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John Locke


English philosopher. Locke was born in Wrington, Somerset and educated in Oxford, where he seemed destined for a career in medicine. In 1666 he met Anthony Ashley-Cooper, later the 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, who became his friend and patron. From 1675 to 1679 Locke lived in France, where he studied the works of Descartes and Gassendi. Shaftesbury, who had been much engaged with parliamentary opposition to the house of Stuart, fled to Holland in 1681, and Locke followed in 1683, returning to England after the accession of William of Orange in 1688. He was given minor administrative functions by the government, and lived out his life quietly at the house of Damaris, Lady Masham in Essex.


Lockes major philosophical works where published the year after returning from Holland. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and the The Two Treaties of Government, as well as the A Letter Concerning Toleration, where all published in 1689. The latter two of them anonymously. Locke's final years saw Some thoughts Concerning Education (1693) and The reasonebleness of Christianity (1695).

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Last modified August 16, 1995.