early English Books Online, if your university subscribes to the service, but I don't think this should be a controversial change. I'd post the picture, but ProQuest has the copyright for this particular image. --RJC 17:54, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

In the beginning of the article it is said: "Locke claims in the Preface to the work that its purpose is to justify William of Orange's ascension to the throne of England after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, though recent scholarship has suggested that the bulk of the writing was completed between 1679-1682."

Towards the end it is said: "However, in his seminal edition of the Two Treatises, Peter Laslett has placed much of Locke's political philosophy within its historical context, resulting in the view that Locke's thesis of the legitimate right to rebellion reflects a desire to legitimise the 1689 Glorious Revolution." This is conflicting, either the first part needs to be placed down towards the bottom, to make it apparent that this idea is being refuted, or one of the two needs to be removed. -anonymous April 29, 2006

--I understand what you mean, but these two ideas are not mutually exclusive. In fact, Locke's work is both a governmental treatise and tract. Historically, it served both purposes, refuting Filmer's argument about patrilinear kingship, and thus simultaneously justifying the Revolution and William's ascension. LifeScience 17:45, 12 January 2007 (UTC)


Commencing major rewrite- I haven't deleted any content (except to correct some errors), though I have added quite a bit and provided a structure for more to be added. I have also brought the formatting more in line with the Style Guide. So long as there is not major opposition to this overhaul, I plan to work on it over the coming weeks. I feel this is necessary for a couple of reasons. First, the article as it stands is very sparse and focuses only on property. Second, and more controversially, I think that what is there is misleading. Locke is taken by some to be the champion of an incipent capitalism, and some do interpret him as being simply the defender of a certain class interest (society as the protection of the propertied). This interpretation is losing ground, however, and I haven't seen it seriously advanced in years. Locke is known in most circles, however, as an advocate of natural rights and of the right of revolution, and the article should reflect this.

To maintain NPOV, however, I suggest expanding the scope of the article. There should be a greater discussion of Locke's theory of natural rights, the state of nature, the law of nature, and parental power, along with the concern for estate, in the justification for political society. I would also suggest that there should be some focus on what legitimate government looks like in the Two Treatises: the rule of law, separation of powers, the law of nature in society, prerogative, etc.

I think that additional subcategories should be added to the categories I have inserted into the text. This will preserve a coherent organizational structure as further edits occur.

I hope this meets with general approval. --RJC 19:50, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

obviously this will be difficult to gain consensus on; "Locke is taken by some to be the champion of an incipent capitalism, and some do interpret him as being simply the defender of a certain class interest". This is the Macpherson argument although I agree that it has, to some extent, gone as an interpretation. I'm reminded of a quote from Vaughn in which she claims "to see Locke as nothing more than an apologist for capitalism is ridiculous" (might be wrong on the exact wording there - but could look it up w/ reference). I would also like to see something about the need for charity within Locke's work - this seems to be where quite a bit of the "action" is in terms of interpreting Locke - Tully and Waldron agree about charity being one of the "laws of nature" within Locke's work ("Charity gives every Man a Title to so much out of another's Plenty, as will keep him from extreme want, where he has no means to subsist otherwise; and a Man can no more justly make use of another's necessity, to force him to become his Vassal...", First Treatise. S. 42). Of course, even after all these years it's never easy and the extent to which a person can be forced to work for another to avoid charity is disputed because of the "vassal" problem - which nicely leads onto a discussion about if capitalism is even possible within Locke's theory (according to Tully it isn't, not least because you can't force someone to work for you if that is the only way they could eat). Anyway, that's some of the things I would suggest... which I could help with.
See also, Tully (1980) "a discourse on property: John locke and his adversaries", Waldron (1988) "the right to private property", Macpherson "the political theory of possessive individualism", Vaughn (1980) "John Locke: economist and social scientist"


This article has been renamed as the result of a move request. --violet/riga (t) 20:17, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

False Information[edit]

