Who Was John Locke and What Did He Do?

Updated: December 12, 2022
John Locke was an English philosopher who is considered to be one of the first philosophers of the Enlightenment. He is known for his work on epistemology, political philosophy, and religious toleration.
Detailed answer:

John Locke was an English philosopher and physician, who was born in Wrington, Somerset, England. Locke is considered the father of liberalism and his writings were a major influence on the development of liberal political theory. He wrote “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding” and after publishing this book Locke took up a medical practice in London as well as writing many letters to friends concerning political issues such as slavery and religious toleration which would later be compiled into his second major work titled “Two Treatises on Government”.

Locke’s ideas about natural rights and government were influential on the Founding Fathers of the United States because they believed that Locke’s philosophy justified their rebellion against King George III. Locke believed that people had natural rights, which are rights to life, liberty, and property that cannot be taken away by governments or other people without their consent. He also believed that governments should be based on the consent of their citizens.

The Founding Fathers used these principles as justification for breaking away from England and forming a new country based on democracy instead of the aristocracy.

Locke also believed in empiricism or the idea that knowledge comes from experience. This meant that he disagreed with Plato’s theory of Forms: Plato believed that there were abstract forms of things like “justice” or “goodness” out there in the world; Locke disagreed because he said there is no such thing as justice outside our minds—it’s just something we create when we observe how people act toward one another.

John Locke died on October 28, 1704, in Oates, Essex, England.

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