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Toleration and Understanding in Locke$
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Nicholas Jolley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198791706

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198791706.001.0001

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The Bounds of Civil Power

The Bounds of Civil Power

(p.107) 7 The Bounds of Civil Power
Toleration and Understanding in Locke

Nicholas Jolley

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the relationship between Locke’s Two Treatises of Government and his Epistola de Tolerantia. It is argued that these works complement each other inasmuch as they both seek to define what Locke calls ‘the bounds of civil power’. The straightforward, complementary nature of the relationship is emphasized by showing that in the Epistola Locke argues for toleration from the function of the state. It is further shown that, when properly understood in the light of his later letters for toleration, this argument is a contractualist one which, contrary to Waldron, does not beg the question against his opponent Proast. The chapter concludes by arguing that Locke’s critique of Stuart religious policy in the Two Treatises is not inconsistent with his defence of the separation of church and state in the Epistola de Tolerantia.

Keywords:   absolutism, contractualism, function, Hobbes, magistrate, state of nature

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