The most important event in his life was the publication of the work which brought him lasting fame as a philosopher, his Essay concerning Human Understanding (London, 1690; five editions by 1706). The purpose was to investigate the origin, certainty, and extent of human knowledge. In this work Locke sought to prove that innate ideas do not exist, and that all knowledge comes through experience by sensation and reflection. He was thus the originator of the empirical philosophy of the eighteenth century which spread over England, France, and Germany and greatly influenced both the political and social theories of his times. His letters on Toleration (1689-90), Two Treatises of Government (1690), a work on the national currency (1692), and Some Thoughts concerning Education (1693) are further weighty productions of this period. Locke was a member of the council of trade (1696-1700), but because of failing health was obliged to decline other preferments.
Locke's influence continued dominant until the spread of Kantian ideas, and he is called "the founder of the analytic philosophy of mind" (J. S. Mill, Logic, book I, chap. vi.). His principles were either so carried out or so misapplied in theology that he became the object of sharp attack; to which he as sharply replied. This was especially the case with Bishop Edward Stillingfleet (q.v.), whose Discourse in Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity (London, 1698) brought on a controversy with Locke which continued till 1699. Locke has sometimes been regarded as the father of late English skepticism (see DEISM, §§ 4-5; ENLIGHTENMENT, THE, § 7). While in early life he had deliberately turned away from theology as a vocation, his interest never died out, and this came to its fruitage in his Reasonableness of Christianity (1695), and in his Paraphrase of the epistles to the Galatians, I and II Corinthians, Romans, and Ephesians (posthumous, 1705-07). Of his Works many editions have appeared (3 vols., London, 1714; best ed. by E. Law, 4 vols., ib. 1777); and his Posthumous Works (ib. 1706).
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Sources of knowledge are: Some Familiar Letters between Mr. Locke and Several of his Friends, London, 3d ed., 1737; Original Letters of Lock, Algernon Sidney and Anthony Lord Shaftesbury, ib. 2d ed., 1847; Shaftesbury. Life, Unpublished Letters, and Philosophical Regimen, ed. E. Rand, ib: 1900; J. Le Clerc's Eloge historique de feu Mr. Locks Amsterdam, ,i>Works, ut sup. Consult further: G. W. von Leibnitz, Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement, Amsterdam, 1765, Eng. transl., New Essays concerning Human Understanding, London, 1896; J. G. Buhle, Geschichte der neuern Philosophie Critical Essays, pp. I-32, Boston, 1842; A. H. Everett, Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, pp. 381-451, Boston 1846; J. D. Morell, Historical and Critical Review of the Speculative Philosophy of Europe in the 19th Century, i. 91-147, London, 1846; R. Vaughan, Essays in History, Philosophy, and Theology, ii. 59-120, ib. 1849; E. Tagart, Locke's Writings and Philosophy historically Considered, ib. 1855; T. E. Webb, The Intellectualism of Locke, Dublin, 1857; V. Cousin, La Philosophie de Locke, Paris, 1863; J. Tulloeh, Rational Theology and Christian Philosophy in England in the 17th Century, 2 vols., London 1872; T. H. Green, ATreatise on Human Nature by DavidHume (Introduction), ib.1878; H.Marion, J. Locke, sa vie et son aeuvre, Paris, 1879; J. Brown, Horae subsecivae, Locke and Sydenham, Edinburgh, 1882; P. King, Life and Letters of John Locke; with Extracts from his Commonplace Books, new ed., New York, 1884; H. Winter, Darlegung und Kritik der lockeschen Lehre vom empirischen Ursprung der sittlichen Grundsatze, Bonn, 1884; R. Falekenberg, Geschichte der neuren Philosophie, pp. 111-133, Leipsic, 1886; J. Fowler, Locke, London 1887; M. M. Curtis, An Outline of Locke's Ethical Theory, Leipsic, 1890; W. L. Courtney, Studies at Leisure, London, 1892; G. F. von Hertling, John Locke and die Schule von Cambridge, Freiburg, 1892; P. Fischer, Die Religionsphilosophie des John Locke, Erlangen, 1893; J. McCosh, Locke's " Theory of Knowledge," with a Notice of Berkeley, New York, 1894; E. Fechtner, John Locke, Stuttgart. 1898; W. Graham, English Political Philosophy, London, 1899; E. E. Worcester, The Religious Opinions of John Locke, Geneva, N. Y., 1899; A. C. Fraser, Locke, Edinburgh, 1901; idem, J. Locke as a Factor in Modern Thought, London, 1905; J. Rickaby, Free Will and Four English Philosophers, London, 1906. Of importance, also, are the works on the history of philosophy, particularly those of J. E. Erdmann, Eng. transl., London, 1893; W. Windelband, Eng. transl., ib. 1893; A. Weber, Eng. transl., ib. 1896; and F. Ueberweg, Eng. transl., New York, 1874.
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