Restoration the Shift in Consciousness Term Paper

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Restoration

The Shift in Consciousness -- From John Locke to "The Rape of the Locke"

The Restoration of the monarchy in Great Britain of Charles II first oversaw the development of a new creative ferment and interest in the sciences and political economy in the minds of England's greatest writers. This tumultuous time in English history was marked by intensive divisiveness between Puritans, members of the Church of England, and Catholics. All English citizens feared of one faction might overcome the rights of the other political and religious factions in the land. Religious toleration and a balance between monarchial and popular influence was the only solution to these internally and externally fraught times, suggested John Locke. Locke stated that the will and the needs of the common populace must be taken into account when arriving at a solution as to what was the best form of governance.

In his 1690 an Essay Concerning Human Understanding Locke put forth his argument for the philosophy of empricism, namely that humans do not have innate ideas of God, identity or things in general, but that experience shapes the mind. (I.4) Locke stated that the human mind was a "tabula rasa" or blank sheet until experience in the form of sensation and reflection provided the basic materials to shape impressions. (II.1-2) From this principle, Locke in his later writings extrapolated the democratic ideal that all citizens were equally fit to govern themselves at the beginning of their existences, regardless of their parentage, and every person had the ability to learn. Even if natural abilities might differ, and government might require some hiearchy of rulership, the differences between citizens was not innate, but primarily based upon experiences and impressions one garnered throughout one's existence -- no one began life as 'more fit' to rule because of their birth.

This empiricist ideal of Locke echoed the ideals of ancient, Classical Greek democracy Locke developed his empiricist ideas as the result of his intense scientific questioning, a questioning in the spirit of the scientific Classicism popular during his… [END OF PREVIEW]

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