The English Anglican gentry needed to support such an action. But the Anglican church from childhood on taught that: Passive resistance would simply not do. John Dunn goes on to remark: The gentry had to be persuaded that there could be reason for rebellion which could make it neither blasphemous or suicidal.
Sir Robert Filmer c — , a man of the generation of Charles I and the English Civil War, who had defended the crown in various works. His most famous work, however, Patriarcha , was published posthumously in and represented the most complete and coherent exposition of the view Locke wished to deny. Filmer held that men were born into helpless servitude to an authoritarian family, a social hierarchy and a sovereign whose only constraint was his relationship with God.
Only in this way could he restore to the Anglican gentry a coherent bssis for moral autonomy or a practical initiative in the field of politics. The First Treatise of Government is a polemical work aimed at refuting the theological basis for the patriarchal version of the Divine Right of Kings doctrine put forth by Sir Robert Filmer. In what follows in the First Treatise , Locke minutely examines key Biblical passages. Natural rights are those rights which we are supposed to have as human beings before ever government comes into being.
We might suppose, that like other animals, we have a natural right to struggle for our survival. Locke will argue that we have a right to the means to survive. When Locke comes to explain how government comes into being, he uses the idea that people agree that their condition in the state of nature is unsatisfactory, and so agree to transfer some of their rights to a central government, while retaining others.
This is the theory of the social contract. There are many versions of natural rights theory and the social contract in seventeenth and eighteenth century European political philosophy, some conservative and some radical.
These radical natural right theories influenced the ideologies of the American and French revolutions. When properly distinguished, however, and the limitations of each displayed, it becomes clear that monarchs have no legitimate absolute power over their subjects. Once this is done, the basis for legitimate revolution becomes clear.
Figuring out what the proper or legitimate role of civil government is would be a difficult task indeed if one were to examine the vast complexity of existing governments. How should one proceed?
One strategy is to consider what life is like in the absence of civil government. Presumably this is a simpler state, one which may be easier to understand. Then one might see what role civil government ought to play. This is the strategy which Locke pursues, following Hobbes and others. So, in the first chapter of the Second Treatise Locke defines political power.
Political power , then, I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties, for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defence of the common-wealth from foreign injury; and all this only for the public good.
In the second chapter of The Second Treatise Locke describes the state in which there is no government with real political power. This is the state of nature. It is sometimes assumed that the state of nature is a state in which there is no government at all.
This is only partially true. It is possible to have in the state of nature either no government, illegitimate government, or legitimate government with less than full political power. If we consider the state of nature before there was government, it is a state of political equality in which there is no natural superior or inferior. From this equality flows the obligation to mutual love and the duties that people owe one another, and the great maxims of justice and charity.
Was there ever such a state? There has been considerable debate about this. Still, it is plain that both Hobbes and Locke would answer this question affirmatively. Whenever people have not agreed to establish a common political authority, they remain in the state of nature. Perhaps the historical development of states also went though the stages of a state of nature. An alternative possibility is that the state of nature is not a real historical state, but rather a theoretical construct, intended to help determine the proper function of government.
If one rejects the historicity of states of nature, one may still find them a useful analytical device. For Locke, it is very likely both. The chief end set us by our creator as a species and as individuals is survival. A wise and omnipotent God, having made people and sent them into this world:.
So, murder and suicide violate the divine purpose. If one takes survival as the end, then we may ask what are the means necessary to that end. So we have rights to life, liberty, health and property. These are natural rights, that is they are rights that we have in a state of nature before the introduction of civil government, and all people have these rights equally.
There is also a law of nature. It is the Golden Rule, interpreted in terms of natural rights. The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges everyone: Locke tells us that the law of nature is revealed by reason. Locke makes the point about the law that it commands what is best for us. If it did not, he says, the law would vanish for it would not be obeyed. It is in this sense that Locke means that reason reveals the law. If you reflect on what is best for yourself and others, given the goal of survival and our natural equality, you will come to this conclusion.
Locke does not intend his account of the state of nature as a sort of utopia. Rather it serves as an analytical device that explains why it becomes necessary to introduce civil government and what the legitimate function of civil government is. Thus, as Locke conceives it, there are problems with life in the state of nature. The law of nature, like civil laws can be violated. There are no police, prosecutors or judges in the state of nature as these are all representatives of a government with full political power.
The victims, then, must enforce the law of nature in the state of nature. In addition to our other rights in the state of nature, we have the rights to enforce the law and to judge on our own behalf. We may, Locke tells us, help one another. We may intervene in cases where our own interests are not directly under threat to help enforce the law of nature.
This right eventually serves as the justification for legitimate rebellion. Still, in the state of nature, the person who is most likely to enforce the law under these circumstances is the person who has been wronged. The basic principle of justice is that the punishment should be proportionate to the crime.
But when the victims are judging the seriousness of the crime, they are more likely to judge it of greater severity than might an impartial judge. As a result, there will be regular miscarriages of justice.
This is perhaps the most important problem with the state of nature. In chapters 3 and 4, Locke defines the states of war and slavery.
Such a person puts themselves into a state of war with the person whose life they intend to take. This is not the normal relationship between people enjoined by the law of nature in the state of nature. Locke is distancing himself from Hobbes who had made the state of nature and the state of war equivalent terms.
For Locke, the state of nature is ordinarily one in which we follow the Golden Rule interpreted in terms of natural rights, and thus love our fellow human creatures. Slavery is the state of being in the absolute or arbitrary power of another. In order to do so one must be an unjust aggressor defeated in war. The just victor then has the option to either kill the aggressor or enslave them. Locke tells us that the state of slavery is the continuation of the state of war between a lawful conqueror and a captive, in which the conqueror delays to take the life of the captive, and instead makes use of him.
This is a continued war because if conqueror and captive make some compact for obedience on the one side and limited power on the other, the state of slavery ceases and becomes a relation between a master and a servant in which the master only has limited power over his servant.
Illegitimate slavery is that state in which someone possesses absolute or despotic power over someone else without just cause. Locke holds that it is this illegitimate state of slavery which absolute monarchs wish to impose upon their subjects. It is very likely for this reason that legitimate slavery is so narrowly defined. Still, it is possible that Locke had an additional purpose or perhaps a quite different reason for writing about slavery.
However, there are strong objections to this view. Had he intended to justify Afro-American slavery, Locke would have done much better with a vastly more inclusive definition of legitimate slavery than the one he gives. This, however, is also not the case. These limits on who can become a legitimate slave and what the powers of a just conqueror are ensure that this theory of conquest and slavery would condemn the institutions and practices of Afro-American slavery in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.
Nonetheless, the debate continues. Roger Woolhouse in his recent biography of Locke Woolhouse Indeed, some of the most controversial issues about the Second Treatise come from varying interpretations of it. In this chapter Locke, in effect, describes the evolution of the state of nature to the point where it becomes expedient for those in it to found a civil government.
In discussing the origin of private property Locke begins by noting that God gave the earth to all men in common. Thus there is a question about how private property comes to be. Locke finds it a serious difficulty. What then is the means to appropriate property from the common store? Locke argues that private property does not come about by universal consent. Locke holds that we have a property in our own person. And the labor of our body and the work of our hands properly belong to us.
