Locke Essay Concerning Human Understanding Online

Locke Essay Concerning Human Understanding Online-84
Experimental in the research became fashionable in England after the Restora- medicine. Before 1666 he was engaged in a sort of amateur practice in Oxford.

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HUMAN KNOWLEDGE OF IDEAS CO-EXISTING AS ATTRIBUTES AND POWERS IN PARTICULAR SUBSTANCES xcii vn. Besides, he inherited a delicate constitution, unfavourable to practice as a physician, and all his life he had to offer a prudent resistance to chronic consumption and asthma. But the most remarkable revelation of those early Oxford years is in an Essay concerning Toleration, found among his papers. Among them a fragment on the Roman Commonwealth, and another headed Sacerdos, show how soon the idea of liberty, civil and religious, was in process of formation in his XX11 Prolegomena : Biographical, mind ; and how he looked at sacerdotalism as the one widespread perversion of the original simplicity of Christi anity. He may have suggested the very question about human knowledge and its limits which led to the Essay a question which Descartes says that any man who loves truth must examine once at least in his life ; since the adequate investigation of it com prehends all intellectual method, and the organon of human knowledge; nothing being more absurd than to argue about Preparation for the Essay. Descartes, often named in Locke s letters to Stillingfleet, probably influenced him more than any metaphysical philosopher, not only by his analytic intrepidity, but by his introspective method. PRINTED AT THE CLARENDON PRESS HV HORACE HART, PRINTER TO THE VMVKKS1TY Although increased leisure, gained more tlian two years ago, by release from t Jie public duties of the Edinburgh lecture-room, may have hardly compensated for abatement of strength in the evening of life, I have gladly devoted a portion of that strength to this labour of love in connexion with Locke ; in succession to the development of the philosophy of Berkeley in winch I was before engaged. PREPARATION FOR THE ESSAY : LOCKE S EARLY LIFE IN SOMER SET, OXFORD, AND LONDON (1632-70) .... PREPARATION OF THE ESSAY : IN LONDON, FRANCE, AND HOLLAND (1670-89) . This aptly expresses Locke s state of mind in these Christ Church years pulled different ways by divers tastes and ready sym pathies, but as yet without obviously deep, decided, and persistent intellectual purpose Descartes, amateur medical experiments, theological problems, social problems, inter course with men in public affairs, each in turn. This introduced him to life out of England and to business, but could hardly have been meant as a first step in a diplomatic career ; for after his return to Oxford, in Eebruary 1666, he declined to go to Spain, as secretary of the embassy pulled both ways by divers considerations, before he finally resolved. His commonplace-books be tween his twenty-eighth and thirty-fourth year prove this. Locke early applied himself to questions of social polity, Investi- as well as to medicine. relations of Church and State, and above all the right and of social duty of political toleration of religious differences, were po lty revolved in his thoughts in those Oxford years ; always in sympathy with individual freedom, and in a spirit of prudential utilitarianism. Unexpectedly diplomatic we find the medical experiments interrupted, in the winter of 1665, by an engagement of some months in diplomatic service, at the court of the elector of Brandenburg, as secretary to Sir Walter Vane. Engaged Locke s interest in the body politic was not merely aca- mon Thi Tin demical, even in those early Oxford years.


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