The Philosophy of Self-Knowledge and Deception
Edited by Brent E. Cusher and Mark A. Menaldo
Chapter 7: Authenticity or reasonableness? A Lockean view of leadership
This chapter contends that John Locke would be wary of the call for public leaders intending to influence an authentic moral transformation in their individual followers. According to Locke, the government’s task is to care for our “civil concernments,” not our “souls” or our moral development. This chapter goes beyond Locke’s political writings, however, to demonstrate that this philosopher does in fact believe it is possible to be authentic in one’s private life, provided it is understood in the limited sense of cultivating one’s reason to make progress in understanding. But one should not conflate this or other related notions with what one finds in scholarship on authentic leadership. Indeed, Locke’s view on leadership would be better described using the term “reasonable,” insofar as it remains well within the rationally conceived limits of protecting the rights to life, liberty, and estate of other people.
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