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A burthen too heavy for humane sufferance: Locke on reputation

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Publication details

JournalHistory of Political Thought
DateSubmitted - 14 Jun 2016
DateAccepted/In press - 14 Jun 2016
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jan 2017
Issue number4
Number of pages37
Pages (from-to)644-680
Original languageEnglish


Locke emphasized that a concern for reputation powerfully shaped the individual's conduct. Most scholarship suggests that Locke portrayed this phenomenon in negative terms. This article complicates this picture. A concern for reputation served a constructive role in Locke's theory of social development, which offered a powerful alternative explanation of the origins of moral consensus and political authority to Hobbes's. Locke nonetheless suggested that misunderstandings engendered in Christian commonwealths regarding the nature of political and religious authority had impacted negatively on the moral regulation of societies. The forces governing society, which once habituated individuals in beneficial ways, now led them astray.

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    Research areas

  • Jesus Christ; John Locke; Thomas Hobbes; atheism; civil law; conscience; divine law; law of nature; moral obligation; political obligation; sovereignty; toleration, Sovereignty, Atheism, Civil law, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Jesus Christ, Divine law, Law of nature, Toleration, Conscience, Political obligation, Moral obligation

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