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John Locke (1) (1632–1704)

Author of The Second Treatise of Government

For other authors named John Locke, see the disambiguation page.

231+ Works 12,634 Members 93 Reviews 17 Favorited

About the Author

John Locke's works of political and social philosophy, written in the 17th century, have strongly influenced intellectuals ever since - including the founders of the United States of America. Born in 1632 in Wrington, England, Locke studied at Christ Church, Oxford, where he earned his B.A. and show more M.A. degrees in the late 1650's. He also studied medicine and earned a medical license. His studies led to an interest in contemporary philosophers influenced by science, such as Rene Descartes. Locke read widely among them while teaching at Christ Church over the next few years. In 1667, Locke became personal physician and adviser to Anthony Ashley Cooper, who later was appointed Earl of Shaftesbury. Through Shaftesbury's patronage, Locke earned some government posts and entered London's intellectual circles, all the while writing philosophy. He was one of the best-known European thinkers of his time when he died in 1704. In An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), Locke established the philosophy of empiricism, which holds that the mind at birth is a blank tablet. Experience, Locke believed, would engrave itself upon the tablet as one grew. He felt humans should create theories according to experience and test them with experiments. This philosophy helped establish the scientific method. Locke codified the principals of liberalism in "Two Treatises of Government" (1690). He emphasized that the state must preserve its citizens' natural rights to life, liberty and property. When the state does not, Locke argued, citizens are justified in rebelling. His view of liberalism comprised limited government, featuring elected representation and legislative checks and balances. While a Christian, Locke believed in absolute separation of church and state, and he urged toleration of those whose religious views differed from the majorities. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: portrait, 1697, by Sir Gotfrey Kneller


Works by John Locke

Two Treatises of Government (1689) 2,444 copies
Political Writings (1993) 261 copies
On Politics and Education (1947) 197 copies
Locke: Political Essays (1997) 112 copies
Of the Abuse of Words (2009) 91 copies
Locke Selections (1928) 68 copies
Keystone of Democracy (2005) 32 copies
Works of John Locke (1714) 16 copies
John Locke: 7 Works (2014) 14 copies
Scritti sulla tolleranza (1997) 13 copies
The John Locke Collection (2014) 11 copies
Trattato sul governo (1984) 11 copies
The works of John Locke (1977) 8 copies
John Locke (2000) 6 copies
Gedanken über Erziehung (1970) 6 copies
John Locke on education (1971) 6 copies
Due trattati sul governo (2010) 6 copies
Two Tracts on Government (1782) 5 copies
Educational writings (1922) 4 copies
Dwa traktaty o rządzie (2015) 3 copies
A Locke Miscellany (1990) 3 copies
Borger og statsmakt (1690) 1 copy
Tolleranza e liberta' (1989) 1 copy

Associated Works

The English Philosophers from Bacon to Mill (1939) — Contributor — 460 copies
Britannica Great Books: Locke, Berkeley, Hume (1689) — Contributor — 352 copies
American Government: Readings and Cases (1977) — Contributor, some editions — 242 copies
Eighteenth-Century English Literature (1969) — Author — 184 copies
Western Philosophy: An Anthology (1996) — Author, some editions — 181 copies
Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith (2010) — Contributor — 140 copies
Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology (2004) — Contributor — 72 copies
Classics of Modern Political Theory : Machiavelli to Mill (1996) — Contributor — 48 copies
Political philosophy (1965) — Contributor — 33 copies
Classic Essays in English (1961) — Contributor — 22 copies
British Moralists 1650-1800, Vol. 1 Hobbes-Gay (1969) — Contributor — 18 copies
The liberal tradition in European thought (1971) — Contributor, some editions — 16 copies
Sources: Notable Selections in American Government (1996) — Contributor — 10 copies
Englische Essays aus drei Jahrhunderten (1980) — Contributor — 10 copies
Wijsgerige teksten over de wereld (1964) — Contributor — 2 copies


Common Knowledge



It's been some time since I read this, and I don't recall any details.
mykl-s | 26 other reviews | Aug 13, 2023 |
The year of 1689 saw two publications that would make John Locke influential force in political discussions for the next four plus centuries, but a third publication would set the stage for a new school of modern philosophy. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding in which Locke argues against that the mind is born with innate ideas and is instead a blank slate that knowledge is gained through experience.

The work is divided into four books: Book I focuses on Locke’s main thesis in opposing the principle of innate ideas, Book II presents Locke’s argument that every idea is derived from experience either by sensation or reflection, Book III focuses on words and how man uses unique sounds to signify ideas then relate them to others, and Book IV focuses on knowledge in general—that it can be thought of as the sum of ideas and perceptions—and if there can be a limit to human knowledge. Over the 635 pages, Locke’s reasoning while thorough also verged on bloated arguments that would have diluted the overall piece. Of the entire essay, Book IV had the most interesting material as Locke focused on various issues but the one that stood out the most was his look into the existence of God and of Faith and Reason.

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding is a thoughtful yet nearly bloated piece in which John Locke puts forth his thoughts on how we gain knowledge and how we should use it.
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mattries37315 | 10 other reviews | Feb 19, 2023 |
I also agree with him. Innate idea does not exist. without some memory with DNA> >
Azmir_Fakir | 10 other reviews | Oct 31, 2022 |
One type of Democracy. Each & everyone of you will find atleast one chapter that resonates strongly with your life.
Azmir_Fakir | 26 other reviews | Oct 31, 2022 |



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