So, when one picks up acorns or berries, they thereby belong to the person who picked them up. Daniel Russell claims that for Locke, labor is a goal-directed activity that converts materials that might meet our needs into resources that actually do Russell One might think that one could then acquire as much as one wished, but this is not the case.
Locke introduces at least two important qualifications on how much property can be acquired. The first qualification has to do with waste. As much as anyone can make use of to any advantage of life before it spoils, so much by his labor he may fix a property in; whatever is beyond this, is more than his share, and belongs to others. Since originally, populations were small and resources great, living within the bounds set by reason, there would be little quarrel or contention over property, for a single man could make use of only a very small part of what was available.
Note that Locke has, thus far, been talking about hunting and gathering, and the kinds of limitations which reason imposes on the kind of property that hunters and gatherers hold. In the next section he turns to agriculture and the ownership of land and the kinds of limitations there are on that kind of property. Once again it is labor which imposes limitations upon how much land can be enclosed. It is only as much as one can work. But there is an additional qualification.
Nor was this appropriation of any parcel of land , by improving it, any prejudice to any other man, since there was still enough, and as good left; and more than the as yet unprovided could use. So that, in effect, there was never the less for others because of his inclosure for himself: No body could consider himself injured by the drinking of another man, though he took a good draught, who had a whole river of the same water left to quench his thirst: The next stage in the evolution of the state of nature involves the introduction of money.
So, before the introduction of money, there was a degree of economic equality imposed on mankind both by reason and the barter system. And men were largely confined to the satisfaction of their needs and conveniences. Most of the necessities of life are relatively short lived—berries, plums, venison and so forth. The introduction of money is necessary for the differential increase in property, with resulting economic inequality.
Without money there would be no point in going beyond the economic equality of the earlier stage. In a money economy, different degrees of industry could give men vastly different proportions. This partage of things in an inequality of private possessions, men have made practicable out of the bounds of society, and without compact, only by putting a value on gold and silver, and tacitly agreeing to the use of money: The implication is that it is the introduction of money, which causes inequality, which in turn multiplies the causes of quarrels and contentions and increased numbers of violations of the law of nature.
This leads to the decision to create a civil government. Before turning to the institution of civil government, however, we should ask what happens to the qualifications on the acquisition of property after the advent of money?
One answer proposed by C. Macpherson in The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism is that the qualifications are completely set aside, and we now have a system for the unlimited acquisition of private property.
This does not seem to be correct. It seems plain, rather, that at least the non-spoilage qualification is satisfied, because money does not spoil. The other qualifications may be rendered somewhat irrelevant by the advent of the conventions about property adopted in civil society. This leaves open the question of whether Locke approved of these changes.
Macpherson, who takes Locke to be a spokesman for a proto-capitalist system, sees Locke as advocating the unlimited acquisition of wealth. James Tully, on the other side, in A Discourse of Property holds that Locke sees the new conditions, the change in values and the economic inequality which arise as a result of the advent of money, as the fall of man.
Tully sees Locke as a persistent and powerful critic of self-interest. This remarkable difference in interpretation has been a significant topic for debates among scholars over the last forty years. Covetousness and the desire to having in our possession and our dominion more than we have need of, being the root of all evil, should be early and carefully weeded out and the contrary quality of being ready to impart to others inculcated.
Just as natural rights and natural law theory had a florescence in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, so did the social contract theory. Why is Locke a social contract theorist? Is it merely that this was one prevailing way of thinking about government at the time which Locke blindly adopted? One might hold that governments were originally instituted by force, and that no agreement was involved.
Were Locke to adopt this view, he would be forced to go back on many of the things which are at the heart of his project in the Second Treatise , though cases like the Norman conquest force him to admit that citizens may come to accept a government that was originally forced on them.
Treatises II, 1, 4. So, while Locke might admit that some governments come about through force or violence, he would be destroying the most central and vital distinction, that between legitimate and illegitimate civil government, if he admitted that legitimate government can come about in this way. So, for Locke, legitimate government is instituted by the explicit consent of those governed.
Those who make this agreement transfer to the government their right of executing the law of nature and judging their own case. These are the powers which they give to the central government, and this is what makes the justice system of governments a legitimate function of such governments. Ruth Grant has persuasively argued that the establishment of government is in effect a two step process. Universal consent is necessary to form a political community. Consent to join a community once given is binding and cannot be withdrawn.
This makes political communities stable. The answer to this question is determined by majority rule. The point is that universal consent is necessary to establish a political community, majority consent to answer the question who is to rule such a community. Universal consent and majority consent are thus different in kind, not just in degree. When the designated government dissolves, men remain obligated to society acting through majority rule.
It is entirely possible for the majority to confer the rule of the community on a king and his heirs, or a group of oligarchs or on a democratic assembly. Thus, the social contract is not inextricably linked to democracy.
Still, a government of any kind must perform the legitimate function of a civil government. Locke is now in a position to explain the function of a legitimate government and distinguish it from illegitimate government. The aim of such a legitimate government is to preserve, so far as possible, the rights to life, liberty, health and property of its citizens, and to prosecute and punish those of its citizens who violate the rights of others and to pursue the public good even where this may conflict with the rights of individuals.
In doing this it provides something unavailable in the state of nature, an impartial judge to determine the severity of the crime, and to set a punishment proportionate to the crime. This is one of the main reasons why civil society is an improvement on the state of nature. An illegitimate government will fail to protect the rights to life, liberty, health and property of its subjects, and in the worst cases, such an illegitimate government will claim to be able to violate the rights of its subjects, that is it will claim to have despotic power over its subjects.
Since Locke is arguing against the position of Sir Robert Filmer who held that patriarchal power and political power are the same, and that in effect these amount to despotic power, Locke is at pains to distinguish these three forms of power, and to show that they are not equivalent. THOUGH I have had occasion to speak of these before, yet the great mistakes of late about government, having as I suppose arisen from confounding these distinct powers one with another, it may not be amiss, to consider them together.
Paternal power is limited. It lasts only through the minority of children, and has other limitations. Political power, derived as it is from the transfer of the power of individuals to enforce the law of nature, has with it the right to kill in the interest of preserving the rights of the citizens or otherwise supporting the public good. Legitimate despotic power, by contrast, implies the right to take the life, liberty, health and at least some of the property of any person subject to such a power.
At the end of the Second Treatise we learn about the nature of illegitimate civil governments and the conditions under which rebellion and regicide are legitimate and appropriate. As noted above, scholars now hold that the book was written during the Exclusion crisis, and may have been written to justify a general insurrection and the assassination of the king of England and his brother.
The argument for legitimate revolution follows from making the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate civil government.
A legitimate civil government seeks to preserve the life, health, liberty and property of its subjects, insofar as this is compatible with the public good. Because it does this it deserves obedience. An illegitimate civil government seeks to systematically violate the natural rights of its subjects.
It seeks to make them illegitimate slaves. Because an illegitimate civil government does this, it puts itself in a state of nature and a state of war with its subjects. The magistrate or king of such a state violates the law of nature and so makes himself into a dangerous beast of prey who operates on the principle that might makes right, or that the strongest carries it. In such circumstances, rebellion is legitimate as is the killing of such a dangerous beast of prey.
