History of Western Philosophy: John

He points out that Filmers essay had been written before Cromwells victory over Charles I, and that the attitude towards government in general and the monarchy specifically had greatly changed. The way he describes the unique circumstance in England, too, especially in regards to the situation of religion, makes it clear that Lockes thoughts could really only have been possible in a given environment. This notion seems initially repugnant to me; if philosophy is logical, as it is purported or even required to be, then what is true in one situation ought to be just as true in another. What Russell seems to be suggesting in his description of how Lockes thoughts arose, however, is hat there is no such thing as eternal truth or even eternal or consistent logic — that extrinsic realities will and do and even must affect internal reasoning.

I would have liked to see Russell address this issue directly in this section, though perhaps what he touts as a historical volume is not the correct venue for this type of discussion.

Still, it could shed even more light on the development of Lockes philosophy to know — or at least more closely examine — exactly how Lockes situation and the circumstances in England as a whole affected his thoughts and writings. One way this could be accomplished is by comparing Lockes philosophy and situation to that of contemporary and similar thinkers in other countries. The philosophy of Rousseau, for example, could be considered alongside Lockes as well as a detailed analysis of the differences in the governments surrounding them. Though these two philosophers did not exist in isolation, so their ideas might be commingled (Rousseau built largely on Lockes work, in fact), their differences could possibly be attributed to the differences in governmental upbringing, as it were. The idea that thoughts can be shaped by the political environment can be scary — as in 1984 — but once it is recognized as a truth, perhaps we can better understand ourselves and the nature of.


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