John Locke Additional Biography


(Survey of World Philosophers)

0111207235-Locke.jpg John Locke (Library of Congress) Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Article abstract: Locke combined the rational, deductive theory of René Descartes and the inductive, scientific experimentalism of Francis Bacon and the Royal Society. He gave the Western world the first modern theory of human nature and a new synthesis of the individualistic concept of liberty and the theory of government that was emerging out of the debates over natural law.

Early Life

John Locke was born in the small English village of Wrington, in Somerset, on August 29, 1632. His father, John Locke, was a local attorney of modest means. His mother, née Agnes Kneene, was the daughter of a local tanner. Both parents were educated Puritans, and while the home atmosphere was...

(The entire section is 4004 words.)


(Critical Guide to Censorship and Literature)

Locke’s political philosophy offers a sustained defense of individual liberty against violation by other individuals and governments. Individual liberty, for Locke, includes freedom to believe, speak, and act as one’s own judgment dictates, and the freedom to use the products of one’s actions. In other words, individual liberty includes the freedoms of conscience, speech, action, and property. But since different individuals have different beliefs, respect for liberty requires tolerance for those whose views differ.

In Locke’s time religious intolerance was a major social and political problem. Church and state were intimately connected, and recent English history had provided many examples of religions’...

(The entire section is 466 words.)


(Critical Survey of Ethics and Literature)

Locke is known for his political writings (the Two Treatises of Government are the basis for the principles used in the American and British constitutions) and for his epistemology, which is the central focus of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. He never wrote a work devoted specifically to ethics, but he did develop a fairly clear stand on the nature of ethics. His An Essay Concerning Human Understanding is the most important of his works in terms of his ethical views, but Two Treatises, Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693), and The Reasonableness of Christianity (1695) also contain some of his ideas on the subject.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

John Locke, English rationalist philosopher of the seventeenth century, is best known for his monumental An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, which was to furnish basic premises, not only for the coming Age of Reason and the deistic theology upon which many of its ideas were based, but also for the incipient Industrial Revolution with its rising entrepreneur class, and for political revolution in America.

Locke was the son of a Puritan attorney of Somerset, also named John Locke, who had served as a captain in the Parliamentary army under Oliver Cromwell and who lost a considerable part of his fortune at the time of the Restoration in 1660. This financial setback was an important factor in the life of...

(The entire section is 541 words.)