By Frederick Charles Copleston
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Extra resources for A History of Philosophy [Vol V]
But this does not mean that his political principles had been hurriedly conceived with a view to achieving this practical purpose. Moreover, his expression of his political theory remains one of the most important documents in the history of liberal thought, just as the Essay remains one of the most important documents in the history of empiricism. In 1693 Locke published Some Thoughts concerning Education and in 1695 The Reasonableness of Christianity. In 1689 he published in Latin, and anonymously, his first Letter on Toleration; and this was followed, in 1690 and 1693, by two other letters on the same subject.
Whether this was a profitable step is open to dispute; but it was certainly a step of considerable importance. Hobbes's deduction of the State from a consideration of the passions of man goes a long way towards explaining his authoritarianism and his insistence on the power of the sovereign. But we have seen that his authoritarian ideas were not simply the result of a philosophical deduction; for they were greatly strengthened by his reflections on concrete historical events in his own country and by his fear and hatred of civil war.
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.