John Locke (1632-1704)  Freedom, Democracy, & Identity 


  1. Things are good or evil only in reference to pleasure or pain.  That we call good, which is apt to cause or increase pleasure, or diminish pain in us; or else to procure or preserve us in the possession of any other good or absence of any evil.  And, on the contrary, we name that evil which is apt ot produce or increase any pain, or diminish any pleasure in us. (259)
  2. Let a drunkard see that his health decays, his estate wastes; discredit and diseases, and the want of all things, even of his beloved drink attends him in the course he follows: yet the . . . habitual thirst after his cups . . . drives him to the tavern.  . . .  It is not want of viewing the greater good: for he sees and acknowledges it.  (260)
  3. As to present happiness and misery, when that alone comes into consideration, and the consequences are quite removed, a man never chooses amiss: he knows what best pleases him, and that he actually prefers.  (260)
  4. The laws [are] these three: 1. The divine law.  2. The civil law.  3. The law of opinion or reputation, if I may so call it.  By the relation they bear to the first of these, men judge whether their actions are sins or duties; by the second, whether they be criminal or innocent; and by the third, whether they be virtues or vices. (262)
  5. [H]e who imagines commendation and disgrace not to be strong motives to men to accommodate themselves to the opinions and rules of those with whom they converse, seems little skilled in the history of mankind: the greatest part whereof we shall  find to govern themselves chiefly, if not solely, by this law of fashion. (262)
  6. [God] has the power to enforce [divine law] by rewards and punishments of infinite weight and duration in another life; for nobody can take us out of his hands.
  7. I am bold to think morality capable of demonstration, as well as mathematics: since the precise real essence of the things moral words stand for may be perfectly known, and so the congruity and incongruity of the things themselves be certainly discovered; in which consists perfect knowledge.
  8. "Where there is no property there is no injustice," is a proposition as sure as any demonstration of Euclid: for the idea of property being a right to anything, and the idea to which the name "injustice is given being the invasion or violation of a right, it is evident that . . . I can as certainly know this proposition to be true, as that a triangle has three angles equal to two right ones. (264) 



1.  To understand political power aright, and derive it from its original, we must consider what estate all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom. (267)


  1. But thought this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of license. (267)
  2. The state of Nature has a law of Nature to govern it, which obliges every one, and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions . . . . (267)
  3. And that all men may be restrained from invading others' rights, and from doing hurt to one another, and the law of Nature be observed . . . the execution of the law of Nature is in that state put into every man's hands, whereby every one has the a right to punish the transgressor of that law to such a degree as may hinder its violation. (267)
  4. To those that say that there were never any men in the state of Nature, I . . . affirm that all men are naturally in that state, and remain so till, by their own consents, they make themselves members of some politic society . . . . (268)
  5. Though I have said . . . "That all men by nature are equal," I cannot be supposed to understand all sorts of "equality." (269)
  6. [Y]et all this consists with the equality which all men are in in respect of jurisdiction or dominion one over another . . . being that equal right that each man hath to his natural freedom . . . . (269)
  7. Men being, as has been said, by nature all free, equal, and independent, no one can be put out of this estate and subjected to the political power of another without his own consent . . . . (269-270)
  8. Whosoever, therefore, . . . unite into a community, must be understood to give up all the power necessary to the ends for which they unite into society to the majority of the community, unless they expressly agreed in any number greater than the majority. (270)
  9. [T]hough the earth and all inferior creatures be common to all men, yet every man has a "property" in his own "person."  This nobody has any right to but himself.  The "labour" of his body and the "work" of his hands, we may say, are properly his. (271)
  10. As much as any one can make use of to any advantage of life before it spoils, so much he may by his labour fix a property in.  Whatever is beyond this is more than his share, and belongs to others. (271)
  11. [G]old and silver may be hoarded up without injury to anyone. (272)
  12. [W]hy will he part with his freedom, this empire, and subject himself to the dominion and control of any other power?  To which it is obvious to answer, that though in the state of Nature he hath such a right, yet the enjoyment of it is very uncertain and constantly exposed to the invasions of others. (273)
  13. Firstly, there wants an established, settled, known law, received and allowed by common consent to be the standard of right and wrong, and the common measure to decide controversies among them.  . . .  Secondly, in the state of Nature there wants a known and indifferent judge, with authority to determine all the differences according to the established law.  . . . Thirdly, in the state of Nature there often wants power to back and support the sentence when right, and to give it due execution. (273-274)
  14. The great and chief end, therefore, of men uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property; to which in the state of Nature there are many things wanting. (273)
  15. The magistrate is afraid of other Churches, but not of his own; because he is kind and favourable to the one, but severe and cruel to the other. (276)
  16. [I]t is absurd that things should be enjoined by laws, which are not in men's powers to perform. And to believe this or that to be true, does not depend on our will. (276)
  17. The business of laws is not to provide for the truth of opinions, but for the safety and security of th Commonwealth, and of every particular man's goods and person. (276)
  18. If each of them [state and Church] would contain itself within its own bounds, the one attending to the worldly welfare of the Commonwealth, the other to the salvation of souls, 'tis impossible any discord should ever have happened between them. (277)


