Tradition and Prudence in Locke's Exceptions to Toleration

American Journal of Political Science 47 (2):248-58 (2003)
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Why did Locke exclude Catholics and atheists from toleration? Not, I contend, because he was trapped by his context, but because his prudential approach and practica ljudgments led him to traditiona ltexts. I make this argumentfirst by outlining the connections among prudential exceptionality, practical judgments, and traditional texts. I then describe important continuities betweenc onventional English understandings of the relationship between state and religion and Locke's writings on toleration, discuss Locke's conception of rights, and illustrate his use of prudential exceptions and distinctions. I conclude by arguing that Locke's problems are relevant to assessingc ontemporary liberal discussions of tolerationa nd the separation of state and religion that lean heavily on practical justifications

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David Lorenzo
National Chengchi University


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