John Locke

John Locke was a 17th  early18th century philosopher, an academic at Oxford as well as a medical researcher. He became a successive government official, collecting trade and colony information and becoming an economic writer, political activist in the opposition and eventually, a revolutionary (IEP, 2001). Locke was himself a great educationalist in the sense that he was not only a practitioner of good education, but also its publicist, besides significantly contributing to the human understanding of religion, medicine, science, economics, and political philosophy (Aldrich, 1999). John Locke is among the most significant English philosophers, affecting the most important areas of human life and humans environment. This paper will focus on his contributions to society during his life, through his written works and his active involvement in social change.

In education, Locke had a lot of influence, counseling parents to avoid giving their children liberty or indulge them, by saying that doing so would do them no good, as their need for judgment leads them to a need for restraint and discipline. He argued that by children not being used to submitting their wills to the reason of others, they would experience difficulties submitting to their own reason once they become of age (Aldrich, 1999).

Lockes knowledge and practice of medicine led to his accidental acquaintance with Lord Ashley, becoming a Shaftesburys households member even without having to serve his association with Oxford. He was seen as indispensable in domestic as well as political matters. With his skilful surgery, he saved the life of the statesman and arranged an apt marriage for the statesmans heir, attended to the lady during her confinement, besides directing her sons nursing and education. He also helped Shaftesbury in business and politics, following him into civil service. Locke became Shaftesburys secretary when Shaftesbury was made lord chancellor in the year 1672, for presentations to benefices. Locke was the made Board of Trades secretary in 1673, but then his official status ended, in the meantime, in 1675, following his chiefs fall (IEP, 2001).

According to William Uzgalis (2007), Locke was also involved in the freedom cause and so when he returned to England from Holland, where he had gone for exile because of his connection with Shaftesbury, Locke was offered ambassadorship at either Vienna or Berlin, which he declined. This was because while in Holland, he had taken part in the freedom movement, together with others. Lockes 92-page Essay summary of BibliothequeUuniverselle et Historiques and its first editions publication in 1688 was as popular as it was controversial, not only in England, but also in Europe for a half-century. Here, Locke argued against innate ideas and principles and was the Essays early, striking success. His attacks on inborn ideas were also part of his anti-authoritarian and his pro-freedom arguments.

 Another thing that caused heated debates was his personal identity account, which was genuinely revolutionary, contributing greatly to philosophy. His skepticism regarding the material or immaterial nature of the soul was also a topic of heated debates during the 18th century. Gideon Yaffes book, Liberty Worth the Name may renew interest in Lockes personal identity account because Yaffe argues they are stil relevant to modern debates on free as well as other issues Locke wrote about (Uzgalis, 2007).

John Locke also had profound effects on the principles the US government was founded. He touched on human understanding, economics, religion and even politics. His writings on these matters still influence the US governments structure and operation up to this day. One of his outstanding concepts is the concept that property is the basis for prosperity and his concept regarding separation of powers. Lockes case is presented in what today is called the liberal democracy because it partly defines the connection between political systems and bureaucracies (Griffith, 1997).


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