Tag: Epistemology

Major Works

  • An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

    - Recommended edition: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. Peter H. Nidditch (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975).
    Excerpt: Since it is the understanding, that sets man above the rest of sensible beings, and gives him all the advantage and dominion, which he has over them; it is certainly a subject, even for its nobleness, worth our labour to inquire into. The… More

Other Works

  • Of the Conduct of the Understanding

    - Recommended edition: Some Thoughts Concerning Education, ed. Ruth Grant and Nathan Tarcov (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1996).
    Excerpt: The last resort a man has recourse to, in the conduct of himself, is his understanding: for though we distinguish the faculties of the mind, and give the supreme command to the will, as to an agent; yet the truth is, the man, who is the agent,… More


  • Natural Right and History

    - Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953).
    In this classic work, Leo Strauss examines the problem of natural right and argues that there is a firm foundation in reality for the distinction between right and wrong in ethics and politics. On the centenary of Strauss’s birth, and the fiftieth… More
  • “John Locke and Natural Law”

    - W. von Leyden, "John Locke and Natural Law," Philosophy 31 (1956), 23-35
    Excerpt: The law of nature as it occurs in Locke’s philosophy is not the same as one of Galileo’s or Newton’s so-called laws of nature: it is not concerned with physical phenomena, their motion or regularity. In the sense in which Locke uses… More
  • Locke and the Way of Ideas

    - John Yolton, Locke and the Way of Ideas (New York: Oxford University Press, 1956).
    Summary: Without in any way denying that Locke’s philosophy was influenced by Continental movements of thought, Dr. Yolton in this excellent study argues, and indeed establishes the point,t hat Locke in writing the Essay had in mind the many debates… More
  • The Politics of Locke’s Philosophy: A Social Study of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

    - Neal Wood, The Politics of Locke's Philosophy: A Social Study of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984).
    Among scholars working in the history of ideas, Neal and Ellen Wood hold a special place. For more than a decade, working jointly and alone, they have been discovering the social contexts of philosophical thought. … As Neal Wood summarizes in this… More
  • John Locke’s Liberalism

    - Ruth Grant, John Locke’s Liberalism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).
    In this work, Ruth W. Grant presents a new approach to John Locke’s familiar works. Taking the unusual step of relating Locke’s Two Treatises to his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Grant establishes the unity and coherence of… More
  • “Locke’s Political Anthropology and Lockean Individualism”

    - Ruth Grant, "Locke's Political Anthropology and Lockean Individualism," Review of Politics 50 (1988), 42-63.
    Locke’s anthropological accounts do not depict isolated individuals whose behavior is governed by rational calculations of their interests. He is not an “atomistic” individualist; he acknowledges what communitarian critics of liberalism… More
  • The Anxiety of Freedom: Imagination and Individuality in Locke’s Political Thought

    - Uday Mehta, The Anxiety of Freedom (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1992).
    Summary: Against what he describes as the “all but canonical” reading of Locke as a narrowly political theorist, concerned with erecting institutional fences to prevent naturally free, rational, interested individuals from violating one… More
  • The Cambridge Companion to Locke

    - The Cambridge Companion to Locke, ed. Vere Chappell (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994).
    The essays in this volume provide a systematic survey of Locke’s philosophy informed by the most recent scholarship. They cover Locke’s theory of ideas, his philosophies of body, mind, language, and religion, his theory of knowledge, his ethics,… More
  • John Locke: Resistance, Religion and Responsibility

    - John Marshall, John Locke: Resistance, Religion and Responsibility (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994).
    This book provides a major new historical account of the development of the political, religious, social and moral thought of the political theorist and philosopher John Locke. It offers reinterpretations of several of his most important works, particularly… More
  • Our Only Star and Compass: Locke and the Struggle for Political Rationality

    - Peter C. Myers, Our Only Star and Compass: Locke and the Struggle for Political Rationality (Lexington, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999)
    In Our Only Star and Compass: Locke and the Struggle for Political Rationality, Peter C. Myers reexamines the role of Locke in liberal political philosophy. Myers considers Locke’s philosophy in relation both to contemporary liberalism and to the great… More
  • “Locke’s Doctrine of Human Action”

    - Mark Blitz, “Locke’s Doctrine of Human Action” in The Claremont Review of Books, 26 Aug 2002.
    Excerpt: “The fullest freedom might seem to be dwelling within the fullest suspension or indifference with no choice ever being made. Utter suspension, however, would result in inaction and even in the lack of thought, for unease leads to industry in… More
  • “Nature and Happiness in Locke”

    - Thomas West, “Nature and Happiness in Locke” in The Claremont Review of Books, 19 Apr 2004.
    Excerpt: Contrary to Zuckert, I agree with Strauss that Locke’s doctrine of natural law is not a moral doctrine in the strict sense, because Locke is unable to establish by mere reason the fact of a moral obligation, that is, a lawgiver who promulgates… More
  • Politics and Vision

    - Sheldon Wolin, Politics and Vision (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006).
    Sheldon Wolin’s Politics and Vision inspired and instructed two generations of political theorists after its appearance in 1960. It culminates in Wolin’s remarkable argument that the United States has invented a new political form,… More
  • “What Does Locke Expect Us to Know?” by Steven Forde

    - Steven Forde, "What Does Locke Expect Us to Know?" Review of Politics, 68  (2006), 232-258.
    Locke claims that his moral and political teaching is capable of a fully rational demonstration. It would seem then that Lockean citizens are expected to grasp the rational bases of their regime. But Locke was notoriously vague or incomplete on what the… More
  • The Cambridge Companion to Locke’s ‘Essay Concerning Human Understanding’

    - The Cambridge Companion to Locke's 'Essay Concerning Human Understanding', ed. Lex Newman (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007).
    First published in 1689, John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding is widely recognised as among the greatest works in the history of Western philosophy. The Essay puts forward a systematic empiricist theory of mind, detailing how all ideas and… More
  • Locke and the Compass of Human Understanding by John Yolton

    - John Yolton, Locke and the Compass of Human Understanding: A Selective Commentary on the 'Essay' (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
    The Essay Concerning Human Understanding is John Locke’s most important work, and through this selective commentary, first published in 1970, Professor Yolton concentrates our attention on the more interesting and controversial of the doctrines in it.… More
  • John Locke: Problems and Perspectives

    - John Locke: Problems and Perspectives, ed. John Yolton (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011).
    Originally published in 1969, the impetus for this collection came from a conference on the Thought of John Locke held at York University, Toronto in 1966. Written in the co-operative spirit of the conference, the essays collected here were intended to… More
  • “Mixed Modes in John Locke’s Moral and Political Philosophy”

    - Steven Forde, "'Mixed Modes' in John Locke's Moral and Political Philosophy," Review of Politics 4 (2011), 581-608.
    The moral theory of “mixed modes” John Locke presents in his Essay concerning Human Understanding is beset with paradoxes. On the one hand, he tells us that all mixed modes, including moral concepts, are “arbitrary” mental constructs.… More