John Locke 's Theory Of Theory And Social Discourse

1253 Words6 Pages
In 1690, John Locke, an Englishman, wrote his Second Treatise on Government which argued for a government featuring a societal sovereign that protected property. A half century later, Jean Jacques Rousseau published Discourse on Inequality, a piece that explored the proprietary origin and distribution of equality while subtly critiquing John Locke’s theories. By the time Karl Marx began to explore bourgeois society and its shortcomings, Rousseau was an established Locke critique who Marx’s On the Jewish Question and Communist Manifesto could contend with. The largest point of contention between the three would be the concept of property and the source of inequality. By exploring the major theories of each political philosopher, a muddled picture is drawn featuring the crosshairs of theory and social discourse. Only the work of a more modern theorist, Michel Foucault, could draw coherency from Locke’s critics in Discipline and Punish. In this paper I will discuss the dominant concepts of each theorist in regard to Locke’s Second Treatise, ultimately exposing the similarities imposed on Rousseau and Marx by Foucault.
John Locke believed all individuals had a right to life, liberty, and property. Property, being a natural right, exists in a state of perfect freedom and equality. According to Locke, every man “has a property in his own person” that “nobody has a right to but himself” (Locke, 19). In consequence, all labours of one’s body are extensions of their inherent
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