Chris on Locke

jwalker jwalker at
Wed Jul 5 09:09:27 MDT 1995

Chris is quite right about Locke, and I think his comment should be taken
as a more general warning against criticizing bourgeois liberalism on
grounds of its "atomistic individualism".

Some people, like
certain economists and decision theorists, do employ models in which people
conceived in what could be called an atomistic way -- people are thought
of as rational egoistic utility-maximizers.  But I think the way that the
debate between communitarians and liberals has worked out shows that no
philosopher worth his salt has believed, or tacitly assumed, anything of the

Bourgois liberalism should be criticized, but for the right reasons.

On Wed, 5 Jul 1995, Chris M. Sciabarra wrote:

> Just a quick comment about Locke... I know how much all of us have heard
> about his "atomism," and "pre-social" individual, but I think his works
> will show much greater sensitivity to the belief that individuals are
> INESCAPABLY social; there is a tremendous regard for the many communal
> associations of individuals--family, neighborhood, guild, and
> church--that mediate human existence and provide a setting for sociality
> and community.  Unlike some of his atomistic successors, and like many of
> his contemporaries in the Scottish Enlightenment, Locke is much more
> complex than many would give him credit for.
> 					- Chris
>      --- from list marxism at ---

John D. Walker
jwalker at

     --- from list marxism at ---


More information about the Marxism mailing list