God, Locke, and Equality: Christian Foundations of John Locke's Political Thought

God, Locke, and Equality: Christian Foundations of John Locke's Political Thought

God, Locke, and Equality: Christian Foundations of John Locke's Political Thought

God, Locke, and Equality: Christian Foundations of John Locke's Political Thought


Jeremy Waldron, one of the leading political philosophers of our time, looks at the principle of equality in the thought of John Locke, and the extent to which this is grounded in Christian principles. Throughout the text, Waldron discusses contemporary approaches to equality and rival interpretations of Locke, making his book unusually accessible and intellectually exciting. It will be of interest to philosophers, political theorists, lawyers and theologians around the world. Jeremy Waldron is the Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor at Columbia Law School and Director of Columbia's Center for Law and Philosophy. Waldron has taught and lectured at UC Berkeley, Princeton University, Edinburgh University, Oxford University and Cambridge University. His books include The Dignity of Legislation (Cambridge, 1999), The Right to Private Property (Oxford, 1988) and The Law (Routledge, 1990). Waldron contributes to the London Review of Books and the New York Times Book Review.


This book is a revised version of the Carlyle Lectures which I delivered at the University of Oxford in Michaelmas Term 1999, under the title “Christian Equality in the Political Theory of John Locke. ”

The opportunity to develop and deliver these lectures was most welcome and I am particularly obliged to Larry Siedentop and Mark Philp for the invitation and the arrangements. I am grateful also to the Warden and Fellows of Nuffield College and the Warden and Fellows of All Souls College for office accommodation and living accommodation during my eight weeks in Oxford, and to Suzanne Byrch for administrative arrangements. Thanksalsoto Gerry Cohen, Cecile Fabre, John Gardner, James Griffin, Bob Hargrave, Tony Honore, Brian Loughman, Dan Mc Dermott, David Miller, Karma Nabulsi, Joseph Raz, Mike Rosen, Alan Ryan, and Andrew Williams for their interest and their comments.

A substantial extract from Chapters 3 and 8 of this book was delivered as the Spring 2000 University Lecture at Columbia University. I want to say “thank you” to President George Rupp and Provost Jonathan Cole for this invitation. It was an honor to be able to present some of these arguments under the great cupola of Columbia's Low Library. The same material was also presented at Political Theory workshops at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago. Participants everywhere have been generous with their comments on this and other work that I have presented on basic equality: I am particularly grateful to Jean Cohen, Jules Coleman, Bill Connolly, Chad Cyrenne, Michael Dorf, Ronald Dworkin, David Estlund, George Fletcher, Robert GoodingWilliams, Kent Greenawalt, David Johnston, Frances Kamm, George Kateb, Ira Katznelson, Philip Kitcher, John Marshall, Alan Musgrave, Thomas Nagel, Graham Oddie, Susan Okin, Thomas Pogge, Gwen Taylor, Susan Wolf, Nicholas Woltersdorff, and Iris Young.

In respect of the revision phase, my greatest debt is to Richard Fisher of Cambridge University Press for his patience and encouragement.

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