Thus Locke justifies rebellion and regicide under certain circumstances. Presumably this justification was going to be offered for the killing of the King of England and his brother had the Rye House Plot succeeded. The issue of religious toleration was of widespread interest in Europe in the seventeenth century. The Reformation had split Europe into competing religious camps, and this provoked civil wars and massive religious persecutions.
The Dutch Republic, where Locke spent time, had been founded as a secular state which would allow religious differences. This was a reaction to Catholic persecution of Protestants. Once the Calvinist Church gained power, however, they began persecuting other sects, such as the Remonstrants who disagreed with them. In France, religious conflict had been temporarily quieted by the edict of Nantes.
But in , the year in which Locke wrote the First Letter concerning religious toleration, Louis XIV had revoked the Edict of Nantes, and the Huguenots were being persecuted and though prohibited from doing so, emigrated on mass.
People in England were keenly aware of the events taking place in France. In England itself, religious conflict dominated the seventeenth century, contributing in important respects to the coming of the English Civil War, and the abolishing of the Anglican Church during the Protectorate.
After the Restoration of Charles II, Anglicans in parliament passed laws which repressed both Catholics and Protestant sects such as Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers and Unitarians who did not agree with the doctrines or practices of the state Church. Of these various dissenting sects, some were closer to the Anglicans, others more remote.
One reason among others why King Charles may have found Shaftesbury useful was that they were both concerned about religious toleration. They parted when it became clear that the King was mainly interested in toleration for Catholics, and Shaftesbury for Protestant dissenters.
One widely discussed strategy for reducing religious conflict in England was called comprehension. The idea was to reduce the doctrines and practices of the Anglican church to a minimum so that most, if not all, of the dissenting sects would be included in the state church. For those which even this measure would not serve, there was to be toleration. Toleration we may define as a lack of state persecution. Neither of these strategies made much progress during the course of the Restoration.
This is a quite difficult question to answer. But what kind of Christian was Locke? At Oxford, Locke avoided becoming an Anglican priest. Others have identified him with the Latitudinarians—a movement among Anglicans to argue for a reasonable Christianity that dissenters ought to accept.
Still, there are some reasons to think that Locke was neither an orthodox Anglican or a Latitudinarian. Locke arranged to have the work published anonymously in Holland though in the end Newton decided not to publish McLachlan This strongly suggests that Locke too was by this time an Arian or unitarian. Newton held that the Church had gone in the wrong direction in condemning Arius.
Yet Richard Ashcraft has argued that comprehension for the Anglicans meant conforming to the existing practices of the Anglican Church; that is, the abandonment of religious dissent. Locke had been thinking, talking and writing about religious toleration since In the early s he very likely was an orthodox Anglican. He and Shaftesbury had instituted religious toleration in the Fundamental Constitutions of the Carolinas , He wrote the Epistola de Tolerentia in Latin in while in exile in Holland.
Holland itself was a Calvinist theocracy with significant problems with religious toleration. Locke gives a principled account of religious toleration, though this is mixed in with arguments which apply only to Christians, and perhaps in some cases only to Protestants. He excluded both Catholics and atheists from religious toleration.
In the case of Catholics it was because he regarded them as agents of a foreign power. He gives his general defense of religious toleration while continuing the anti-Papist rhetoric of the Country party which sought to exclude James II from the throne. Locke defines life, liberty, health and property as our civil interests.
These are the proper concern of a magistrate or civil government. The magistrate can use force and violence where this is necessary to preserve civil interests against attack. This is the central function of the state. Locke holds that the use of force by the state to get people to hold certain beliefs or engage in certain ceremonies or practices is illegitimate. The chief means which the magistrate has at her disposal is force, but force is not an effective means for changing or maintaining belief.
Suppose then, that the magistrate uses force so as to make people profess that they believe. A sweet religion, indeed, that obliges men to dissemble, and tell lies to both God and man, for the salvation of their souls! If the magistrate thinks to save men thus, he seems to understand little of the way of salvation; and if he does it not in order to save them, why is he so solicitous of the articles of faith as to enact them by a law. So, religious persecution by the state is inappropriate.
This means that the use of bread and wine, or even the sacrificing of a calf could not be prohibited by the magistrate. If there are competing churches, one might ask which one should have the power? The answer is clearly that power should go to the true church and not to the heretical church. But Locke claims this amounts to saying nothing.
For every church believes itself to be the true church, and there is no judge but God who can determine which of these claims is correct. This will supersede The Works of John Locke of which the edition is probably the most standard. The Oxford Clarendon editions contain much of the material of the Lovelace collection, purchased and donated to Oxford by Paul Mellon.
The Limits of Human Understanding 2. The Two Treatises Of Government 4. In the Epistle to the Reader at the beginning of the Essay Locke remarks: He tells us that: The Limits of Human Understanding Locke is often classified as the first of the great English empiricists ignoring the claims of Bacon and Hobbes.
Locke gives the following argument against innate propositions being dispositional: Woozley puts the difficulty of doing this succinctly: Of enthusiasts, those who would abandon reason and claim to know on the basis of faith alone, Locke writes: Ruth Grant and Nathan Tarcov write in the introduction to their edition of these works: In the Middle Ages the child was regarded as only a simple plaything, as a simple animal, or a miniature adult who dressed, played and was supposed to act like his elders…Their ages were unimportant and therefore seldom known.
The Two Treatises Of Government Lord Shaftsbury had been dismissed from his post as Lord Chancellor in and had become one of the leaders of the opposition party, the Country Party.
Treatises, II, 1,3 In the second chapter of The Second Treatise Locke describes the state in which there is no government with real political power. A wise and omnipotent God, having made people and sent them into this world: Treatises II, 1, 4 So, while Locke might admit that some governments come about through force or violence, he would be destroying the most central and vital distinction, that between legitimate and illegitimate civil government, if he admitted that legitimate government can come about in this way.
He died on 28 October , and is buried in the churchyard of the village of High Laver ,  east of Harlow in Essex, where he had lived in the household of Sir Francis Masham since Locke never married nor had children. He did not quite see the Act of Union of , though the thrones of England and Scotland were held in personal union throughout his lifetime. Constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy were in their infancy during Locke's time. In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Locke's Two Treatises were rarely cited.
Historian Julian Hoppit said of the book, "except among some Whigs, even as a contribution to the intense debate of the s it made little impression and was generally ignored until though in Oxford in it was reported to have made 'a great noise' ". In the 50 years after Queen Anne's death in , the Two Treatises were reprinted only once except in the collected works of Locke. However, with the rise of American resistance to British taxation, the Second Treatise gained a new readership; it was frequently cited in the debates in both America and Britain.
The first American printing occurred in in Boston. Locke exercised a profound influence on political philosophy, in particular on modern liberalism. Michael Zuckert has argued that Locke launched liberalism by tempering Hobbesian absolutism and clearly separating the realms of Church and State.
He had a strong influence on Voltaire who called him " le sage Locke". His arguments concerning liberty and the social contract later influenced the written works of Alexander Hamilton , James Madison , Thomas Jefferson , and other Founding Fathers of the United States. In fact, one passage from the Second Treatise is reproduced verbatim in the Declaration of Independence, the reference to a "long train of abuses".
