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Subject:  Re: Week 2 Reading: Locke's The Second Treatise Date:  8/17/2012  8:57 AM
Author:  tabs101 Number:  23699 of 23810

I think an idea that keeps coming up to me as I read Locke is that a state of nature does not seem persuasive, as if it ever existed. I know Hobbes also wrote about a state of nature. Are these descriptions meant to be hypothetical? Or should we treat them as literal. If literal, it seems to me that as soon as you are living with more than person, authority tends to be exerted by one over the other. Once authority is exerted, for all practical purposes, can't we say that one does not live in a state of nature?

Let me work on defining some terms

State of Nature- The condition of man before he lived under the control of a government

Has man ever lived in a state of nature? It seems to me he has not.

How do we know when someone is living under the control of a government?

First, the government does not have to be accepted or acknowledged by the subject. It is easy to imagine someone asserting that the people who claim to comprise the government are not legitimate. This, however, does not change the fact that people are trying to control you, which is the definition of authority. If people are trying to control you, then, whether you like it or not, there is a claim on limiting your power. This is what government does. Government limits the power of the individual, either peacefully or coercively.
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