Master of Arts (MA)


Philosophy and Religious Studies

Document Type



This research addresses the intersection of philosophy and theology in Locke’s philosophy, particularly his political philosophy. The justification for this inquiry is Locke’s use of the phrase “Appeal to Heaven” in the Second Treatise together with his advocacy of resistance in the Letter Concerning Toleration. The thesis begins with a brief survey of the relevant secondary literature and frames the intersection of theology and political philosophy. The thesis then seeks to justify the claim that Locke’s political ideas were motivated by religious concerns. This includes a close examination of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, The Reasonableness of Christianity and his works on religious toleration. The thesis then examines the Two Treatises and Letter Concerning Toleration in light of what Locke said elsewhere about the significance of God and religion. The intended goal is to demonstrate that Locke’s argument for resistance and revolution is ultimately motivated by his own theistic religious arguments.



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Committee Chair

Mary J. Sirridge