Such was Locke's influence that Thomas Jefferson wrote: I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception, and as having laid the foundation of those superstructures which have been raised in the Physical and Moral sciences".
But Locke's influence may have been even more profound in the realm of epistemology. Locke redefined subjectivity, or self, and intellectual historians such as Charles Taylor and Jerrold Seigel argue that Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding marks the beginning of the modern Western conception of the self. Locke's theory of association heavily influenced the subject matter of modern psychology. At the time, the empiricist philosopher's recognition of two types of ideas, simple and complex ideas, more importantly their interaction through associationism inspired other philosophers, such as David Hume and George Berkeley , to revise and expand this theory and apply it to explain how humans gain knowledge in the physical world.
Locke, writing his Letters Concerning Toleration — in the aftermath of the European wars of religion , formulated a classic reasoning for religious tolerance.
Three arguments are central: With regard to his position on religious tolerance, Locke was influenced by Baptist theologians like John Smyth and Thomas Helwys , who had published tracts demanding freedom of conscience in the early 17th century. His tract The Bloody Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience , which was widely read in the mother country, was a passionate plea for absolute religious freedom and the total separation of church and state.
Appraisals of Locke have often been tied to appraisals of liberalism in general, and to appraisals of the United States.
Detractors note that in he was a major investor in the English slave-trade through the Royal African Company. In addition, he participated in drafting the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina while Shaftesbury 's secretary, which established a feudal aristocracy and gave a master absolute power over his slaves.
For example, Martin Cohen notes that Locke, as a secretary to the Council of Trade and Plantations — and a member of the Board of Trade — , was in fact, "one of just half a dozen men who created and supervised both the colonies and their iniquitous systems of servitude". Collectively, these documents are known as the Grand Model for the Province of Carolina.
Locke uses the word property in both broad and narrow senses. In a broad sense, it covers a wide range of human interests and aspirations; more narrowly, it refers to material goods. He argues that property is a natural right and it is derived from labour. In Chapter V of his Second Treatise , Locke argues that the individual ownership of goods and property is justified by the labour exerted to produce those goods or utilise property to produce goods beneficial to human society. Locke stated his belief, in his Second Treatise , that nature on its own provides little of value to society, implying that the labour expended in the creation of goods gives them their value.
This position can be seen as a labour theory of value. In addition, he believed that property precedes government and government cannot "dispose of the estates of the subjects arbitrarily. Locke's political theory was founded on social contract theory.
Unlike Thomas Hobbes , Locke believed that human nature is characterised by reason and tolerance. Like Hobbes, Locke believed that human nature allowed people to be selfish. This is apparent with the introduction of currency. In a natural state all people were equal and independent, and everyone had a natural right to defend his "life, health, liberty, or possessions".
Like Hobbes, Locke assumed that the sole right to defend in the state of nature was not enough, so people established a civil society to resolve conflicts in a civil way with help from government in a state of society. However, Locke never refers to Hobbes by name and may instead have been responding to other writers of the day. These ideas would come to have profound influence on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
According to Locke, unused property is wasteful and an offence against nature,  but, with the introduction of "durable" goods, men could exchange their excessive perishable goods for goods that would last longer and thus not offend the natural law. In his view, the introduction of money marks the culmination of this process, making possible the unlimited accumulation of property without causing waste through spoilage.
In his view, the introduction of money eliminates the limits of accumulation. Locke stresses that inequality has come about by tacit agreement on the use of money, not by the social contract establishing civil society or the law of land regulating property. Locke is aware of a problem posed by unlimited accumulation but does not consider it his task. He just implies that government would function to moderate the conflict between the unlimited accumulation of property and a more nearly equal distribution of wealth; he does not identify which principles that government should apply to solve this problem.
However, not all elements of his thought form a consistent whole. For example, labour theory of value of the Two Treatises of Government stands side by side with the demand-and-supply theory developed in a letter he wrote titled Some Considerations on the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest and the Raising of the Value of Money. Moreover, Locke anchors property in labour but in the end upholds the unlimited accumulation of wealth.
Locke's general theory of value and price is a supply and demand theory, which was set out in a letter to a Member of Parliament in , titled Some Considerations on the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest and the Raising of the Value of Money.
His idea is based on "money answers all things" Ecclesiastes or "rent of money is always sufficient, or more than enough," and "varies very little He also investigates the determinants of demand and supply. For supply, he explains the value of goods as based on their scarcity and ability to be exchanged and consumed.
He explains demand for goods as based on their ability to yield a flow of income. Locke develops an early theory of capitalisation , such as land, which has value because "by its constant production of saleable commodities it brings in a certain yearly income. As a medium of exchange, he states that "money is capable by exchange to procure us the necessaries or conveniences of life," and for loanable funds, "it comes to be of the same nature with land by yielding a certain yearly income Locke distinguishes two functions of money, as a "counter" to measure value, and as a "pledge" to lay claim to goods.
He believes that silver and gold, as opposed to paper money, are the appropriate currency for international transactions. Silver and gold, he says, are treated to have equal value by all of humanity and can thus be treated as a pledge by anyone, while the value of paper money is only valid under the government which issues it.
Locke argues that a country should seek a favourable balance of trade , lest it fall behind other countries and suffer a loss in its trade. Since the world money stock grows constantly, a country must constantly seek to enlarge its own stock. Locke develops his theory of foreign exchanges, in addition to commodity movements, there are also movements in country stock of money, and movements of capital determine exchange rates.
He considers the latter less significant and less volatile than commodity movements. As for a country's money stock , if it is large relative to that of other countries, he says it will cause the country's exchange to rise above par, as an export balance would do. He also prepares estimates of the cash requirements for different economic groups landholders, labourers and brokers.
In each group he posits that the cash requirements are closely related to the length of the pay period. Locke defines the self as "that conscious thinking thing, whatever substance, made up of whether spiritual, or material, simple, or compounded, it matters not which is sensible, or conscious of pleasure and pain, capable of happiness or misery, and so is concerned for itself, as far as that consciousness extends".
In his Essay , Locke explains the gradual unfolding of this conscious mind. Arguing against both the Augustinian view of man as originally sinful and the Cartesian position, which holds that man innately knows basic logical propositions, Locke posits an "empty" mind, a tabula rasa , which is shaped by experience; sensations and reflections being the two sources of all our ideas.
Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning Education is an outline on how to educate this mind: Locke also wrote that "the little and almost insensible impressions on our tender infancies have very important and lasting consequences.
In his Essay , in which both these concepts are introduced, Locke warns against, for example, letting "a foolish maid" convince a child that "goblins and sprites" are associated with the night for "darkness shall ever afterwards bring with it those frightful ideas, and they shall be so joined, that he can no more bear the one than the other. This theory came to be called "associationism", and it strongly influenced 18th-century thought, particularly educational theory , as nearly every educational writer warned parents not to allow their children to develop negative associations.
It also led to the development of psychology and other new disciplines with David Hartley 's attempt to discover a biological mechanism for associationism in his Observations on Man Locke was critical of Descartes' version of the dream argument , with Locke making the counterargument that people cannot have physical pain in dreams as they do in waking life.
Some scholars have seen Locke's political convictions as deriving from his religious beliefs. Man was capable of waging unjust wars and committing crimes. Criminals had to be punished, even with the death penalty.
