Biography by Peter Landry at blupete.com.
Table of Contents:
John Locke was an Oxford scholar, medical researcher
and physician, political operative, economist and idealogue for a
revolutionary movement, as well as being one of the great philosophers
of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. His monumental Essay
Concerning Human Understanding aims to determine the limits of
human understanding. Earlier writers such as Chillingworth had argued
that human understanding was limited, Locke tries to determine what
those limits are. We can, he thinks, know with certainty that God
exists. We can also know about morality with the same precision we know
about mathematics, because we are the creators of moral and political
ideas. In regard to natural substances we can know only the appearances
and not the underlying realities which produce those appearances. Still,
the atomic hypothesis with its attendant distinction between primary and
secondary qualities is the most plausible available hypothesis...
Essay by by Jonathan Dolhenty, Ph.D.
It is an undisputed fact of history that the germs of
the American Declaration of Independence are contained in the writings
of British philosopher John Locke, specifically the second of his Two
Treatises on Government. This tract was published in 1690 in order to
justify the British Whig Revolution of 1688 and laid some of the main
foundations for the American Revolution of 1776. Additionally, the
constitutional and cultural life of the United States was also deeply
influenced by Locke's Letter on Toleration (1689), which argued for the
necessity of separating Church and State.
The key elements in Locke's political theory are
natural rights, social contract, government by consent, and right of
revolution. Locke was very concerned with the "property right"
and derived property right from higher law, although for Locke that
higher law remained natural rather than the result of Divine Revelation.
He declared that natural law remained operative in civil society as the
fundamental measure of men's rights. For Locke natural law essentially
begins and ends with the natural right of property. The true end of
civil government is protecting property and the right of property is the
effective limitation upon the powers of the government. Locke
interpreted natural law as a claim to innate, indefeasible rights
inherent in each individual. Both government and society exist to
preserve the individual's rights, and the indefeasibility of such rights
is a limitation on the authority of both...
By Peter Landry
Profile on the "Philosopher of Freedom" discusses his principles of modern Empiricism and his radical political treatises. Includes
links and biographies of other modern philosophers.
Our story has its being in the beginning of the
Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, a time of our intellectual awakening.
The Enlightenment began when the Dark Ages ended, a time when the minds
of men were cowed by the great mystery of the universe and their minds,
through ignorance, were ruled by fears. The Enlightenment was a time
when man, stepping out of his shackles, began to use his rational
facilities and pulled himself out of the medieval pits of mysticism and
in the process shoved aside the state and church authorities of the day.
It was a spontaneous and defused movement which fed upon itself and led
to the great scientific discoveries from which we all benefit today. Beliefs
in natural law and universal order sprung up, which not only promoted
scientific findings and advancements of a material nature, but which
also gave a scientific approach to political and social issues. Thinkers
expressed their thoughts in writing and read the thoughts of others,
these brilliant lights of the Enlightenment included the likes of: Francis
Bacon (1561-1626), Montesquieu
Jacques Rousseau (1712-88), David
Hume (1711-76), and Adam
Smith (1723-1790). One, foremost among their ranks, was John Locke
(1632-1704) the life and works of whom we now proceed to briefly
Translated by William Popple, 1689
Organization seeks to promote the classical liberalism of John Locke through publications and discussions. Journals include "The Locke Luminary."
A sound mind in a sound body, is a short, but full
description of a happy state in this world. He that has these two, has
little more to wish for; and he that wants either of them, will be but
little the better for any thing else. Men's happiness or misery is most
part of their own making. He, whose mind directs not wisely, will never
take the right way; and he, whose body is crazy and feeble, will never
be able to advance in it. I confess, there are some men's constitutions
of body and mind so vigorous, and well fram'd by nature, that they need
not much assistance from others; but by the strength of their natural
genius, they are from their cradles carried towards what is excellent;
and by the privilege of their happy constitutions, are able to do
wonders. But examples of this kind are but few; and I think I may say,
that of all the men we meet with, nine parts of ten are what they are,
good or evil, useful or not, by their education. 'Tis that which makes
the great difference in mankind. The little, or almost insensible
impressions on our tender infancies, have very important and lasting
consequences: and there 'tis, as in the fountains of some rivers, where
a gentle application of the hand turns the flexible waters in channels,
that make them take quite contrary courses; and by this direction given
them at first in the source, they receive different tendencies, and
arrive at last at very remote and distant places...