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Philosopher Biography: John Locke - Term Paper Example

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Philosopher Biography: John Locke

Indeed, Locke’s insights in political philosophy make him one of history’s greatest philosophers, with a portion of his writing even being reproduced in the Declaration of Independence. This essay considers Locke’s life and examines some of his major works in establishing his profound impact on the modern world. Locke was born August 29th, 1632. Locke was born into a relatively affluent family, with a father who was an attorney. His father, who carried the same name, was clerk to the Justices of the Peace in Chew Magna. During the English Civil War he served as captain of the cavalry for the Parliamentarian forces. Locke’s mother was also a recognized figure in the community. She has been noted to be a beautiful woman and the daughter of a tanner. Both of his parents were Puritans. This religious influence had a strong impact on Locke’s life in that the strong educational and moral principles became prominent elements of his own life. Locke himself was born in a cottage in Wrington, Somerset very near Bristol. The strong tenants of Locke’s parent’s values emerged in terms of his education, as he was sent to the renowned Westminster School in London. Locke was a standout student at this institute and would continue his studies at the equally prestigious Christ Church in Oxford. At this university Locke would first become exposed to the philosophical works that would come to have a profound influence on his later writings. During this period the university largely taught philosophical works of Greek antiquity. While Locke investigated these works, he ultimately became less interested in them, preferring the more modern works of Rene Descartes. During this period Locke also came to become interested in medicine and experimental philosophy and would go on to become a member of the English Royal Society that explored many of these concerns. Ultimately, Locke would receive a bachelor’s degree in 1656, a master’s degree in 1658, and a bachelor of medicine in 1674. During Locke’s studies in medicine he would become acquainted with many of the most prominent medical thinkers of the period. Among these thinkers were Robert Boyle, Thomas Willis, Robert Hooke, Richard Lower, and Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper. The last of these individual became highly impressed with Locke and would ask him to become part of his collaborative team. Upon joining Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, Locke would also become under the tutelage of Thomas Sydenham. Sydenham would greatly influence Locke through in terms of philosophical thought. For instance, Locke would Syndenham would have a prominent influence on perhaps Locke’s most renowned work – An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. In terms of Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper’s influence on Locke, there were a great variety of influences in terms of political and philosophical thought. In terms of political philosophy, Ashley Cooper was the founder of the Whig movement and as such the ideas and platforms inherent in this political party would be have a great impact on Locke’s thought. Locke himself would become an active political participant. His first involvement in the political spectrum occurred in 1672 when Lord Ashley Cooper became Lord Chancellor. After this period Locke would travel around Europe as a tutor and attendant to Caleb Banks. He would not return until 1679 when Lord Ashley ...Show more

Summary

Philosopher Biography: John Locke John Locke is recognized as one of the major philosophers of the Modern period. His seminal thinking in texts such as an Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Two Treatises on Government had both a powerful impact on thinkers of his time and would go on to influence some of the founding forefathers of the United States, including Thomas Jefferson…
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