John locke a letter concerning toleration summary

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john locke a letter concerning toleration summary

The Second Treatise of Government/A Letter Concerning Toleration by John Locke

The foundation stone of the modern state; and being such it is a very technical and concentrated book. The discourse of the Second Treatise is a building of the state from the ground up, in a sort of sociological interpretation of the evolution from society to state, which then slowly moves towards political and legal dimensions of the state.A laborious but rewarding read

Locke provides a very good critique of the Divine Right of Kings, a doctrine still in practice today. When one sees the time in which it was written, it gives one the sense of the monumental critique Locke is providing. It used to be thought of the Divine Right of Kings as the natural state of the world. Just as rain fell from clouds and apples grew on apple trees, so did Kings rule over you. But Locke showed them what for.

The Letter Concerning Toleration read like a breeze, truly in the spirit of the enlightenment.
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John Locke: A Letter Concerning Toleration (full audio book)


John Locke was born into a middle-class family on August 28, , in Somerset, England. His father worked as an attorney and in local government, and he owned properties that produced a modest income. Locke received an extraordinarily diverse education from early childhood on. His formal schooling began in at the prestigious Westminster School for Boys. Later, he studied a wide variety of literature, physical science, medicine, politics, and natural philosophy at Christ Church in Oxford, where he took up residence under a scholarship in Locke developed a particular interest in medicine and also studied the works of Descartes and Robert Boyle, the father of chemistry.

StuDocu Summary Library. John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration (). Background. Locke wrote his Letter Concerning Toleration to his Dutch friend.
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Internet Archive Page. M4B audio book 94mb Second work in file.

A Letter Concerning Toleration. Translated by William Popple. Honoured Sir,. Since you are pleased to inquire what are my thoughts about the mutual toleration of Christians in their different professions of religion, I must needs answer you freely that I esteem that toleration to be the chief characteristic mark of the true Church. For whatsoever some people boast of the antiquity of places and names, or of the pomp of their outward worship; others, of the reformation of their discipline; all, of the orthodoxy of their faith for everyone is orthodox to himself these things, and all others of this nature, are much rather marks of men striving for power and empire over one another than of the Church of Christ. Let anyone have never so true a claim to all these things, yet if he be destitute of charity, meekness, and good-will in general towards all mankind, even to those that are not Christians, he is certainly yet short of being a true Christian himself. It is not instituted in order to the erecting of an external pomp, nor to the obtaining of ecclesiastical dominion, nor to the exercising of compulsive force, but to the regulating of men's lives, according to the rules of virtue and piety.

A principal purpose of Nicholas Jolley's book is to demonstrate the unity of Locke's thought, especially as expressed in his major works. The sort of unity he has in mind is thematic not systematic, for he acknowledges that these works arose under different occasions, were meant to address diverse problems, practical and theoretical, and so were not designed as expressions of a single intellectual project. However, they were written by a profound philosophical thinker who thought broadly and deeply about whatever concerned him, and who was disposed by his philosophical nature to base his judgements on principles that were far-reaching and fundamental. It seems reasonable, therefore, to suppose that these writings, however diverse, should express an underlying unity of thought and a unifying purpose. Locke was also a moralist with an acute awareness of the times in which he lived and the challenges they presented to living a virtuous life; hence, it is not surprising that the common theme Jolley identifies as running through these works and drawing them together is a practical one: toleration. Toleration, as Locke conceived it, is a public policy that obliges governments to grant individuals and groups within their domains liberty to practice and profess their religion as they see fit so long as by doing so they do not infringe upon the liberty of others, jeopardize the social welfare, or presume to exercise civil power. Jolley contends that this theme, although not this explicit policy, is the fundamental motive of Locke's thought.


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