The School of Natural Law Philosophy was an intellectual group ofphilosophers. They developed new ways of thinking about religion and government. Natural law was based on moral principles, but the overall outlook changed withthe times. John Locke was a great philosopher from the middle of the 17th century.
He was a primary contributor to the new ideas concerning natural law of thattime. He argued that humans in the state of nature are free and equal, yetinsecure in their freedom. When they enter society, they surrender only suchrights as are necessary for their security and for the common good. He alsobelieved that each individual retains fundamental prerogatives drawn fromnatural law relating to the integrity of the person and property.Order now
This naturalrights theory was the basis of not only the American, but also the Frenchrevolution. 1 During his lifetime, he wrote many essays and letters to hiscolleagues on a variety of topics:2Letter on Toleration (1689)Second Letter on Toleration (1690)Two Treatises of Government (1690)Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)Some Considerations of the Consequences of Lowering of Interest, and Raising the Value of Money (1691)Third Letter on Toleration (1692)Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693)Further Considerations Concerning Raising the Value of Money (1693)The Reasonableness of Christianity (1695)A Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity (1695)A Second Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity (1695)A Letter to the Bishop of Worcester (1697)Discourse on MiraclesFourth Letter for TolerationAn Examination of Father Malebranche’s Opinion of Seeing All Things in GodRemarks on Some of Mr Norris’s BooksConduct of the UnderstandingLocke’s greatest philosophical contribution is his Essay ConcerningHuman Understanding. In the winter of 1670, five or six friends were talking inhis room, probably in London. The topic was the “principles of morality andrevealed religion,” but arguments arose and no real progress or seriousdiscussion took place. Then, he goes on to say, “it came into my thoughts thatwe took a wrong course, and that before we set ourselves upon inquiries of thatnature, it was necessary to examine our own abilities, and see what objects ourunderstandings were, or were not, fitted to deal with. ” At the request of hisfriends, Locke agreed to write down his thoughts on this question at their nextmeeting, and he expected that a single sheet of paper would suffice for thepurpose.
Little did he realize the importance of the issue which he raised, andthat it would take up his free time for nearly twenty years. The Essay isdivided into four books; the first is a debate against the doctrine of innateprinciples and ideas of that time. The second deals with ideas, the third withwords, and the fourth with knowledge. Locke’s ideas center on traditional philosophical topics: the nature ofthe self, the world, God, and the grounds of our knowledge of them. He addressesthese questions at the end of his Essay.
The first three sections are anintroduction, and Locke saw that they had an importance of their own. Hisopening statements make this plain:Since it is the understanding that sets man above the rest of sensiblebeings, and gives him all the advantage and dominion which he has over them; itis certainly a subject, even for its nobleness, worth our labour to inquire into. The understanding, like the eye, while it makes us see and perceive all otherthings, takes no notice of itself; and it requires art and pains to set it at adistance and make it its own object. But whatever be the difficulties that liein the way of this inquiry; whatever it be that keeps us so much in the dark toourselves; sure I am that all the light we can let in upon our minds, all theacquaintance we can make with our own understandings, will not only be verypleasant, but bring us great advantage, in directing our thoughts in the searchof other things.Category: Music and Movies