The influence of John Locke's thought in Europe and America rests largely on his articulation and defense of a liberal political philosophy, and in his formulation of a theory of knowledge where experience and environment provide the exclusive starting points in the educational process. Generally he continues to be associated with the eighteenth-century "Age of Reason" or Enlightenment, where the malleability of human nature, together with the inherent dignity and freedom of the individual, were placed at the forefront of reform efforts on both sides of the Atlantic.This book argues that while Locke's concern for the enhancement of the individual autonomy, religious toleration, and constitutional government was indeed fundamental to later generations, Locke himself viewed the improvement of the human condition in terms of its relationship to the ancient Christian story. In particular, Locke's larger "integration" project was to assist his contemporaries in their efforts to both recognize and to secure the greatest happiness. Locke, in other words, was chiefly interested in life beyond the grave, in salvation, and his recommendations for the reform of politics, education, and religion were all viewed by the author as instrumental to the chief business of humankind.
W. M. SPELLMAN is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Asheville where his specialties are English history and European political thought.
British History in Perspective (Paperback St. Martins)
Palgrave He, Print UK