Marudubshinki is posting false information about Lockean ideals. I attempted to correct the falsehoods, but he reverted it. Specifically, Marudubshinki upholds that a liberal democracy is a "moral imperative" following Locke's guidelines. Nothing could be further from the truth. I submit two credible sources to disprove this lie. From Stanford's online encyclopedia of philosophy ( "

Ruth Grant has persuasively argued that the establishment of civil government is in effect a two step process. Universal consent is necessary to form a political community. Consent to join a community once given is binding and cannot be withdrawn. This makes political communities stable. Grant writes: "Having established that the membership in a community entails the obligation to abide by the will of the community, the question remains: Who rules?" (Grant, 1987 p. 115) The answer to this question is determined by majority rule. The point is that universal consent is necessary to establish a political community, majority consent to answer the question who is to rule such a community. Universal consent and majority consent are thus different in kind, not just in degree. Grant writes:

Locke's argument for the right of the majority is the theoretical ground for the distinction between duty to society and duty to government, the distinction that permits an argument for resistance without anarchy. When the designated government dissolves, men remain obligated to society acting through majority rule. It is entirely possible for the majority to confer the rule of the community on a king and his heirs, or a group of oligarchs or on a democratic assembly. Thus, the social contract is not inextricably linked to democracy. Still, a government of any kind must perform the legitimate function of a civil government."

Secondly, I submit a selection from Jackson Spievolgel's Western Civilization: Since 1500. I quote, "Locke was hardly an advocate of political democracy..." found on page 430.

I ask that Marudubshinki, or anyone else who feels that Locke demands a democracy, to post information suggesting otherwise.

I haven't added any false information; I and another've reverted your removal of text, that is all
Sorry, this came from a not-at-all careful reading while doing recent changes patrol. Entirely my mistake, as the proposition that Locke was a democrat of any sort is certainly quite disputable. If Locke would endorse any sort of liberal democracy the emphasis would certainly be on "liberal." Apologies all round, but please note that use of edit summaries can avoid this sort of problem in the future. Christopher Parham (talk) 06:10, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Mea culpa, I am a new user. I was just frustrated that people were going back and changing what I had corrected.


I'm removing this heading, which has no information. It seems adequately covered under the "Property" section and I don't see how it could be divided without essentially fracturing the section. I suppose if someone was willing it could be added but it is currently useless. --Jackson 10:35, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Literary Present[edit]

It is required both grammatically and stylistically to maintain the present tense when writing about a literary work or other writing. Although I have only made minor grammatical changes to improve the mechanical aspects of this article, I would sincerely recommend that the entire article be written as to maintain the present tense. At the moment, it is slightly awkward to read. For example, before my changes, a sentence read: "If a state overstepped its..." Clearly, "if" applies to a future situation, and should not be referred to in past tense. Further, Locke's ideas and concepts are not limited to the text's time period. Though people may no longer agree with it, or it is not considered a 'contemporary' political document, the text is still in existence, and therefore, applies in a present tense. Although this in itself is not a large change with regards to the general content (which I find correct), it is an important edit that effects the overall readability, and by extension, the academic 'feel' of the article.LifeScience 17:39, 12 January 2007 (UTC)


