John Locke, 1632 - 1704
Portrait in oils by Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1697
Born: 29 August 1632, Wrington, Somerset, England
Died: 29 October 1704, Essex, England
At fifteen Locke was sent to Westminster School at London, then was admitted to Christ Church, Oxford where he chafed at studying Aristotle when more recent philosophy was available, notable Descartes. He got his bachelor's degree in 1656 and master's in 1658. In 1666 he made the acquaintance of Lord Ashley (the Earl of Shaftesbury from 1672) and became a member of that household, serving as both a political aide and domestic manager, as well as managing his lordship's medical affairs. He became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1668. Having studied some medicine at Oxford he earned a medical degree in 1674. He held a number of significant government positions allied with Shaftesbury, then fled to Holland before the Glorious Revolution of 1688, returning five years later. The bulk of his published work comes from the period after his return. He had a great influence on Voltaire and several of America's Founding Fathers, some of his text appears verbatim in the Declaration of Independence.
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John Locke quotes:
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- A dreamer lives forever, and a toiler dies in a day. permalink
- A sound mind in a sound body, is a short, but full description of a happy state in this World: he that has these two, has little more to wish for; and he that wants either of them, will be little the better for anything else. permalink
- Adam and Eve, and after them all parents were, by the law of nature, under an obligation to preserve, nourish and educate the children they had begotten. permalink
- All mankind ... being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions. permalink
- All men are liable to error; and most men are, in many points, by passion or interest, under temptation to it. permalink
- All wealth is the product of labor. permalink
- An excellent man, like precious metal, is in every way invariable; A villain, like the beams of a balance, is always varying, upwards and downwards. permalink
- Any one reflecting upon the thought he has of the delight, which any present or absent thing is apt to produce in him, has the idea we call love. permalink
- As people are walking all the time, in the same spot, a path appears. permalink
- But there is only one thing which gathers people into seditious commotion, and that is oppression. permalink
- Charity gives every man a title to so much out of another's plenty, as will keep him from extreme want, when he has no means to subsist otherwise. permalink
- Constant frequent meetings of the legislative, and long continuations of their assemblies, without necessary occasion, could not but be burdensome to the people, and must necessarily in time produce more dangerous inconveniences. permalink
- Curiosity in children ... is but an appetite after knowledge. permalink
Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693)
- Each transgression may be punished to that degree, and with so much severity as will suffice to make it an ill bargain to the offender, give him cause to repent, and terrify others from doing the like. permalink
- Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him. permalink
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