Justice et tolérance. La question du hobbisme du jeune Locke


Justice and Toleration: The Problem of Hobbism in Early Locke

This article treats about the influence of Hobbes on the early writings of John Locke, Two Tracts on Government (1660 and 1662). These Tracts don’t have a particular importance in understanding Locke’s work, but they are important for understanding the spirit of the time and the intellectual development of the author of the Second Treatise (1690). In the Two Tracts, Locke defends a conservative position in the matter of government’s role in regulating the religious policy. Locke was a puritan, but he was part of that direction of Puritanism which remained attached to the Church of England and, therefore, he was critique of the anarchical spirit of radical and sectarian Protestants. Therefore, he defended the thesis that religious feelings should be subordinated to the reasons of State, as defined by the political authority. For a better understanding of the issues of the Two Tracts, we first analyze the political context in which they were written, and the main theories of that time in matter of politics and religion, especially Hobbes’s. Then, we show that the main argument of Locke in Two Tracts could be considered as hobbist, the “hobbism” being, in that time, the use of a Hobbesian view even in the refutation of Hobbes.

Keywords: Locke, Hobbes, hobbism, politics, religion, toleration, justice, natural right, erastianism

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