He retained the doctrine of the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures. Locke was convinced that the entire content of the Bible was in agreement with human reason The reasonableness of Christianity , His political thought was based on "a particular set of Protestant Christian assumptions".
Locke's concept of man started with the belief in creation. We have been "sent into the World by [God's] order, and about his business, [we] are his Property, whose Workmanship [we] are, made to last during his, not one anothers Pleasure.
Le Clerc, and others, for conversation upon important subjects, and had drawn Edition: He made an abridgment of it himself, which his friend Mr. About the same time, as Le Clerc informs us, he made several extracts of books, as that of Boyle on Specific Medicines, which is inserted in the second volume of Bibliotheque Universelle; and some others in the following volume. At length the happy revolution in , effected by the courage and good conduct of the prince of Orange, opened a way for Mr.
And upon the restoration of public liberty, he thought it proper to assert his own private rights. He endeavoured therefore to procure his restoration to his place of student of Christ-Church; not that he designed to return thither, but only that it might appear from thence, that he had been unjustly deprived of it. But when he found, that the college could not be prevailed on to dispossess the person who had been elected in his room, and that they would only admit him as a supernumerary student, he desisted from his claim.
It was proposed at a meeting of the heads of houses of the university of Oxford, to censure and discourage the reading of it; and after various debates among themselves, it was concluded, that each head of an house should endeavour to prevent its being read in his college.
Locke had let in more light upon the minds of men than was consistent with the dark designs of some persons. In the same year Mr. His writings had now procured him such high esteem, and he had merited so much of the government, that it would have been easy for him to have obtained a very considerable post; but he contented himself with that of commissioner of appeals, worth about He was offered to go abroad in a public character, and it was left to his choice whether he would be envoy at the court of the emperor, the elector of Brandenbourg, or any other, where he thought the air most suitable to him; but he declined it on account of his ill health.
About this time the public coin was very bad, having been so much clipped, and no care used to remedy it, that it wanted above a third of its due value. The effect of this was, that the people thought themselves a great deal richer than indeed they were: Locke had observed this disorder ever since his return to England; and he frequently spoke of it, that some measures might be taken to prevent it.
To assist the great men at the head of affairs, who are not always the best judges, to form a right understanding of this matter, and to excite them to rectify this shameful abuse, Mr. This treatise was shortly followed by two more upon the same subject, in which he obviated all objections, and confuted all his opposers. He fully showed to the world by these discourses, that he was able to reason on trade and business, as on the most abstract parts of science; and that he was none of those philosophers, who spend their lives in search of truths merely speculative, and who by their ignorance of those things which concern the public good, are incapable of serving their country.
These writings recommended him to the notice of the greatest persons, with whom he used to converse very freely. He was received upon his own terms, that he might have his intire liberty, and look upon himself as at his own house. Here he applied himself to his studies as much as his weak health would allow, being seldom absent, because the air of London grew more and more troublesome to him.
He came to town only in the summer for three or four months, and if he returned to Oates any thing indisposed, the air of that place soon recovered him. In this he has proved, that the christian religion, as delivered in the scriptures, and free from all corrupt mixtures, is the most reasonable institution in the world. This book was attacked by an ignorant, but zealous divine, Dr.
Edwards, in a very rude and scurrilous manner. Locke answered Edwards, and defended his answer with such strength of reason, that he might justly have expected from his adversary a public acknowledgment of his errour, if he had not been one of those writers who have no more shame than reason in them.
Locke was also obliged to Mr. Bold, a worthy and pious clergyman, for vindicating his principles against the cavils of Edwards. Some time before this, Mr. Toland, in explaining some of his notions, used several arguments from Mr.
Locke having asserted in his writings, that revelation delivers nothing contrary to reason; these things engaged Dr. Stillingfleet, the learned bishop of Worcester, to publish a treatise in which he endeavoured to defend the doctrine of the trinity, against Mr.
Toland and the unitarians. In this treatise the bishop opposed some of Mr. Locke answered him, and the bishop replied the same year. This reply was confuted, by a second letter of Mr. But the bishop dying some time after this, the dispute ended. In this controversy every body admired the strength of Mr.
Locke, whose reasoning he neither understood, nor the thing itself about which he disputed. This learned bishop had spent the greatest part of his time in the study of ecclesiastical antiquities, and reading a prodigious number of books, but was no great philosopher; nor had he ever accustomed himself to that close way of thinking and reasoning, in which Mr.
Locke did so highly excel. In short, never was a controversy managed with so much art and skill on one side; nor, on the other, so unjustly, confusedly, or so little to the credit of the author. Time, which is the best judge of things, has abundantly manifested this. Locke was appointed one of the commissioners of trade and plantations, a place worth l.
The duties of this post he discharged with much care and diligence, and with universal approbation. He continued in it till the year , when upon the increase of his asthmatic disorder, he was forced to resign it.
The king was very unwilling to dismiss him, and told our author, that he would be well pleased with his continuance in that office, though he should give little or no attendance; for that he did not desire him to stay in town one day to the hurt of his health. Locke told the king, that he could not in conscience hold a place to which such a salary was annexed, without discharging the duties of it; and therefore he begged leave to resign it.
King William had a great esteem for our author, and would sometimes send for him to discourse on public affairs, and to know his sentiments of things.
Locke once told the king very plainly, that if the universities were not reformed, and other principles taught there, than had been formerly inculcated, they would either destroy him, or some of his successors, or both. He had a great knowledge of the world, and was prudent without cunning, easy, affable, and condescending Edition: If there was any thing he could not bear, it was ill manners, and a rude behaviour. This was ever ungrateful to him, unless when he perceived that it proceeded from ignorance; but when it was the effect of pride, ill-nature, or brutality, he detested it.
He looked on civility not only as a duty of humanity, but of christianity; and he thought that it ought to be more pressed and urged upon men than it commonly is. He was exact to his word, and religiously performed whatever he promised. He was very scrupulous of giving recommendations of persons whom he did not well know, and would by no means commend those whom he thought not to deserve it.
He was naturally very active, and employed himself as much as his health would permit. Sometimes he diverted himself with working in the garden, which he well understood. He loved walking, but not being able to walk much, through the disorder of his lungs, he used to ride out after dinner; and when he could not bear a horse, he went in a chaise.
He always chose to have company with him, though it were but a child, for he took pleasure in talking with children of a good education. He did not differ from others in his diet, but only in that his usual drink was nothing but water; and he thought Edition: To this he also thought the preservation of his sight was in a great measure owing, for he could read by candle-light all sorts of books to the last, if they were not of a very small print, without the use of spectacles.
The last fourteen or fifteen years of his life, he spent chiefly at Oates, seldom coming to town; and during this agreeable retirement, he applied himself to the study of the scriptures. His weakness made him apprehend his death was near. He often spoke of it himself, but always with great composure, though he omitted none of the precautions which his skill in medicine could suggest, in order to prolong his life.
At length his legs began to swell; and that swelling increasing every day, his strength diminished visibly. He then saw how short a time he had to live, and prepared to quit this world, with a deep sense of the manifold blessings of God to him, which he took delight in recounting to his friends, and full of a sincere resignation to the divine will, and of firm hopes in his promises of a future life.