There should clearly be some mention of Filmer here as there are a large number of scholars who believe that Locke was responding to Filmer's Patriarchia in the Two Treatises as well. The focus on Hobbes is deceiving. Awadewit 23:55, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you mean. He's mentioned in the section on the First Treatise. RJC Talk 14:00, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry. What I meant to write, but did not, was that there should be some mention of Filmer in the section on the Second Treatise. It was not only the First Treatise that attacked Filmer's theory, as I understand it. Also, the "Critical interpretations" section focuses a lot on Hobbes. Awadewit 19:59, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Ah, I see. I think that Filmer gets mentioned a couple of times in the Second Treatise, but I don't know of any scholars who think that it was written to refute him. I think Laslett (or Ashcraft) suggests that Locke interrupted the composition of the Second Treatise to write the First, i.e., that his attack on Filmer was really something of a side matter. Hobbes gets mentioned in the "critical interpretations" section because a lot of the secondary literature focuses on the relationship between Hobbes and Locke. RJC Talk 14:32, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, actually Laslett argues in his introduction to the Cambridge edition of the Two Treatises that both of Locke's Treatises are part of his rebuttal to Filmer.
  • "As early as 1679 Locke had begun a work on government, and a work with the immediate object of refuting Filmer. He had begun it, it would seem, with Shaftesbury's connivance, perhaps at his request and with his assistance in the matter of sources. But the work he had begun was not the First Treatise, but the Second. He seems to have reached paragraph number 22 of that Treatise, possibly number 57 and even number 236, almost the very end, when he changed his mind sometime in 1680, and decided to write the First Treatise too. We need not look far for the reason why he did this. It was the appearance of Patriarcha in January 1680, together with the enormous growth of Filmer's influence which went on during the rest of that year. The reply he had originally planned was insufficient because it left out of account the most important work of the man he was criticizing and did not contain the phrase-by-phrase refutation which he recognized was now needed." (59)
Also, although I haven't read widely on Lockean political philosophy, I have noticed that scholars discuss interpretations other than the Hobbesian and Kantian ones. Laslett, for example, in his introduction (to keep going with that source), writes:
  • "If Locke wrote his book as a refutation of Sir Robert Filmer, then he cannot have written it as a refutation of Thomas Hobbes." (67)
  • "Filmer's tracts occupy for the Second Treatise the position which has traditionally been reserved for the works of Hobbes." (68)
  • "We must describe Two Treatises, then, as a deliberate and polemically effective refutation of the writings of Sir Robert Filmer" (75-6)
It is because of statements like these that I feel the "Second Treatise" section and the "Critical interpretations" section need to emphasize Filmer more and de-emphasize Hobbes. I feel that the Hobbes school is being given undue weight. Awadewit 16:39, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
You're right. I apologize. Laslett does see Locke as responding to Filmer. Do you want to add a paragraph on Laslett's interpretation? Incidentally, great job reworking the article. RJC Talk 01:59, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
I will add something soon. I am reading the Two Treatises as we write as well as stacks of criticism, so I thought it might be a good time to edit the article. I will probably be working on it off and on over the next few months. Awadewit 04:25, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
What do you make of the fact that Laslett suggests that "the text of the Second Treatise, although written against patriarchalism, could have been originally composed without his having seen Patriarcha at all" (p. 58)? I'm revising a book manuscript, and have gotten around to rereading Laslett. RJC Talk 18:12, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Ah, well you are way ahead of me. I am only revising a dissertation chapter. These are the questions that popped into my mind when I reread the passage you pointed to: What do Filmer's other texts say about patriarchalism? If they make arguments for it, how different are those arguments from the Patriarcha? If Filmer's texts are repetitious, I wouldn't think that it mattered all that much that Locke wrote a lot of the Second Treatise without having seen Patriarcha because he could have read Filmer's other texts and thus still been refuting Filmer's argument (then, of course, you would have to establish Locke read those other texts). It seems to me, though, from Laslett and other critics that I have read that Filmer represented the patriarchal view at this time - is that your understanding? I myself have not read Filmer (I am more interested in Locke as a philosopher of education and identity), but I assume you have read all of his works and can answer these questions. Are you suggesting that the Second Treatise was not written against any particular work or philosopher but rather against an "-ism"? Awadewit Talk 19:08, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
No, it just seemed incongruent when I read it today. You're right, of course: Filmer's other works advance a patriarchal position, as well. RJC Talk 04:09, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

New sections[edit]

I think that we need two new sections: "Historical context" (to explain the broader history surrounding this text - it will be obscure to many readers, I think) and "Reception" (how was Locke's work received in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries? how was it used?). Awadewit 19:50, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Would anybody be opposed to my cutting the "Interpretations" section and trying to work the interpretations into the discussion of the Treatises itself? To me the section is privileging an obscure academic debate of the Treatise and skews the focus of the article away from the primary text. By trying to integrate the interpretations into a discussion about the text, I feel that we would be giving more weight to the text rather than to the critics, which is what I believe the page is supposed to do. Awadewit Talk 07:07, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

