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Author John Locke Born August 29 1632 Wrington Somerset England Died October 28 1704 Oates Essex England Author Profile Locke is known for his political writings the Two Treatises of Government are the basis for the principles used in the American and British constitutions and for his epistemology which is the central focus of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding He never wrote a work devoted specifically to ethics but he did develop a fairly clear stand on the nature of ethics His An Essay Concerning Human Understanding is the most important of his works in terms of his ethical views but Two Treatises Some Thoughts Concerning Education 1693 and The Reasonableness of Christianity 1695 also contain some of his ideas on the subject Biographical Background Locke came from the non-Anglican Protestant community in England learning as a child the virtues of Calvinist simplicity but little of the harsh judgmental aspect of that sect He was educated at Oxford University but he moved away from the then-fashionable scholasticism and under the influence of Robert Boyle began to study practical science He chose medicine as his specialty and worked with the famous Thomas Sydenham He never took his degree or practiced medicine the former was not required for the latter at that time but the influence of his training would remain with him After completing a diplomatic mission in 1665 Locke returned to Oxford and immersed himself in the writings of Reneacute Descartes Two years later the Earl of Shaftsbury a school friend invited Locke to become his personal physician and live with him Locke proved to be as much secretary as doctor helping his patron with such projects as the Constitution for the Carolinas He was also elected a fellow of the Royal Society In 1675 Locke began a long visit to France both for his health and to expand his study of Descartes He returned home in 1679 only to face political problems
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