3 Answers

  1. Experience on Human Understanding is a treatise on the imperfection and limitations of the human intellect. The best-known first part of it is that human understanding does not just have boundaries, but does not rely at all on any initial or innate ideas and principles: the latter are extracted either from external or internal experience, i.e., from sensations or reflection. Locke's arguments about knowledge are more pessimistic than optimistic, and they are much more like Augustine and Luther than Aquinas and Descartes, much less Boyle and Newton. This is an epistemology that takes as its starting point the fall and its disconcerting consequences for human cognition.

    Despite this, Locke continues to use the concept of “human nature” and considers various human abilities as a potential given, as a result of which his concept of intelligence is sometimes called dispositional. Locke does not accept the enthusiasm of the early Royal Society of London and its two central programs-experimental natural philosophy and universal language. The whole “Experience of Human Understanding” is not an apology, but a critique of the program of unlimited knowledge, which in the English context was especially vividly formulated by Francis Bacon.

    Locke's second major work is Two Treatises on Government , one of the most important works in the history of Western political thought. Locke himself is considered the father of liberalism, i.e., the theory of political and economic freedom. This is not about permissiveness, which Locke himself was extremely hostile to, but about freedom within the framework of the law. Sometimes the term “Locke's freedom”is used in reference to Locke. Locke is a lawyer and a fighter against authoritarianism, for him freedom is freedom from the arbitrariness of absolute, i.e. spitting on the laws of the sole authority. Unlike despotism, freedom is based on the law, which is above any personal authority and in turn is based on civil society. Locke recognizes the existence of the supreme ruler's right to prerogative, i.e., going beyond the law in some cases. However, from Locke's point of view, this right should not be abused: excessive prerogative is the path to revolution.

    In his reasoning, Locke uses the concept of a “law of nature” – a traditional concept for Counter-Reformation theorists about the” imputed ” laws of God, as if imprinted on a person, one of the elements of a hierarchically constructed universe governed by God's providence. In this very human nature, he distinguishes two conditional phases: 1) – the initial state of nature, characterized by lawlessness, and 2) a political society that adopts binding laws for all. From the point of view of this division, authoritarian or despotic rule is the usurpation of power and the bringing of society to a state in which lawlessness and the right of the strong-and above all the strongest, claiming the monopoly of the father of the nation – prevail. The entire” first “treatise of the” Two Treatises on Government ” is devoted to a critique of patriarchalism.

    The right of citizens to revolution is formed gradually, until they have no doubts that the usurpation of power has really taken place. According to Locke, the decision to resist is made by people at their own peril and risk, with the hope of God's mercy, because, according to St. John the Baptist, the decision to resist is made by people at their own risk. According to the Apostle Paul and the entire Christian tradition, existing authority is established by God and should never be resisted. In order to further justify the right to resist by force, and not simply by evading the whims of the ruler, Locke, following Hugo Grotius, expands the concept of personality, or person, treating her/him not just as an individual with certain qualities, but as an individual together with his property. As a result, an attempt on property also means an attempt on the person, and this – for example, in Roman law – allows for forceful resistance to criminal and life-taking power.

    For Locke, the state structure, its institutions and functioning are not an end in themselves, but a prerequisite for the freedom of citizens. “Two Treatises on government” is not a utopia: according to Locke, citizens who overthrow a tyrant and regain the opportunity to choose call a constituent assembly, at which they decide their political and economic future, which is not predetermined.

    Finally, Locke's third major work, The Epistle on Tolerance, complements the Two Treatises on Government with a discourse on freedom of conscience through the separation of state and church. His ideas are not as radical as, for example, those of Pierre Bayle and some other thinkers both before and after Locke. But in one passage, Locke still explicitly states that a Christian state is basically impossible. At the same time, his reasoning starts from the state interests, i.e. Locke is a statesman. In his opinion, the stability of the state is ensured not by repressions against dissidents and non-believers, but by non-interference of the state in matters of faith. Salvation, Locke emphasized, is a personal matter for everyone, and no one can decide for a person exactly how to save his soul, and even more so no one can force a decision made by someone else.

    However, there are limits here: according to Locke, those who violate generally accepted norms of human behavior should not be tolerated, and non-fulfillment of contracts is unacceptable, which, in his opinion, is the responsibility of those who deny the binding nature of God's laws (do not kill, do not steal, etc.). Finally, religions led by the rulers of other powers are unacceptable. Locke was referring to the papacy and Islam, although he did not explicitly mention them.

    In general, Locke's works reflect the spirit of the era, the entire long period of the late Middle Ages – from the end of the XV to the beginning of the XVIII centuries. In them you can find the views and ideas of many systems-Augustinism, Humanism, Lutheranism, Thomism, Occamism, natural philosophy and, finally, Anglicanism.

    In modern historiography, Locke's political views are interpreted in a very wide range. The question of the historically correct interpretation of his views remains open. Locke's interpretation of the political theories of late scholasticism (Quentin Skinner) has not been refuted for half a century. There is still an interpretation of him as an anti-Calvinist (Nicholas Tiyake). But in any case, the traditional interpretations of Locke as the inspiration of the French enlightenment and sensualists, or as a revolutionary Republican separatist and anti – monarchist, have remained in the past. Modern historical research completely refutes such interpretations, but it always highlights Locke's outstanding contribution to the struggle against religious persecution and political violence in the name of a more just and reasonable structure of human society.

  2. John Locke was an English philosopher, theorist of civil society and the rule of law of the democratic state, as well as an outstanding thinker of the Enlightenment. He is also known for being the first to propose the principle of separation of powers ( legislative, executive, judicial) and developed the theory of the democratic revolution.

  3. Check out LOST. It describes the life and death of John Locke in some detail. His miraculous healing, for example, or his relationship with the island.

    (Don't minus the podumoy!)

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