I think that we should keep the section. How would one integrate both Macphearson's and Laslett's views on property, for example? Or Strauss' and Dunn's on the law of nature? That would make the entire article read like an obscure academic debate. And the Two Treatises, unlike perhaps other books, are mired in controversy: an article that failed to note this would miss an essential feature. The best resolution I can think of is to treat the debate thematically. As to the new section on historical context, haven't we already done that by linking to the articles on the Glorious Revolution, the Exclusion Crisis, the Rye House Plot, etc.? I'm not sure what repeating all of that information here would accomplish, other than to make the article look more like Ashcraft's Revolutionary Politics and Locke's Two Treatises: long on English history, short on Locke. RJC Talk 01:27, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree with you that it should be thematic and I was thinking that we would put the most important interpretations into the article itself. Something like this in the section on property: "Locke's definition of property has been interpreted in three major ways..." or whatever the number turns out to be. I would hope that we could avoid making the article turn into a petty academic debate, but I don't actually see how we can structure the article fairly in any other way because we can't present the "pure" Locke and then all of the interpretations - the whole point is that any presentation of Locke will be an interpretation. And, by the way, Locke's Two Treatises is not unique to controversy. I think that Plato's Republic or some of Rousseau's texts have got it beat, in philosophy anyway. (I'm not done with the "Historical context" section, by the way. That was just me moving stuff around from the lead and fudging with it a bit.) Awadewit Talk 02:01, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Bit of a question on the "Historical context" section. Do you think that we need to present Ashcraft's view there? From what I've read, most scholars agree with Laslett and since wikipedia is supposed to present the consensus view, that is what I was trying to do. Also, according to Goldie, Laslett is consensus (if you want a source on him being the consensus). My idea with the "Historical context" section was not to present lots of competing theories (that could come in the publication section or later) but actually to present a "standard" history of the time for readers unfamiliar with it. Many students read this text who have very little knowledge of the history surrounding it - that is what I thought the "Historical context" would be for - what Laslett, Aschcraft and everybody else would agree on. I do not believe that users are industrious enough to click on all of those links and I do believe that articles on pieces of literature and philosophy should situate them in their historical context as a courtesy to the reader. Awadewit Talk 02:27, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Despite all of the controversies, the text is not so contested that we couldn't say anything of substance without taking sides or saying "here is what people say regarding Locke's law of nature." Laslett suggests that the Hobbesian undertones may be due to Locke's unsuccessful attempt to break from Hobbes's influence; Strauss, that they are Locke's true position. But both agree that Locke's statements in part support the medieval natural law tradition, and in part point toward a more hedonistic understanding; there is a great deal of substance that can be stated without coming down on either side. So, I think that we can keep the general format as it is. As to Ashcraft, I'd say that he is essential. I was unaware that Goldie had sided with Laslett; I know that Milton wrote a piece called something like "Dating Locke's Second Treatise" that's in my office on the dispute. In any event, Locke scholarship is so fragmented, so split into warring ghettos, that everyone claims to be the consensus position (except for Straussians — we just claim to be right). Ashcraft's treatment is certainly the most exhaustive that I've seen. RJC Talk 04:36, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I still feel that the page is privileging 20th-century academic debates, though, by separating them out. For example, what about the nineteenth century? My reception section only covers the 18th century (and I haven't even gotten to the Continent yet). What do you think about integrating a "Modern academic controversies" subsection into the larger "Reception and legacy" section? Awadewit Talk 05:31, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Also, it is not just Goldie that is siding with Laslett. Every "introductory" work I have read so far on Locke sides with Laslett and mentions Ashcraft in a footnote (if they mention him at all). That is why I thought we should side with Laslett as well, when it comes to the dating. Awadewit Talk 05:31, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't think there's a problem if we privilege 20th/21st Century scholarly opinion over 19th or 18th Century views: what is good from the earlier periods should have a contemporary defender if it is to find inclusion in the article. And Locke's reception and influence is a matter of scholarly dispute, so I don't see what is gained by subsuming modern controversies under the heading of reception and legacy.