1. The idea of a beginning of motion we have only from reflection on what passes in ourselves, where we find by experience that barely by willing it . . . we can move the parts of our bodies. (xxi: 4}


  1. This power which the mind has thus to order the consideration of any idea, or the forbearing to consider it; or to prefer the motion of any part of the body to its rest, and vice versa, in any particular instance, is that which we call the will. (II:xxi:5)
  2. The actual exercise of that power, by directing any particular action, or its forbearance, is that which we call volition or willing. The forbearance of that action, consequent to such order or command of the mind, is called voluntary. And whatsoever action is performed without such a thought of the mind, is called involuntary. (II:xxi:5)
  3. From consideration of the power of the mind over the action of man, which everyone finds in himself, arise the ideas of liberty and necessity. (II:xxi: 7)
  4. [L]iberty cannot be where there is no thought, no volition, no will; but there may be thought, there may be will, there may be volition where there is no liberty. (II:xxi:8)
  5. So far as anyone can, by the direction or choice of his mind, preferring the existence of any action to the non-existence of that action and vice versa, make it to exist or not to exist; so far is he free. (II:xxi:21)
  6. [T]o ask whether the will has freedom is to ask whether one power has another power, one ability another ability; a question at first sight too grossly absurd to make dispute or need an answer. For . . . powers belong only to agents, and are attributes only of substances, and not of powers themselves. (xxi: 16)
  7. [T]hey who can make a question of it must suppose one will to determine the acts of another; and so on in infinitum. (xxi:25)
  8. [I]t passes for a good plea, that a man is not free at all, if he be not as free to will as he is to act what he wills . (II:xxi: 22).
  9. [A] question that needs no answer": it's "to ask whether a man can will what he wills and they who can make a question of it must suppose one will to determine the acts of another; and so on in infinitum. (II:xxi:25)

Identity, Diversity,  & Persons


13.  It is] one thing to be the same substance another to be the same man, and a third to be the same person, if person, man and substance are three names standing for different ideas; for such as is the idea belonging to that name, such must be the identity (II:xxvii:7).

  1. Another occasion the mind often takes of comparing, is the very being of things, when, considering anything as existing at any determined time and place, we compare it with itself existing at another time, and thereon form the ideas of identity and diversity. (xxvii: 1)
  2. For we never finding, nor conceiving it possible, that two things of the same kind should exist in the same place at the same time, we rightly conclude that whatever exists anywhere at any time excludes all the same kind and is there itself alone. (xxvii:1) 
  3. From whence it follows that one thing cannot have two beginnings of existence, nor two things one beginning. (xvii:1)
  4. We have the ideas but of three sorts of substances: 1. God. 2. Finite intelligences. 3. Bodies.
  5. God is without beginning, eternal, unalterable, and everywhere, and therefore concerning his identity there can be no doubt. (xxvii:2)
  6. Secondly, Finite spirits having had each its determinate time and place of beginning to exist, the relation to that time and place will always determine to each of them its identity, as long as it exists. (xxvii:2)
  7. Thirdly, The same will hold of every particle of matter, to which no addition or subtraction of matter being made, it is the same. (xxvii:2)
  8. All other things being but modes or relations ultimately terminated in substances, the identity and diversity of each particular existence of them too will be by the same way determined. (xxvii:2) 
  9. I say . . . our consciousness being interrupted and we losing the sight of our past selves, doubts are raised whether we are the same thinking thing, i.e., the same substance or no (10)
  10. As far as consciousness can be extended backwards . . . so far reaches the identity of that person. (xxvii: 10)
  11. For should the soul of a prince, carrying with it the consciousness of the prince's past life, enter and inform the body of a cobbler . . . everyone sees he would be the same person with the prince, accountable only for the prince's actions: but who would say it's the same man. (II:xxvii: 15)
  12. [A person] is a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different places or times, which it does only by that consciousness which is inseparable from thinking . . . . (II: xvii:9)

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