'Denisons' and 'Aliens': Locke's Problem of Political Consent

21 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2009

Date Written: February 16, 2009


Locke appears to be committed to the peculiar views that native-born residents and visiting aliens have the same political status (since both are tacit consenters) and that real political societies have very few "members" with full rights and duties (since only express consenters seem to be counted as "members"). Locke, however, also subscribes to a principle governing our understanding of the content of vague or inexplicit consent: such consent is consent to all and only that which is necessary to the purpose for which the consent is given. Using this principle, we can see that Locke's commitments are to far more reasonable positions.

Suggested Citation

Simmons, Alan, 'Denisons' and 'Aliens': Locke's Problem of Political Consent (February 16, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1344464 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1344464

Alan Simmons (Contact Author)

University of Virginia ( email )

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