This introductory text focuses on the development and
core ideas of Locke’s political philosophy and outlines a few relevant,
current controversies among Locke scholars. After an introduction to
Locke’s writings on tolerance and their development over time, I shift
to his theory of justice as presented in Two Treatises of Government.
Of particular importance in the latter work are Locke’s defense of a
so-called “voluntarist understanding” of political legitimacy and the
right to revolution, which centrally involves the claim that political
power originally belongs to each individual (the individual’s natural
executive right). To justify this claim, Locke provides us with a theory
of laws of nature and individual rights, where he emphasizes private
property, which is why special priority is given to understanding these
aspects of his theory and contemporary developments of them.