John Locke's labor theory of property is one of the seminal ideas of political philosophy and served to establish its author's reputation as one of the leading social and political thinkers of all time. Through it Locke addressed many of his most pressing concerns, and earned a reputation as an outstanding spokesman for political individualism - a reputation that lingers widely despite some partial challenges that have been raised in recent years. In this major new study Matthew Kramer offers an extensive critique of the labor theory and investigates the consequences of its downfall. With incisive analyses of the merits and failings of many aspects of Locke's political thought, Kramer advances a powerful challenge to Locke's image as an individualist. Employing a rigorously philosophical methodology, but remaining aware of the insights generated by historical approaches to Locke, Kramer concludes that Locke's political vision was in fact profoundly communitarian.
"In this excellent work, Kramer persuasively argues that Locke's views actually support the thesis that the Enlightenment's leading proponent of individualism was a communitarian or collectivist...well organized, closely argued, and a worthwhile contribution to both Lockean scholarship and the larger liberalism-communitarian debate." R.F. White, Choice "...[Kramer's] book on Locke provides many interesting objections that students of Locke cannot afford to ignore." The Philosophical Review