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John Locke John Lockes contributions in Philosophy and politics set a standard for government and the people to follow His thoughts on the political reform theory of knowledge and the human understanding led to both governmental reform and social reform The enlightenment thinkers often referred as the philosphes developed a new way of thought for the world to understand John Locke believed in political reform He published most of his political writings anonymously including Two Treaties of Government in 1690 where he sought out to limit the powers of kings and to establish the regular assembly of parliament He also wanted to overthrow authoritarianism and secure religious freedom He also argued against the divine right of kings and maintains that all men are free and equal in the state of nature and posses certain nature rights His philosophical and political views were widely understood and warmly welcomed by many of his contemporaries Lockes political doctrines were later incorporated into the American Constitution and into the constitution established in France in 1871 His theory on knowledge set out in his Essay concerning the human understanding 1690 is of major importance in the empirical philosophy that succeeded the continental rationalism founded by Descartes The Essay is a critical inquiry into the original certainty and extent of human knowledge Like his fellow empiricist Locke held that human knowledge is ultimately derived from sense experience In the first book of the Essay he considers then rejects the view that there are certain ideas that are innate That we have some ideas not acquired by experience but present as part of the constitution of the human mind In the second book he maintains instead that the mind is as white paper void of all characters without any ideas and asks How comes it to be furnished His answer is that experience in the form of sensations and reflection provides raw materials which the mind
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