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Stanley Fish's Critique of John Locke's Concept of Toleration - Essay Example

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Stanley Fish's Critique of John Locke's Concept Of Toleration Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Locke’s detailed his thoughts on religion and politics in his letter titled Letter Concerning Toleration. Through this letter he brings forth a number of arguments that are intended to ascertain the proper spheres of religion and politics…
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Stanley Fishs Critique of John Lockes Concept of Toleration
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Stanley Fish's Critique of John Locke's Concept of Toleration

Download file to see previous pages... Locke argues that there is no religious support for use of coercion, and thus it should not be used to bring persons to salvation. He also often cites his concerns on the level of hypocrisy, he points out that those persons who are so quick to persecute are themselves ignorant of the most grievous sins that happen around them. These transgressions represent a much greater threat eternally than do the sins that they seek to persecute. In the letter, Locke cites many more but similar religious arguments; he further proceeds to provide three reasons which he believes should provide enough grounds for preventing the state to coerce people into adopting specified religious beliefs. First, he identifies that the concern for human soul has not been bequeathed to the magistrate by either God or humans. This argument borders on the view presented in the Two Treatises to confound the natural freedom and sameness of humans. There is no authority within the Bible that requires the magistrate to commit people to the actual faith and that persons should not agree to such an idea for the state as it is impossible for human, at will, to accept as true what the magistrate identifies as true .Their faith is founded on that they consider as true and not really what they wish. Locke’s second argument holds that as the government’s power is yielded in its force, and religion is primarily about free choice founded on inward persuasion of the mind, then it follows that force cannot be used to compel people to follow religion. The third and last argument identifies that even though human’s state of mind could be altered through force, a state where all joined the magistrate’s religion would not bring additional people to the true religion. This is due to the fact that most magistrates ascribe to false religions. Locke’s view on religion and the state has been respected for a favorable period of time, it is not also uncommon to see modern person relating with the very elements of his thoughts. This should not be taken to mean that his argument as detailed in the Letter Concerning Toleration is flawed but it means that just like in every philosophical work owner’s prejudices find their way into the argument (Fish, 1997:2255). This is often exposed by a through look at the point’s advanced and constructive criticism of the same allowing a subsequent reader to identify the areas of weakness. Such is the case with Locke’s arguments, a number of modern thinkers have criticized his argument bringing out weaknesses that seem to weaken the argument. In the following part, this study focuses on such criticism as advanced by Stanley Fish. Fish’s criticism titled Mission impossible: Settling the just bounds between the church and the state seeks to reconcile the two, religion and state a task which appears impossible under John Locke’s restoration argument. Fish’s argument starts with Locke’s assertion at the beginning of his letter that every church is orthodox to itself and that in a situation where there emerge conflicts between these orthodoxies there would be no one on earth able of moderating between them. In such situations Locke insists on the need for tolerance, however, the problem is that if this is allowed to regulate behavior then the role of government as a regulator of wrongful conduct would be curtailed by those who cite that their wrongful conduct is informed by their ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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