For some weeks, as he was not able to walk, he was carried about the house in a chair. The day before his death, lady Masham being alone with him, and sitting by his bed, he exhorted her, to regard this world only as a state of preparation for a better; and added, that he had lived long enough, and thanked God for having passed his life so happily, but that this life appeared to him a mere vanity.
He had no sleep that night, but resolved to try to rise next morning, as he did. He was carried into his study, and placed in an easy chair, where he slept a considerable while at different times. Seeming to be a little refreshed, he would be dressed as he Edition: He then desired lady Masham, who was reading the psalms low, while he was dressing, to read aloud: He was interred in the church-yard of High Lever, in Essex, and the following inscription, placed against the church-wall, was written by himself:.
Si qualis fuerit rogas, mediocritate sua contentum se vixisse respondet. Literis innutritus, eousque profecit, ut veritati unice litaret. Virtutes si quas habuit, minores sane quam sibi laudi, tibi in exemplum proponeret. Thus died this great and most excellent philosopher, who, after he had bestowed many years in matters of science and speculation, happily turned his thoughts to the study of the scriptures, which he carefully examined with the same liberty he had used in the study of the other sciences.
There is no occasion to attempt a panegyric on our author. His writings are now well known, and valued, and will last as long as the English language.
His character, by P. Coste, is likewise delivered at large in the same place, and need not be repeated here, as it inadvertently was in a former edition. As thou knowest not what is the way of the Spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child, even so thou knowest not the works of God, who maketh all things. Quam bellum est velle confiteri potius nescire quod nescias, quam ista effutientem nauseare atque ipsum sibi displicere!
It is not that I think any name, how great soever, set at the beginning of a book, will be able to cover the faults that are to be found in it. But there being nothing more to be desired for truth, than a fair unprejudiced hearing, nobody is more likely to procure me that than your lordship, who are allowed to have got so intimate an acquaintance with her, in her more retired recesses.
Your lordship is known to have so far advanced your speculations in the most abstract and general knowledge of things, beyond the ordinary reach, or Edition: Truth scarce ever yet carried it by vote any where at its first appearance: But truth, like gold, is not the less so for being newly brought out of the mine.
It is trial and examination must give it price, and not an antique fashion: Your lordship can give great and convincing instances of this, whenever you please to oblige the public with some of those large and comprehensive discoveries you have made of truths hitherto unknown, unless to some few, from whom your lordship has been pleased not wholly to conceal them.
This alone were a sufficient reason, were there no other, why I should dedicate this Essay to your lordship; and its having some little correspondence with some parts of that nobler and vast system of the sciences your lordship has made so new, exact, and instructive a draught of, I think it glory enough, if your lordship permit me to boast, that here and there I have fallen into some thoughts not Edition: If your lordship think fit, that, by your encouragement, this should appear in the world, I hope it may be a reason, some time or other, to lead your lordship farther; and you will allow me to say, that you here give the world an earnest of something, that, if they can bear with this, will be truly worth their expectation.
This, my lord, shows what a present I here make to your lordship; just such as the poor man does to his rich and great neighbour, by whom the basket of flowers or fruit is not ill taken, though he has more plenty of his own growth, and in much greater perfection. Worthless things receive a value, when they are made the offerings of respect, esteem, and gratitude; these you have given me so mighty and peculiar reasons to have, in the highest degree, for your lordship, that if they can add a price to what they go along with, proportionable to their own greatness, I can with confidence brag, I here make your lordship the richest present you ever received.
This I am sure, I am under the greatest obligations to seek all occasions to acknowledge a long train of favours I have received from your lordship; favours, though great and important in themselves, yet made much more so by the forwardness, concern, and kindness, and other obliging circumstances, that never failed to accompany them.
To all this, you are pleased to add that which gives yet more weight and relish to all the rest: This, my lord, your words and actions so constantly show on all occasions, Edition: I wish they could as easily assist my gratitude, as they convince me of the great and growing engagements it has to your lordship.
This I am sure, I should write of the understanding without having any, if I were not extremely sensible of them, and did not lay hold on this opportunity to testify to the world, how much I am obliged to be, and how much I am,. I here put into thy hands, what has been the diversion of some of my idle and heavy hours: Mistake not this, for a commendation of my work; nor conclude, because I was pleased with the doing of it, that therefore I am fondly taken with it now it is done.
He that hawks at larks and sparrows, has no less sport, though a much less considerable quarry, than he that flies at nobler game: Its searches after truth, are a sort of hawking and hunting, wherein the very pursuit makes a great part of the pleasure. Every step the mind takes in its progress towards knowledge, makes some discovery, which is not only new, but the best too, for the time at least.
For the understanding, like the eye, judging of objects only by its own sight, cannot but be pleased with what it discovers, having less regret for what has escaped it, because it is unknown.
Thus he who has raised Edition: This, Reader, is the entertainment of those who let loose their own thoughts, and follow them in writing; which thou oughtest not to envy them, since they afford thee an opportunity of the like diversion, if thou wilt make use of thy own thoughts in reading.
It is to them, if they are thy own, that I refer myself: If thou judgest for thyself, I know thou wilt judge candidly; and then I shall not be harmed or offended, whatever be thy censure. For though it be certain, that there is nothing in this treatise, of the truth whereof I am not fully persuaded; yet I consider myself as liable to mistakes, as I can think thee, and know that this book must stand or fall with thee, not by any opinion I have of it, but thy own.
If thou findest little in it new or instructive to thee, thou art not to blame me for it. It was not meant for those that had already mastered this subject, and made a thorough acquaintance with their own understandings; but for my own information, and the satisfaction of a few friends, who acknowledged themselves not to have sufficiently considered it.
Were it fit to trouble thee with the history of this Essay, I should tell thee, that five or six friends meeting at my chamber, and discoursing on a subject very remote from this, found themselves quickly at a stand, by the difficulties that rose on every side.
After we had a while puzzled ourselves, without coming any nearer a resolution of those doubts which perplexed us, it came into my thoughts, that we took a wrong course; and Edition: This I proposed to the company, who all readily assented; and thereupon it was agreed, that this should be our first inquiry.
Some hasty and undigested thoughts on a subject I had never before considered, which I set down against our next meeting, gave the first entrance into this discourse; which having been thus begun by chance, was continued by intreaty; written by incoherent parcels; and after long intervals of neglect, resumed again, as my humour or occasions permitted; and at last, in a retirement, where an attendance on my health gave me leisure, it was brought into that order thou now seest it.
This discontinued way of writing may have occasioned, besides others, two contrary faults, viz. If thou findest any thing wanting, I shall be glad, that what I have writ gives thee any desire, that I should have gone farther: I will not deny, but possibly it might be reduced to a narrower compass than it is; and that some parts of it might be contracted; the way it has been writ in, by catches, and many long intervals of interruption, being apt to cause some repetitions.
But to confess the truth, I am now too lazy, or too busy to make it shorter. I am not ignorant how little I herein consult my own reputation, when I knowingly let it go with a fault, so apt to disgust the most judicious, who are always the nicest readers.
