John Locke: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

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AUTUMN ’10 ETHICS ITB 219E
WEEK TEN APPLE  KEYNOTE PRESENTATION

Friday, December 3, 2010

JOHN LOCKE 1632 1704
Friday, December 3, 2010

AN ESSAY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING (1689) BOOK II, CHAPTER XX & CHAPTER XXI UPTO § 46.

John Locke wrote on many subjects. ‘An Essay Concerning Human Understanding’ is mostly about knowledge, reality and mind in philosophy, and is a major classic in all those fields. He also wrote a major classic of political philosophy, ‘Essay on Civil Government’, along with major works on religion, education and economics.

Friday, December 3, 2010

CHARLES II OF ENGLAND (1630-1685) CLAIMED ABSOLUTE POWERS, BUT WAS RESTRAINED IN USING THEM. THE TEXT BELOW THE PICTURE REFERS TO CHARLES’ WORK AS PATRON OF THE SCIENCES. LOCKE’S POLITICAL THOUGHT WAS DIRECTED AGAINST ABSOLUTISM AND HIS ETHICAL THOUGHT HAS A RELATED INDIVIDUALISM.

Friday, December 3, 2010

He had a great knowledge of the science of the time, as he met the leading scientists as a student and fellow of the University of Oxford: Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Robert Hooke. His philosophical approach reflected a desire to provide a suitable philosophical framework for the experimental sciences. His approach followed a British Empiricist tradition, which puts experience at the centre of philosophy, a tradition which previously included Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes.

Friday, December 3, 2010

JAMES II OF ENGLAND (1633-1701). REIGNED FROM 1685-1688 JAMES UNDERMINED HIS POSITION IN THREE YEARS BY TAKING HIS CLAIMS TO ABSOLUTE POWERS TOO FAR AND TRYING TO GIVE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH MORE RIGHTS AND POWERS IN BRITAIN. LEADING TO THE PARLIAMENTARY ‘GLORIOUS REVOLUTION’

Friday, December 3, 2010

Locke had teaching positions at Oxford in Greek and Rhetoric, but preferred to be a doctor, as the university atmosphere at that time was not the best for new ideas in philosophy, or related ideas in religion and politics. His life as a doctor led him towards (or reinforced) the other interests he developed, as he became a doctor to Anthony Ashley Cooper, who later became the first Earl of Shaftesbury.

Friday, December 3, 2010

THE RIGHT TO RESIST AN OPPRESSIVE EXECUTIVE WILLIAM OF ORANGE (DUTCH PRINCE MARRIED TO THE HEIR TO THE ENGLISH MONARCHY) SETS SAILS FOR ENGLAND AT THE INVITATION OF THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT WHICH WANTED ASSISTANCE IN RESISTING THE RULE OF JAMES II

Friday, December 3, 2010

Shaftesbury was a prominent figure in Whig politics of the time. The Whig party was one of two political currents in Parliament at that time, the other was the Tories. The Whigs were more supportive of parliament, less supportive to the power of the monarchy, and closer to the major economic enterprises of the time.

Friday, December 3, 2010

THIS PAINTING SHOWS WILLIAM III AND MARY BEING CROWNED JOINT MONARCHS OF ENGLAND AFTER THE FLIGHT OF JAMES II IN 1688. THE TEXT REFERS TO THE BILL OF RIGHTS OF 1689 WHICH ENSURED THAT ONLY PARLIAMENT COULD PASS LAWS AND RAISE TAXES. LOCKE’S POLITICAL THOUGHT IS CLOSELY ASSOCIATED WITH THIS REVOLUTION, MAKING HIS ETHICS CONNECTED

Friday, December 3, 2010

As a radically minded Whig, Cooper was close to the most anti-monarchist circles at a time, when English kings were trying to establish absolute royal power. In an atmosphere of conspiracy and accusation, Cooper spent time in prison before the 1688 Glorious Revolution, which established parliamentary power under a new king. Locke shared Cooper’s politics, and had to spend time in exile in the Netherlands, where he had the opportunity to extend his knowledge of new philosophical, scientific, and political ideas.

Friday, December 3, 2010

LOCKE THOUGHT THERE SHOULD BE AN INDEPENDENT LEGISLATIVE BODY IN A CIVIL GOVERNMENT. HIS BELIEF IN A POLITICS OF A STATE UNDER LAW REFLECTS A BELIEF IN INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS, AND THE INDIVIDUAL FOUNDATION OF ETHICS

ENGLISH PARLIAMENT (1610)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Locke went...
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