15 February 2013 Fred Olguin Fred Dozier
Social Contract Theory of John Locke
Identifiable Values As a distinguished physician and influential philosopher, Locke’s writings would have a significant impact on western culture and philosophy. John Locke was born in the village of Wrington Somerset in England and attended the Westminster School, Christ Church, and studied medicine at the University of Oxford. His education and experiences at Oxford would play a significant role in his life as well as his teachings in epistemology, political philosophy, and education as cited by Bookman (1994). Locke' wrote the Two Treatises of Government that focused on the idea that people have natural rights and established the framework of the social contract as referenced by Michael and Mack (2011). These concepts were not widely accepted in England or Locke’s peers, but these concepts would collectively influence the cultural mind set of the American and French revolutions.
Researchers Vinnicombe and Staveley (2002) noted that Locke's social contract theory suggests that people, as part of nature, must grant some of their inherent rights to local authorities or the government to achieve the greater good of each individual. The resulting byproduct of the contract would focus on achieving economic stability, and enhancing peace of mind in the pursuit life, liberty, and property. These concepts correlate directly with the American. Criminal justice system. Under the current criminal justice system, American citizens have relinquished, relaxed, or outright given up certain civil liberties’ to precipitate the advancement of law and order in a given society. The resulting tradeoff for conceding these freedoms is the protection afforded by the local policing agency and the laws that govern their actions. Locke based his theory on this idea of natural law. The concept of natural law recognizes that there are commonly accepted set of rights and wrongs that apply to each and every individual. From the criminal justice point of view, each citizen will be held to the same standard as everyone else and that no one is above the law. These values and principles were revealed in his writings as Locke reasoned that every individual is responsible for following established norms of society and that there will be consequences for those that choose to break or ignore the laws as they were handed down as referenced by Goldie (2004).
Social Contract Principles Locke’s The State of Nature theorized that this is where people live without government intervention or manmade laws. His view of natural law stemmed from a belief that there are principles of justice that each individual can obtain through knowledge of self and reason. This principle of natural law requires each individual to possess the rights to land ownership, the right to expression and the fulfillment of life itself as discussed by . Locke acknowledged that most individual in a given society would base their lives on these principles, however, the state of nature had inherent problems. When there is a lack of concerted discipline in regards to written laws, the ability to resolve common issues amongst scattered communities can raise uncertainty and mistrust. Because of the structure of each given community, the ability to find fair and judicial impartiality was nonexistent. Absent of this discipline, individuals would regress to a point where they would no longer abide by the natural law.
The social contract was created to establish law and order based on the shortcomings…