The Left has traditionally assumed that human nature is so malleable, so perfectible, that it can be shaped in almost any direction. By contrast, a Darwinian science of human nature supports traditionalist conservatives and classical liberals in their realist view of human imperfectibility, and in their commitment to ordered liberty as rooted in natural desires, cultural traditions, and prudential judgments.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
The Biopolitical Science of Locke's State of Nature: An APSA Convention Paper
I have written a paper for the 2015 convention of the American Political Science Association in San Francisco, September 3-6.
The paper is "The Biopolitical Science of Locke's State of Nature." Here's the abstract:
As part of the project for developing a biopolitical
science, a biological science of human nature and human history can be used to
clarify and perhaps even resolve some of the fundamental debates in the history
of political philosophy.For example,
applying biological science to the debate between Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau
over the state of nature can show that Hobbes was partly right, Rousseau was
mostly wrong, and Locke was mostly right.In support of this conclusion, this paper shows how biological science
sustains Locke’s account of eight features of the state of nature: human
self-ownership, divine ownership, familial society, the law of reputation,
egalitarian hierarchy, war and peace, consent to government, and resistance to
tyranny. This shows how, as part of a biopolitical science, we can develop a
My panel will meet on Friday, September 4, 11:30 am to 1:00 pm, at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, in the room Union Square 21.