But they who know sloth is apt to content itself with any excuse, will pardon me, if mine has prevailed on me, where, I think, I have a very good one. I will not therefore allege in my defence, that the same notion, having different respects, may Edition: I pretend not to publish this Essay for the information of men of large thoughts, and quick apprehensions; to such masters of knowledge, I profess myself a scholar, and therefore warn them beforehand not to expect any thing here, but what, being spun out of my own coarse thoughts, is fitted to men of my own size; to whom, perhaps, it will not be unacceptable, that I have taken some pains to make plain and familiar to their thoughts some truths, which established prejudice, or the abstractedness of the ideas themselves, might render difficult.
Some objects had need be turned on every side: There are few, I believe, who have not observed in themselves or others, that what in one way of proposing was very obscure, another way of expressing it has made very clear and intelligible; though afterward the mind found little difference in the phrases, and wondered why one failed to be understood more than the other. We have our understandings no less different than our palates; and he that thinks the same truth shall be equally relished by every one in the same dress, may as well hope to feast every one with the same sort of cookery: The truth is, those who advised me to publish it, advised me, for this reason, to publish it as it is; and since I have been brought to let it go abroad, I desire it should be understood by whoever Edition: My appearing therefore in print, being on purpose to be as useful as I may, I think it necessary to make what I have to say, as easy and intelligible to all sorts of readers, as I can.
And I had much rather the speculative and quick-sighted should complain of my being in some parts tedious, than that any one, not accustomed to abstract speculations, or prepossessed with different notions, should mistake, or not comprehend my meaning.
It will possibly be censured as a great piece of vanity or insolence in me, to pretend to instruct this our knowing age; it amounting to little less, when I own, that I publish this Essay with hopes it may be useful to others. But if it may be permitted to speak freely of those, who with a feigned modesty condemn as useless, what they themselves write, methinks it savours much more of vanity or insolence, to publish a book for any other end; and he fails very much of that respect he owes the public, who prints, and consequently expects men should read that, wherein he intends not they should meet with any thing of use to themselves or others: It is that chiefly which secures me from the fear of censure, which I expect not to escape more than better writers.
I acknowledge the age we live in is not the least knowing, and therefore not the most easy to be satisfied. If I have not the good luck to please, yet nobody ought to be offended with me. I plainly tell all my readers, except half a dozen, this treatise was not at first intended for them; and therefore they need not be at the trouble to be of that number.
I shall always have the satisfaction to have aimed sincerely at truth and usefulness, though in one of the meanest ways. The commonwealth of learning is not at this time without master-builders, whose mighty designs in advancing the sciences, will leave lasting monuments to the admiration of posterity; but every one must not hope to be a Boyle, or a Sydenham; and in an age that produces such masters, as the great — Huygenius, and the incomparable Mr.
Newton, with some others of that strain; it is ambition enough to be employed as an under-labourer in clearing the ground a little, and removing some of the rubbish that lies in the way to knowledge; which certainly had been very much more advanced in the world, if the endeavours of ingenious and industrious men had not been much cumbered with the learned but frivolous use of uncouth, affected, or unintelligible terms, introduced into the sciences, and there made an art of, to that degree, that philosophy, which is nothing but the true knowledge of things, was thought unfit, or uncapable to be brought into well-bred company, and polite conversation.
Vague and insignificant forms of speech, and abuse of language, have so long passed for mysteries of science; and hard and misapplied words, with little or no meaning, have, by prescription, such a right to be mistaken for deep learning, and height of speculation, that it will not be easy to persuade, either those who speak, or those who hear them, that they are but the covers of ignorance, and hindrance of true knowledge.
To break in upon the sanctuary of vanity and ignorance, will be, I suppose, some service to human understanding: I have been told, that a short epitome of this treatise, which was printed , was by some condemned without reading, because innate ideas were denied in it; they too hastily concluding, that if innate ideas were not supposed, there would be little left, either of the notion or proof of spirits.
If any one take the like offence at the entrance of this treatise, I shall desire him to read it through; and then I hope he will be convinced, that the taking away false foundations, is not to the prejudice, but advantage of truth; which is never injured or endangered so much, as when mixed with, or built on falsehood.
In the second edition, I added as followeth:. The bookseller will not forgive me, if I say nothing of this second edition, which he has promised, by the correctness of it, shall make amends for the many faults committed in the former. He desires too, that it should be known, that it has one whole new chapter concerning identity, and many additions and amendments in other places.
These I must inform my reader are not all new matter, but most of them either farther confirmations of what I had said, or explications, to prevent others being mistaken in the sense of what was formerly printed, and not any variation in me from it; I must only except the alterations I have made in Book II.
What I had there writ concerning liberty and the will, I thought deserved as accurate a view, as I was capable of; those subjects having in all ages exercised the learned part of the world, with questions and difficulties, that have not a little perplexed morality and divinity; those parts of knowledge, that men are most concerned to be clear in.
This I cannot forbear to acknowledge to the world with as much freedom and readiness, as I at first published what then seemed to me to be right; thinking myself more concerned to quit and renounce any opinion of my own, than oppose that of another, when truth appears against it. For it is truth alone I seek, and that will always be welcome to me, when or from whence soever it comes.
But what forwardness soever I have to resign any opinion I have, or to recede from any thing I have writ, upon the first evidence of any errour in it; yet this I must own, that I have not had the good luck to receive any light from those exceptions I have met with in print against any part of my book; nor have, from any thing that has been urged against it, found reason to alter my sense, in any of the points that have been questioned.
Whether the subject I have in hand requires often more thought and attention than cursory readers, at least such as are prepossessed, are willing to allow: There are so many instances of this, that I think it justice to my reader and myself, to conclude, that either my book is plainly enough written to be rightly understood by those who peruse it with that attention and indifferency, which every one, who will give himself the pains to read, ought to employ in reading; or else, that I have writ mine so obscurely, that it is in vain to go about to mend it.
Which ever of these be the truth, it is myself only am affected thereby, and therefore I shall be far from troubling my reader with what I think might be said, in answer to those several objections I have met with, to passages here and there of my book: The booksellers preparing for the fourth edition of my Essay, gave me notice of it, that I might, if I had leisure, make any additions or alterations I should think fit.
Whereupon I thought it convenient to advertise the reader, that besides several corrections I had made here and there, there was one alteration which it was necessary to mention, because it ran through the whole book, and is of consequence to be rightly understood. What I thereupon said was this:. And possibly it is but here and there one, who gives himself the trouble to consider them so far as to know what he himself or others precisely mean by them: By those denominations, I mean some object in the mind, and consequently determined, i.
This, I think, may fitly be called a determinate or determined idea, when such as it is at any time objectively in the mind, and so determined there, it is annexed, and without variation determined to a name or articulate sound, which is to be steadily the sign of that very same object of the mind, or determinate idea. To explain this a little more particularly.
By determinate, when applied to a simple idea, I mean that Edition: I say, should be; because it is not every one, not perhaps any one, who is so careful of his language, as to use no word, till he views in his mind the precise determined idea, which he resolves to make it the sign of.
But this hinders not, but that when any one uses any term, he may have in his mind a determined idea, which he makes it the sign of, and to which he should keep it steadily annexed, during that present discourse. Where he does not, or cannot do this, he in vain pretends to clear or distinct ideas: Upon this ground I have thought determined ideas a way of speaking less liable to mistakes, than clear and distinct: The greatest part of the questions and controversies that perplex mankind, depending on the doubtful and uncertain use of words, or which is the same indetermined ideas, which they are made to stand for; I have made choice of these terms to signify, 1.
