Philosophy 366             Political Philosophy       Darwall            Winter 2002




Write a 1000 to 1500 word (4 to 6 word-processed page) essay on one of the topics below. They should be turned in at the beginning of lecture on Monday, February 11. 


Please bear in mind that the virtues of a philosophy paper are clarity, depth of analysis and critical questioning, judicious consideration of arguments, and logical organization.  Be sensitive to such questions as: Are my claims clear?  Are my arguments clear?  Am I being fair to opposing views and adequately appreciative of what might be said in response to my claims and arguments?  Also, when you make claims about a philosopher we have read, make sure that you support your interpretation with specific references to the text.


Finally, academic integrity requires that you clearly acknowledge and reference ideas you have derived from others. Especially when you take a specific formulation of a point from a text, it is necessary to make that clear with quotation.


1.  “For when any number of men have, by the consent of every individual, made a community, they have thereby made that community one body, with a power to act as one body, which is only by the will and determination of the majority.” (Locke, 2nd Treatise, §96.) 


“A commonwealth is said to be instituted, when a multitude of men do agree and covenant, every one with every one, that to whatsoever man or assembly of men shall be given by the major part the right to present the person of them all . . . .” (Hobbes, Leviathan, xviii.1) 


Analyze what we learn about important similarities and differences between Hobbes’s and Locke’s political philosophies from these two passages.


2.  Hobbes argues in Chapter 21 of Leviathan that we cannot be obligated to take our own lives, and Locke argues in Chapter IV of the 2nd Treatise that one cannot “by compact or his own consent” make himself a slave and that one may not take one’s own life.  Analyze their respective arguments for these positions.  What do we learn from these about their fundamental approaches and their views of our fundamental rights and obligations.


3.  Hobbes and Locke have very different views on the limits of political authority.  Present Hobbes’s arguments for the unlimited authority of the Sovereign, give what you think Locke’s most significant criticisms of these arguments and position would be, and what you think would be Hobbes’s best response.  Then do the same for Locke’s defense of limited authority.