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Single Idea 19915

[catalogued under 25. Society / A. State of Nature / 4. Natural Rights / a. Natural rights]

Full Idea

Each person's natural right is determined not by sound reason but by desire and power. For it is not the case that all men are naturally determined to behave according to the rules and laws of reason

Gist of Idea

Natural rights are determined by desire and power, not by reason

Source

Baruch de Spinoza (Tractatus Theologico-Politicus [1670], 16.03)

A Reaction

Locke would have been horrified by this. It looks like hopeless unfounded optimism to claim a natural right to anything. Doomed prey can struggle all it likes, but its right to do so seems irrelevant. Yet we see self-evident injustice all the time.

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Theological-Political Treatise', ed/tr. Israel,Jonathan [CUP 2007], p.196