John Locke Free Will Analysis

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According to John Locke, it is not the Will of a human being that makes him or her free. The Will is simply a faculty of freedom, insofar as a person who expresses Free Will is simply acting freely in accordance with his or her desires. For Locke, It is the person who is free; he proclaims that “free will” is a misleading phrase, whereby “freedom” and the human “will” are two separate categories which must be clearly defined in order to be properly accounted for. A Person who is free may do what he or she wills.
Freedom, for Locke, consists in a person’s power or ability to act or not act on his or her will. He states in his essay, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, that “a man in respect of willing, or the act of volition, when any action in his power is once proposed to his thoughts...cannot be free” (§23). That is, a man is not at liberty to decide whether or not to will. For instance, if he is presented with a thought, which leads to the willing of an action or nonaction (that is in his power) in accordance with that …show more content…

Brogan’s work John Locke and Utilitarianism, Brogan interprets Locke’s Essay with the endeavor of elucidating on Locke’s liberal ideals on what should be considered the standard of morality. “The standard or criterion of morality (or “virtue”) is the good (interpreted as the happiness) of all” (Brogan, pg. 80). Locke has an egoistic notion of morality, in which the self-interest of others is what constitutes morality for him--and ultimately the greatest good, which extends to public happiness. “Locke is an empiricist in holding that the materials of knowing and choosing come from external senses or from the internal perceptions of the operations of the mind (within which are included pleasure and pain)” (Brogan, pg. 93). The will, for Locke, is merely an indicator of one’s ability to make a decision. The decision comes from the existence of the possibility to act or not act, in a situation that has a causal effect of good or

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