Some immediate object of the mind, which it perceives and has before it, distinct from the sound it uses as a sign of it. That this idea, thus determined, i. If men had such determined ideas in their inquiries and discourses they would both discern how far their own inquiries and discourses went, and avoid the greatest part of the disputes and wranglings they have with others.
Besides this, the bookseller will think it necessary I should advertise the reader, that there is an addition of two chapters wholly new; the one of the association of ideas, the other of enthusiasm. These, with some other larger additions never before printed, he has engaged to print by themselves after the same manner, and for the same purpose, as was done when this essay had the second impression.
In the sixth edition, there is very little added or altered; the greatest part of what is new, is contained in the 21st chapter of the second book, which any one, if he thinks it worth while, may, with a very little labour, transcribe into the margin of the former edition.
Since it is the understanding, that sets man above the rest of sensible beings, and gives him all the advantage and dominion, which he has over them; it is certainly a subject, even for its nobleness, worth our labour to inquire into.
The understanding, like the eye, whilst it makes us see and perceive all other things, takes no notice of itself; and it requires art and pains to set it at a distance, and make it its own object.
But, whatever be the difficulties that lie in the way of this inquiry; whatever it be, that keeps us so much in the dark to ourselves; sure I am, that all the light we can let in upon our own minds, all the acquaintance we can make with our own understandings, will not only be very pleasant, but bring us great advantage, in directing our thoughts in the search of other things.
This, therefore, being my purpose, to inquire into the original, certainty, and extent of human knowledge; together with the grounds and degrees of belief, opinion, and assent; I shall not at present meddle with the physical consideration of the mind; or trouble myself to examine, wherein its essence consists, or by what motions of our spirits, Edition: These are speculations, which, however curious and entertaining, I shall decline, as lying out of my way in the design I am now upon.
It shall suffice to my present purpose, to consider the discerning faculties of a man, as they are employed about the objects, which they have to do with: And I shall imagine I have not wholly misemployed myself in the thoughts I shall have on this occasion, if, in this historical, plain method, I can give any account of the ways, whereby our understandings come to attain those notions of things we have, and can set down any measures of the certainty of our knowledge, or the grounds of those persuasions, which are to be found amongst men, so various, different, and wholly contradictory; and yet asserted, somewhere or other, with such assurance and confidence, that he that shall take a view of the opinions of mankind, observe their opposition, and at the same time consider the fondness and devotion wherewith they are embraced, the resolution and eagerness wherewith they are maintained, may perhaps have reason to suspect, that either there is no such thing as truth at all; or that mankind hath no sufficient means to attain a certain knowledge of it.
It is, therefore, worth while to search out the bounds between opinion and knowledge; and examine by what measures, in things, whereof we have no certain knowledge, we ought to regulate our assent, and moderate our persuasions. In order whereunto, I shall pursue this following method. First, I shall enquire into the origin of those ideas, notions, or whatever else you please to call them, which a man observes, and is conscious to himself he has in his mind; and the ways, whereby the understanding comes to be furnished with them.
Secondly, I shall endeavour to shew what knowledge the understanding hath by those ideas; and the certainty, evidence, and extent of it. Thirdly, I shall make some enquiry into the nature and grounds of faith, or opinion; whereby I mean that assent, which we give to any proposition as true, of whose truth yet we have no certain knowledge: If, by this enquiry into the nature of the understanding, I can discover the powers thereof; how far they reach; to what things they are in any degree proportionate; and where they fail us: I suppose it may be of use to prevail with the busy mind of man, to be more cautious in meddling with things exceeding its comprehension; to stop when it is at the utmost extent of its tether; and to sit down in a quiet ignorance of those things, which, upon examination, are found to be beyond the reach of our capacities.
We should not then perhaps be so forward, out of an affectation of an universal knowledge, to raise questions, and perplex ourselves and others with disputes about things, to which our understandings are not suited; and of which we cannot frame in our minds any clear or distinct perceptions, or whereof as it has perhaps too often happened we have not any notions at all.
If we can find out how far the understanding can extend its view, how far it has faculties to attain certainty, and in what cases it can only judge and guess; we may learn to content ourselves with what is attainable by us in this state. For, though the comprehension of our understandings comes exceeding short of the vast extent of things; yet we shall have cause enough to magnify the bountiful author of our being, for that proportion and degree of knowledge he has bestowed on us, so far above all the rest of the inhabitants of this our mansion.
Men have reason to be well satisfied with what God hath thought fit for them, since he hath given them as St. How short soever their knowledge may come of an universal or perfect comprehension of whatsoever is, it yet secures their great concernments, that they have light enough to lead them to the knowledge of their maker, and the sight of their own duties.
Men may find matter sufficient to busy their heads, and employ their hands with variety, delight and satisfaction; if they will not boldly quarrel with their own constitution, and throw away the blessings their hands are filled with, because they are not big enough to grasp every thing. We shall not have much reason to complain of the narrowness of our minds, if we will but employ them about what may be of use to us; for of that they are very capable: It will be no excuse to an idle and untoward servant, who would not attend his business by candle-light, to plead that he had not broad sun-shine.
The candle, that is set up in us, shines bright enough for all our purposes. The discoveries we can make with this, ought to satisfy us; and we shall then use our understandings right, when we entertain all objects in that way and proportion that they are suited to our faculties, and upon those grounds they are capable of being proposed to us, and not peremptorily, or intemperately require demonstration, and demand certainty, where probability only is to be had, and which is sufficient to govern all our concernments.
If we will disbelieve every things, because we certainly cannot know all things; we shall do muchwhat as wisely as he, who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly. When we know our own strength, we shall the better know what to undertake with hopes of success: It is of great use to the sailor, to know the length of his line, though he cannot with it fathom all the depths of the ocean.
It is well he knows, that it is long enough to reach the bottom, at such places as are necessary to direct his voyage, and caution him against running upon shoals that may ruin him.
John Locke - In this essay I argue that the late philosopher Locke has the most compelling theory of metaphysics. First, I explain Locke’s point that all humans are born as Tabula Rasa, in order to gain basic understanding of where Locke begins his theory.
Englishmen, John Locke. John Locke was a philosophical influence in both political theory and theoretical philosophy, which was embraced among the era of and the concept of equal rights among men. John Locke’s writings influenced the works of multiple diplomats concerning liberty and the social contract between society and the government.
Mr. John Locke was the son of John Locke, of Pensford, a market-town in Somersetshire, five miles from Bristol, by Ann his wife, daughter of Edmund Keen, alias Ken, of Wrington, tanner. He was born at Wrington, another market-town in the same county. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding John Locke’s Essay presents a detailed, systematic philosophy of mind and thought. The Essay wrestles with fundamental questions about how we think and perceive, and it even touches on how we express ourselves through .
Locke was a creator of the idea of the separation of powers. He also influenced the modern educational theory. His theories are strong when it comes to prosperity, scarcity, money, and property. The John Locke Foundation was created in as an independent, nonprofit think tank that would work “for truth, for freedom, and for the future of North Carolina.” The Foundation is named for John Locke (), an English philosopher whose writings inspired Thomas Jefferson and the .