Law, Obligation, and Consent: Reflections on Stair and Locke

Neil MacCormick

in Legal Right and Social Democracy

Published in print March 1984 | ISBN: 9780198255024
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681561 | DOI:
Law, Obligation, and Consent: Reflections on Stair and Locke

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The theme of this chapter is law, obligation, and consent. The chapter discusses the work of two great men of the seventeenth century: John Locke, the greatest of English political philosophers, and James Dalrymple, Ist Viscount Stair, the greatest of Scottish legal writers. Stair and Locke were almost exact contemporaries. They held strikingly similar opinions on certain key issues as they drew upon common sources belonging to a common tradition. The aim of this chapter is to expound in more detail the arguments of Stair and Locke, giving slightly more emphasis to Stair than to Locke, because his work is the less familiar of the two. Furthermore, this chapter also advances some personal ideas on law, obligation, and consent arising from a discussion of elements of similarity and difference in the Stair/Locke position.

Keywords: law; obligation; consent; John Locke; Viscount Stair; James Dalrymple

Chapter.  9809 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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