Well, since I am coming at this from a literary and a historical perspective rather than a philosophical perspective, I am not looking for what is "good" or "right" necessarily. I am not even sure that such things exist in the way you suggest. I do not feel that it is fair to exclude the interpreters of other centuries; they used Locke for their own purposes and those should be explained here. Those purposes are not ours and those interpretations are not ours. Further, of course the influence is a matter of dispute, but we can handle it the way such things are handled on every other page about literary influence - we go with what the general agreement is or if this is some major disagreement, we outline that. I think that this page has to reflect both a philosophical and a literary understanding of Locke. Awadewit Talk 07:46, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
As to the Laslett/Ashcraft debate, I read or reread some of the material today, and I don't think that Laslett's status as the consensus position is meant quite the way you take it. Goldie's introduction to the 6-vol. set on Locke's reception says that every scholar agrees with Laslett's view in its general aspect, though there are some disagreements as to details. Ashcraft agrees with Laslett in this way: the Two Treatises were written before the Revolution. Goldie himself, however, sides with Ashcraft, and J. R. Milton lists him among those who follow Ashcraft's dating in "Dating Locke's Second Treatise. Milton ultimately comes down on Ashcraft's side, as well.
So, there are two questions, it seems. 1) Was the book substantially completed before Locke went into exile in 1683? to which the consensus answer is yes and is often attributed to Laslett. 2) Was the Second Treatise started first, in 1679–80, and then put aside to write the First Treatise (Laslett's position), or was the book composed in the order we now have it, over the years 1681–3 (Ashcraft's). The consensus on the second question seems to lean toward Ashcraft. RJC Talk 04:20, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Oh, yes. I was not being specific enough. I believe that the consensus is that Laslett is right about the earlier dating (i.e. 1679-81ish) but there are little squabbles about the remaining years. I am not sure about the consensus regarding the remaining squabbles. I am not sure that they are important for this page because in every introductory Locke book, they just mention Laslett as overturning the 1689 date. That, I believe, is the fundamental point for an encyclopedia entry on the Two Treatises. What is your opinion regarding that? I was simply going to mention the Laslett and leave it at that; too much detail and the reader will get lost, I think. Awadewit Talk 07:46, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
I personally think that Ashcraft is right, based upon Milton's article, and I haven't read anything published since Ashcraft announced his break with Laslett that has supported Laslett's position (other than Laslett himself). Milton thinks that the issue is central to how we interpret the Two Treatises. I disagree, but then again I'm against the entire Cambridge effort to interpret texts almost solely by the context. If the Second Treatise belongs to the Exclusion Crisis (Laslett's date), then the "resistance" spoken of in Ch. 19 isn't revolution as we normally understand it: it is a constitutional amendment in the form of the Exclusion Bill. If it instead belongs to the latter period, after the death of the Exclusion Bill and Charles II's prorogation of Parliament, then it is perfectly reasonable that Locke should actually mean military revolution. I think that the text unambiguously points toward revolution rather than legislative alteration, no matter when Locke wrote the Two Treatises, but if you think that the historical context is vital in the same way the the Cambridge historicists do, I don't think that you can be quiet about the dispute. In any case, we're talking about a clause and a footnote or two, so I don't think we need to worry about information overload. RJC Talk 14:54, 10 May 2007 (UTC)


