More than any other Enlightenment thinker, John Locke was responsible for the creation of the United States. His thoughts on the nature of human knowledge, individual rights, and the sacred value of free thought against political authority formed an intellectual legacy embraced by the Founding Fathers, setting the philosophical context that inspired the quest for liberty in America and abroad.
In these lectures, Dr. Harry Binswanger presents and evaluates Locke’s philosophy with an emphasis on his political theory. He begins with an exploration of Locke’s epistemological views which, though largely unoriginal and of mixed value, portray man as intellectually free and independent. He then turns to Locke’s political thought, drawing from both the Second Treatise of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration, where he develops his seminal ideas on individual rights, the essence of government and political authority, and the centrality of property rights and intellectual freedom.
Throughout these three classes, Binswanger compares and contrasts Locke’s approach with Ayn Rand’s philosophical insights, ending with a discussion of how her ideas hold the solution to the problems and challenges faced by Locke.