John Locke

Topics: John Locke, Empiricism, Political philosophy Pages: 2 (608 words) Published: June 2, 2001
Locke, John
English philosopher, who founded the school of empiricism.
Locke was born in the village of Wrington, Somerset, on August 29, 1632. He was educated at the University of Oxford and lectured on Greek, rhetoric, and moral philosophy at Oxford from 1661 to 1664. In 1667 Locke began his association with the English statesman Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st earl of Shaftesbury, to whom Locke was friend, adviser, and physician. Shaftesbury secured for Locke a series of minor government appointments. In 1669, in one of his official capacities, In 1675, after the liberal Shaftesbury lost is power, Locke went to France. In 1679 he returned to England, but in view of his opposition to the Roman Catholicism favored by the English monarchy at that time, he soon found it expedient to return to France. From 1683 to 1688 he lived in Holland, and following the so-called Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the restoration of Protestantism to favor, Locke returned once more to England. The new king, William III, appointed Locke to the Board of Trade in 1696, a position from which he resigned because of ill health in 1700. He died in Oates on October 28, 1704.


Locke's empiricism emphasizes the importance of the experience of the senses in pursuit of knowledge rather than speculation or reasoning. The empiricist doctrine was first developed by the English philosopher sir Francis Bacon early in the 17th century, but Locke organized his ideas in an article in 1690 called Essay Concerning Human Understanding. He regarded the mind of a person at birth as a tabula rasa, a blank slate upon which experience brings knowledge, and did not believe in intuition or theories of instinct. Locke also held that all persons are born good, independent, and equal.

Political Theories
In his work Two Treatises of Government, written in 1690, John Locke attacked the theory of divine right of kings and the nature of the state. He also believed in religious freedom...
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