The following opinion piece is one of a series of five being released this week and next to celebrate World Philosophy Day and to publicise the upcoming workshop entitled Editor’s Cut – A view of philosophical research from journal editors. the workshop will take place at the University of London on Friday 13th of January 2012.
In 1689, John Locke published two treatises on government. Locke’s Second Treatise is a staple of introductory political philosophy courses, pored over by generations of scholars and undergraduates. His First Treatise is barely read today. This differential treatment reflects neither the importance Locke himself attached to the two treatises, nor the comparative cogency of Locke’s arguments, but rather the contemporary relevance of his themes. Locke’s First Treatise attacks Robert Filmer’s defence of the divine right of kings. As events outside philosophy have rendered absolute monarchy irrelevant, so Filmer’s arguments – and thus Locke’s demolition of them – have faded from the philosophical canon.
To illustrate the role of historical contingencies here, consider the fact Continue reading “The Future of Philosophy: By Tim Mulgan”