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Filmer, Sir Robert (1588–1653)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-S072-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved November 28, 2021, from

Article Summary

Filmer was one of the most important political thinkers in seventeenth-century England, and the author of Patriarcha. Locke replied to this and other works by Filmer in the Two Treatises of Government – perhaps the most famous of all works of liberal political theory. Filmer argued that notions of mixed or limited government were false and pernicious, and that the powers of all legitimate rulers were derived not from the people but directly from God, to whom alone rulers were accountable. Filmer’s contemporaries commonly held that the authority of a father and husband over his family stemmed not from the consent of his wife and children but from the natural and divinely appointed order of things. Filmer harnessed such ideas to the cause of royal absolutism by arguing that the state and the family were essentially the same institution.

Citing this article:
Sommerville, Johann P.. Filmer, Sir Robert (1588–1653), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-S072-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2021 Routledge.

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