Does anyone have the citations for the rest of this page? I don't want to put little fact tags everywhere, but a lot of this material needs to be cited. Awadewit Talk 04:02, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

The ones I see are started in Laslett's introdution to the Two Treatises, but I don't have time to go through just yet and fill them in. I am reading an article of his that notes that the First Treatise breaks off midsentence, however, and so will replace that fact tag. RJC Talk 21:45, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
I was not referring specifically to the tags - I was referring to the rest of the page. I could add tags everywhere that we need a citation, but I don't really want to do that. What I was wondering was whether you or someone has the citations for the rest of the page (the First and Second Treatise section and the "Modern controversies" section). Awadewit Talk 23:41, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, I think that what is said in the "Controversies" section points rather unambiguously to the works by the named interpreters in the the bibliography, so I don't think you need fact tags for that. What sort of statements do you feel need citation? RJC Talk 14:28, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, I was thinking of trying to improve this article rather significantly and attempting in a few months to go for FA. For that, we will need inline citations. We would need them even for GA. I agree with you that if this were a regular academic work, we wouldn't need the citations, but wikipedia's citation standards are working off of a different philosophy (for obvious reasons). WP:ATT. Awadewit Talk 18:44, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
I'd like to second Awadewit's request for inline citations for that section; that's why I added the "Unreferenced Section" template to that section. Cooljeanius (talk) (contribs) 18:03, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

This article really does need citations for the parts of the essays quoted at a minimum, so they can be found more easily and read in context by someone wishing to go more indepth. I would do it, but I havent read all of the Second Treatise.--Metallurgist (talk) 17:41, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

republicanism or liberalism?[edit]

i have added republicanism category, because locke was a typical representative of classical republicanism. but i would like to remowe classical liberalism category because liberalism is modern invention and there were no classical form of it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:13, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Such an edit would be a violation of NPOV, given the fact that the majority of scholars identify Locke with liberalism rather than with republicanism. Majority view or minority, it is a view with prominent adherents in the secondary literature. RJC Talk Contribs 01:20, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Strauss, Armitage, and "Philosophic Tract"[edit]

I was the one who cut this paragraph of text from the article, which was then reversed.

Regarding the relation between Locke's thought and that of Hobbes, the core of the dispute centers on the literary character of the Two Treatises. Those who support a connection of any sort treat the work as having been intended, at least in part, as a philosophic tract, and therefore as potentially speaking beyond the immediate political context. Those who deny such a connection insist that the Two Treatises are nothing more than a particularly popular remnant of an ideologically driven political contest, and were not meant to address any broader questions.

Fair enough for the reversal; it was probably excessive on my part to cut it. However, it is a problematic piece of text, because it combines two issues: 1. Locke's relation to Hobbes, 2. Whether Locke intended this as a philosophic tract or a merely political one. The structure of the paragraph suggests that the answer to (1) hinges on our judgment about (2), but this seems clearly mistaken. It's quite possible that Locke could have intended this as a philosophical tract without having ever read Hobbes: he could have been responding to other elements of natural law theory or theology, etc., even without Hobbes' involvement in any way. So the question of their relation does not directly impact the literary character of the Two Treatises as a philosophic tract.

I described this as the introduction of POV because it coheres as an account primarily in light of an assumption that Locke was writing under persecution, so that he could not openly acknowledge his debts to Hobbes, even though he intended to write something that would be clear to attentive philosophical readers in the future. Thus this paragraph sets up only two options: that Locke wrote a philosophical tract without naming Hobbes under conditions of persecution, or that he didn't have any view on Hobbes and should be read in light of historicist presumptions (meaning in this case historical determinism). This set of options obviously doesn't exhaust the possibilities, however; plenty of people think Locke wrote a philosophic tract, but primarily in serious engagement with the religious and other views of his time - see e.g. Waldron's book.

