Similarities Between John Locke And The Enlightenment

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Early Enlightenment thinker John Locke presented philosophies which championed inalienable rights: life, liberty, and property. Liberty, in particular, becomes a most crucial topic in the debate deciding under what conditions the state should prohibit speech offensive to individuals or groups. More than a hundred years later, John Stuart Mill built upon and constructed reformed ideas that contrasted the early enlightenment and would transition to the Mature Enlightenment. In his works now classified as neoclassical utilitarianism, Mill also adds invaluable perspectives on societal progression and truth, which add to the everlasting discussion. While Locke’s philosophy would justify that governments can legitimately ban speech because of consent and humans’ impersonal ownership of themselves, Mill’s compelling ideas on progression and truth better avoid the slippery slope of setting precedent for limiting speech- a power a…show more content…
Likely the most effective way in dealing with the tension would be to find Locke’s purpose in presenting this philosophy. In a time of monarchies and principalities, Locke sought to combat the tyrannical rule which led to the suffering of the lower classes. He also sought to prove the illegitimacy of monarchies as evidenced in the First Treatise of Government. Using this idea combatting monarchical rules as Locke’s likely motives, it would follow that he prioritizes maximizing the happiness of the people’s life to save them from their formerly dreadful lives. The idea of liberty seems most likely to stem from the desire to curtail the abuses made by monarchies he deemed illegitimate. Liberty seems to be, thus, not an absolute attribute of a legitimate government. Rather its definition is malleable and based on the more absolute ideas of workmanship and the consent of the
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