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By Frederick Charles Copleston

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Extra info for A History of Philosophy [Vol V]

Sample text

Ed is, he says, an ill-advised procedure. But though Cumberland rejected the Cambridge Platonists' hypothesis of innate ideas, he was at one with Cudworth in his zeal to refute the philosophy of Hobbes. Laws of nature, in the mo~al s~nse, were for him 'propositions of unchangeable truth, which direct our voluntary actions about choosing good and evil; and impose an obligation to external actions even without civil laws, and laying aside all consideration of those compacts which constitute civil government'.

Locke's studies at Oxford were not confined to philosophy. As a friend of Sir Robert Boyle and his circle, he interested himseU in chemistry and physics, and he also pursued studies in medicine, though it was not until a later date (1674) that he obtained his medical degree and a licence to practise. He did not, however, take up the practice of medicine as a regular career, nor did he continue his academic life at Oxford. Instead he became involved, in a minor way, in public affairs. In 1665 Locke left England as secretary.

But Shaftesbury evidently held a higher opinion of Locke's abilities; for when he became Lord Chancellor in 1672, he appointed his friend to the post of secretary for the presentation of ecclesiastical benefices. In 1673 Locke was made secretary to the council of trade and plantations; but Shaftesbury's political fortunes suffered a reverse, and Locke retired to Oxford, where he still held his studentship at Christ Church. Ill-health, however, led him to go to France in 1675, and he remained there until 1680.

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