John Locke Conception on freedom

In his Second Treatise of Government, John Locke wrote an excellent defense of individual liberty.

Locke's Views on Freedom and the Existence of Law

Locke claims that in the state of nature before the development of political institutions, humans had full freedom, i.e., the ability to enjoy their persons and goods as they saw appropriate. Locke defined freedom in terms of an individual’s rights in the commonwealth, such as his right to a livelihood, well-being, liberty, and property. It is true that freedom is the ability to discover oneself and pursue one’s goals to the utmost extent possible as a person wants as long as nobody gets rebuffed in this right in the process. This paper shall argue how Locke’s views on freedom are the most ideal and sound and that freedom is based mostly on the existence of law.

Freedom as Presented by Locke

Locke’s main contribution to western thought was a strong notion of freedom. Most significantly and markedly unlike notions before, it was an idea that could constantly flow via a political way of life and a contemporary philosophical psychology, it exemplifies itself at each level of significance in the two areas and therefore brings them close (Locke 9). This model of freedom is presented by Locke in many number of forms all through his formulation the Second Treatise on Civil Government. He writes that where law is absent, freedom is absent as well (Locke 12). He simply means that freedom is not absolute but is administered in a certain manner in that the above statement is always factual. There is no place where freedom is not subject to laws.

Freedom and Boundaries

This might sound absurd; however, Locke depicts that the contrary supposition is even odder. To think that freedom is unconditional, as he states it that it entails liberty for each individual to do whatever they want, implies that that it can never be and with confidence or according to some reasons, be thought of as freedom(Locke 31). When people talk freedom, they constantly mean free behavior; conduct that can be established with some surety and this always means the presence of regulation which forms the basis of the manner in which the consistency works (Locke 32). With freedom which has no bounds, a person that will, for instance, permit people to fly if they want to, but clearly this is illogicality of the mind, no human has the ability to fly. Otherwise, this freedom will need to come far from the consistent behavior that humans are not accustomed to, and therefore it makes it contradictory and ridiculous.

The Constancy of Freedom and Law

Locke argues that freedom clearly generates itself as freedom or builds out of itself and reproduces in a manner that it acts as freedom, in some constant way. Simply put, it establishes its own constancy which is clearly law. Law, therefore, can be thought of as being in accordance with a certain constancy of freedom, is not generating from outside however it is clearly building and sheltering freedom (Locke 35). With absolute freedom, there is no built-up of this constancy and henceforth it ought not to have any inner basis for things to act in harmony with what it says. This consistency, He basically regards as reason or nature, and this is constancy itself, the possibility that humans may be sure by feeling or expression, i.e., by nature and natural abilities although this establishing is not inborn- that something shall occur.

Law and the End of Freedom

Limitation, when comprehended as the constancy created by freedom, gets to be bearing or simply directedness and therefore law becomes that which seems to broaden freedom as Locke states that the end of the law is not to eliminate or limit but to protect and broaden freedom (Locke 39). This may be seen as tautology however as people in psychology would inform, there is less that is not this way and if tautologies irritate a person then probably they are reading the wrong things (Locke 40). The intent of the law is to safeguard and broaden freedom when freedom itself is what establishes the law. End of law signifies the need for freedom and moreover the end of law originates from the end of freedom as Locke puts it. Both freedom and law develop into one another.

The Power of Guardians and Education

For law only is only applicable those who are free and those who can reason or conduct themselves in a manner that is in accordance with it, and Locke claims that children do not have this ability. Children cannot reason (Locke 42). Guardians henceforth have a certain power over the youngsters which ought to be differentiated from the paternalistic authority of the superior–that is, his unquestioned, unlimited power and almost limitless freedom that is a freedom that can go beyond the rule-boundedness so say the least.

Education, therefore, is an act that such power participates in, it is in this area of this power’s outflow. It comprises a slow process of bringing up youngsters into the kind of freedom that depicts the free human. As per se, it entails teaching them about nature and reason and making them respect the law- making their actions rule-bound (Locke 45). It is clearly evident that the clear kind of tautology that is being discussed here. It is an educational tautology emanating from how Locke tries to depict what ought to be rule-bound or under law the youngster must be under a rule to be free.

Locke's View of Freedom in Society

Locke’s conception of freedom was known a state of affairs that is there between people. Freedom entails interpersonal correlation. A given correlation is deemed free to the degree that nobody, even the government, infringes the rights of other people. A social relationship is characterized as free if all players involved in that correlation can apply their equal and shared rights with no coercive intrusion by other people (Locke 47). With this approach, it is probable to have a political state of perfect freedom. This will comprise a society whose government is constrained to the fortification and implementation of individual rights. To the degree that the powers of the government are constrained in this manner, then it is said that there exists a free society. This viewpoint of freedom had been lauded as value-driven.

Locke's Notion of the State and Freedom

Freedom in a Lockean state, as Locke puts it, is where individuals serve their interest in safeguarding their rights and existing harmoniously. It goes against the common Aristotelian notion of the state that views the state as the natural outcome if societal growth- a development that Locke admits to but rebuffs the non-consensual attribute of the Aristotelian state (Locke 48). The notion of the state put together into a single body and hence allows putting populaces into the courses that the rulers deem fit guaranteeing that the communal as a whole thrives (Locke 50). Locke sees the state in the form of a ship and captain analogy. He sees the state as a tool whose main purpose is to offer a secure framework for the life, property, and liberty of the populace. Freedom, therefore, ought to be constrained by the state.

Contrasting Views: Locke vs. Hobbes

Counterarguments, John Locke, build a lot on Hobbes philosophy; however, their viewpoints are diverse. Thomas Hobbes thoughts on freedom are that freedom symbolizes the lack of opposition or external obstacles. In contrast, Locke uses the social concept and law; he defines freedom as lack of coercion in human actions and for freedom to exist there has to be law. Hobbes believed that humans are limited from realizing their goals by internal obstacles hence it is said they lack power. When those hindrances are external, then humans do not have the freedom to use their powers. The character of outer hindrances is not important; freedom hence according to Hobbes never refers to a social correlation between rational agents.

According to Locke, the government is just a tool that constantly relies on the consent of individuals and ought not to infringe the maximum stipulations of safeguarding peace, freedom, and prosperity. Even though the law has to be in place, the government has no mandate in infringing the people’s freedom in pretense of implementing the law. People have the right to freedom, liberties, life as well as their properties and hence have the freedom to do whatever they want with it as long as they do not violate the rights of others.

Work Cited


Locke, John. Second Treatise of Government: An Essay Concerning the True Original, Extent and End of Civil Government. John Wiley & Sons, 2014.

(Locke 12)

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