John Locke

28 February 2011

In America, the 17th century British philosopher, John Locke is probably best known as one of the inspirations for the Founding Fathers.  His Two Treatises of Government argues against the divine right of kings, and in favor of government by the consent of the governed.  His views were admired greatly by Jefferson and the other Founders.  Locke was a political activist as well as a philosopher.

He lived through the last half of the seventeenth century, exciting times in England.  Charles the first was beheaded, Oliver Cromwell governed for a while, followed by two more Stuarts, Charles the second and James the second, and then William came from the Netherlands, married James the second’s daughter Mary, and William and Mary took over as constitutional monarchs — what they call “the glorious revolution”.  Locke’s Two Treatises were written, I think, to justify the revolution in England.

Quite independently of his political philosophy, John Locke would still be counted as one of the great philosophers.  His Essay Concerning Human Understanding is one of the most important books in the history of philosophy.  He more or less invented the subjects of personal identity and the philosophy of language.

Our guest is the prominent Locke scholar Bill Uzgallis, who will be channeling John Locke.  It’s a technique they've developed at his Oregon State Philosophy Department, with the help of computer science and astrophysics. 

We’ll  ask Locke about his life, his political philosophy and his political activism, and his views on slavery and   about women.  There are some glimmers of rights for women in Locke.  But what did he really think?

Comments (6)


Guest's picture

Guest

Monday, February 28, 2011 -- 4:00 PM

I have read Locke's 'Essay'---longest essay I ever

I have read Locke's 'Essay'---longest essay I ever read. Tedious, but there were nuggets---if only I could remember them. I expect that Locke was swayed by the beginnings of what I will call social enlightenment. He may have been an early progenitor of change, in its more modern sense. But he was still mired in particular biases and did not dare push too far beyond status quo of his time. A philosophical diplomat---if you will. And if you won't, so be that. So, I'm a heretic. Always have been---works for me.

Guest's picture

Guest

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 -- 4:00 PM

Dear Mr. Locke and Locke alikes, Can people be

Dear Mr. Locke and Locke alikes,
Can people be governed and free?
Democracy?
=
MJA

Guest's picture

Guest

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 -- 4:00 PM

To MJA: see: Henry David Thoreau. Government works

To MJA: see: Henry David Thoreau. Government works best when one is alone in the woods. Unknown. Undetected. Self-sufficient. Invisible. Few of us live that way now---nor would we know how to do so. Go ahead, if you want.

Guest's picture

Guest

Thursday, March 3, 2011 -- 4:00 PM

Regarding the phone call from the neighbor of some

Regarding the phone call from the neighbor of someone who was upside down on his mortgage and did a "short sale." Her moral dilemma will be solved with the knowledge that a short sale is NOT just walking away from a mortgage. You have to negotiate with your bank to allow you to sell the house to another party and give all the proceeds to the bank. The bank has to agree to it, so you're not sticking them with anything they don't know about. If you allow the bank to foreclose there are still lots of fees, arrearages, and other expenses the bank can charge to you, so in some cases a short sale is a better option.

Guest's picture

Guest

Sunday, March 6, 2011 -- 4:00 PM

My Essay is indeed long, and for some, I am sure t

My Essay is indeed long, and for some, I am sure tedious. I did admit to failing to remove some of the repetitions. Still, the point of the work is what I was alluding to in my comment on the tea party -- namely one has to acquire the discipline of proper inquiry and the good judgment that goes along with it before one can govern either oneself or others. As for nuggets, one of my favorites is: Familiarity takes off our wonder but cure not our ignorance.

Guest's picture

Guest

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 -- 4:00 PM

Written in the spirit of a kindred spirit, Mr. Loc

Written in the spirit of a kindred spirit, Mr. Locke. My heart is warmed with the knowledge of your resurection. I had not heard the nugget concerning familiarity, but it seems both lucid and enigmatic-a paradox I would not have imagined, had I not read it for myself. Or perhaps I am simply misinterpreting the meaning. Allow me to attempt a paraphrase: Experience enriches our consciousness but does little for a lack of innate intellect. Does that about capture it? If not, I'LL plead ignorance. Language IS messy and inadequate at the best of times! Again, welcome back to the world of the living. Thank God for the Lazarus Effect (or was that Frank Herbert---I get confused easily.)

 
 
 

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