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Locke, Science and Politics

  • Date Published: December 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107041141

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  • In this groundbreaking book, Steven Forde argues that John Locke's devotion to modern science deeply shaped his moral and political philosophy. Beginning with an account of the classical approach to natural and moral philosophy, and of the medieval scholasticism that took these forward into early modernity, Forde explores why the modern scientific project of Francis Bacon, Pierre Gassendi, Robert Boyle and others required the rejection of the classical approach. Locke fully subscribed to this rejection, and took it upon himself to provide a foundation for a compatible morality and politics. Forde shows that Locke's theory of moral 'mixed modes' owes much to Pufendorf, and is tailored to accommodate science. The theory requires a divine legislator, which in turn makes natural law the foundation of morality, rather than individual natural right. Forde shows the ways that Locke's approach modified his individualism, and colored his philosophy of property, politics and education.

    • Integrates Locke into the scientific tradition, as well as exhibiting his philosophy in a new light
    • Argues that Locke's outlook was less individualistic than often supposed
    • Challenges the widely held belief that the Second Treatise of Government is representative of Locke's general moral outlook
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Steven Forde's Locke, Science, and Politics makes a sparkling contribution to the ever-expanding universe of Locke studies. Forde draws upon his deep learning in political philosophy to produce a finely crafted argument that the core of Locke's moral and political philosophy is not the grasping and callous individualism that critics persistently imagine, but instead a complex teaching of natural law in which a concern for individual natural rights complements a morality of sociability and service. Written with uncommon elegance and lucidity, the book deserves a wide readership.' Peter C. Myers, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire

    'In this excellent new study of Locke, Forde gives a very concise, very clear, and very informative account of early philosophic positions, especially as they relate to issues that will prove important to Locke's moral and political philosophy.' Michael Zuckert, University of Notre Dame

    'The clarity with which [Forde] has framed the fundamental issues with which Locke is grappling makes the work a valuable addition to the ongoing debates in Lockean scholarship.' Michelle E. Brady, The Review of Politics

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107041141
    • length: 268 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. Science and morality
    2. Locke's moral epistemology
    3. The paradoxes of Locke's moral and political teaching
    4. Conclusion: some thoughts concerning education and Lockean happiness.

  • Author

    Steven Forde, University of North Texas
    Steven Forde is Professor of Political Science at the University of North Texas.

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