Anyway, I've tried to rephrase the paragraph introduction, to make clear that the stakes of this paragraph only involve the Strauss/Cambridge School disagreement, rather than academic views on Locke as such. Thoughts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:48, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Addendum to the above: I started to revise the paragraph after writing the above, and came to the conclusion that it can't be saved in current form, and that it needs a fuller revision of its basic structure and presumptions. However, I have no interest in starting an edit war. So, what do others think about how its logical structure could be repaired? (talk) 21:53, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
While the the two questions (Locke/Hobbes, character of the Two Treatises) are logically distinct, they are combined in scholarly discussions. I wrote that paragraph to describe the literature, not reveal every position that a future scholar could conceivably (or ought) to take. True, this is a Straussian-Cambridge centered view, but I don't know of many people outside those camps that deal with the issue at all. I also don't see the POV issue here. It is true that each position is plausible only the basis of certain contested assertions, but neither position is presented as the truth. This is all that WP:NPOV requires. (By the way, Locke could have been responding to Hobbes without fear of persecution. Indeed, his failure to respond to Hobbes would mark the Two Treatises as an inferior work philosophically, as Hobbes was the last great philosophic thinker. The non-Straussians I know who see Locke as responding to Hobbes don't care why Locke didn't mention Hobbes. In any event, the paragraph says nothing about persecution.) RJC TalkContribs 02:43, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
I've taken a cut at revising the paragraph in hopes of making the stakes clearer. In the previous version, the intro to the sentence made it sound as if the stakes were general, rather than localized to the Strauss/Cambridge pairing, so I've tried to narrow that somewhat. What concerned me as POV was the framing of the options, which sounded deeply Straussian in description to me in its terminologies and apparent philosophic tract/historicism pairing. I've tried to rephrase in ways that are less distinctive of that portrayal. (The description of Strauss's view higher up made a point of mentioning Locke's disavowal, so persecution was already implied by that, as I read this paragraph.) I agree that the literature has this odd structure of positions that move together, but I think the previous version will confuse unwary readers. Maybe there was something in the emphasis of the previous paragraph that I'm missing, however?2601:7:2340:10:1001:30B8:DC38:2D74 (talk) 07:19, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

In regard to another recent revert: you pointed me toward sections 123-126 about a lack of interest in justice or indifference to it. In fact, the relevant line is in 124: "yet men being biassed by their interest, as well as ignorant for want of study of it, are not apt to allow of it as a law binding to them in the application of it to their particular cases." Note the latter part of this sentence, which states his logical claim: men are bad judges of their own case. This doesn't show a lack of interest in justice. What it shows is a recurrent failure to judge well in one's own case, which is why we need a neutral judge. The point is about general reliability in one's own case, not about a rejection of justice. The other points just have to do with determinacy and enforcement, again not things that show that most people lack a respect for justice. There are some few who are like lions and tigers, and therefore enemies of mankind, but most people are respecters of the law of nature who make errors. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:7:2300:13F:1D9E:7539:9178:C4B0 (talk) 20:55, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Can we get rid of the "Conquest and slavery" section in its present form?[edit]

This section is not cited, and is written like a piece of Locke exegesis. It also contains claims that seem to be howlers, e.g., that there's some sort of near-consensus among Locke scholars that Locke wasn't trying to justify slavery. Look, a lot of people write about Locke in academia. Pick any bad thing, and there's probably someone who's trying to make a career showing that Locke defended it. Here's a good article evincing the lack of consensus about Locke's stance on slavery; "". (Even though it's a paywall, you can read the first paragraph to get the idea.) I realize that it's unpleasant to delete existing content, but as it stands the present section seems misleading more than informative. Or if someone wants to rewrite it, by all means. (talk) 02:31, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

Long term vandalism[edit]

I went back to this edit [1] and eliminated some old vandalism and a few paragraphs added by one of the vandals that is unsourced and appears to be unrelated to the topic (see [2]). I'm not sure I caught everything so someone might want to followup. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 23:44, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

Consistent structure to first and second treatises[edit]

The two sections on the two treatises need to be properly structured so that they both are similar in layout. The first is not sectioned out like the second and the intro to the second could use some expanding, along with proper citation of the first paragraph.

The article could also use more information on the reception of the work, perhaps even a section on modern influence. This section could include a picture of the modern print of the book.

Mikereynolds4444 (talk) 05:16, 29 January 2018 (UTC)