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Judging Rights: Lockean Politics and the Limits of Consent

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Kirstie McClure offers a major reinterpretation of John Locke's thought that is important not only for the light it sheds on Locke but also for the questions it poses about liberalism and rights-based theories of politics. Sensitive to the range of interpretative and political issues that Locke's work presents. McClure's analysis is impressive for its balance and subtlety, and for her command of the enormous literature on Locke. Between the Restoration and the Glorious Revolution, between Two Tracts on Government...
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Overview

Kirstie McClure offers a major reinterpretation of John Locke's thought that is important not only for the light it sheds on Locke but also for the questions it poses about liberalism and rights-based theories of politics. Sensitive to the range of interpretative and political issues that Locke's work presents. McClure's analysis is impressive for its balance and subtlety, and for her command of the enormous literature on Locke. Between the Restoration and the Glorious Revolution, between Two Tracts on Government 1660 and Two Treatises on Government 1690. Locke subjected the idea of civil power to increasing scrutiny. In one generation, he moved from supporting order for its own sake to defending resistance, and ended with a profoundly modern epistemology. McClure suggests that Locke's concepts of government by consent, equality, rights, and the rule of law were embedded in his theistic cosmology. Although Locke may well have been a constitutionalist, his theoretical concerns were far broader than any legal or constitutional interpretation of his work might suggest. To make this claim, McClure explains, is to deny neither the significance of "rights" nor the importance of institutions and consent in Locke's theoretical production. Rather, it is to insist that such themes are merely parts of a more comprehensive theoretical project, the focus of which, bluntly stated in the Second Treatise, was "to understand Political Power right."
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Judging Rights presents an understanding of Lockean thought that bridges the gaps between apparent contradictions and inconsistencies. . . . McClure's Locke offers a theistic but not a scriptural point of view. His works, whether Tracts or Treatises, line out the human position in a hierarchical order of creation. Humans are subject to God's law but also adopt the law to guide their actions."—Melissa A. Butler, American Political Science Review

"McClure draws out some interesting insights into the nature of Locke's political philosophy. . . . In thus developing a new perspective on Locke's Treatises, McClure has produced a work of scholarship that is deserving of her subject."—Review of Metaphysics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801431111
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1996
  • Pages: 320
  • Lexile: 1670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 An Architecture of Order: Metaphor, Morality, and the Problem of Judgment 27
2 Echoes of the Architecture: Laws of Virtue, Rights of Convenience 53
3 Crime and Punishment: Natural Politics and the Epistemology of Right 123
4 Money Matters: Inconveniences and the Disordering of Natural Judgment 156
5 Morality Matters: Civil Power and the Reordering of Judgment 188
6 A Politics of Judgment: Political Understanding, Resistance Right, and the Rule of Law 215
7 Legal Trouble: The Public Good and the Limits of Consent 248
Epilogue 287
Selected Bibliography 309
Index 321
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