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VINE VOICEon 5 January 2008
Locke was a hugely important thinker, and his work was very influential, in fact dominant, in the early stage of the Enlightenment. He was a particularly strong influence on Voltaire and Rousseau, and his arguments on individual liberty were later to guide the American Founding Fathers. It is difficult to overrate his importance as one of the founders of modern philosophy. It is even more difficult to gain any insight into this from reading Dunn's book.

The problem is that Dunn cannot write. He may well have a thorough understanding of Locke's work, but he is not letting on. This does not matter so much in the early part of the book, which deals with Locke's biography, but in the latter part, dealing with the philosophy, Locke's thought is rendered entirely opaque by Dunn's prose. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what is at fault. The structure and meaning of individual sentences are sound enough, but they are assembled into paragraphs that don't actually tell us much. For example, we learn that Locke's proof of the existence of God would not impress many modern readers, but we are not told what that proof is. The blurb on the cover tells us that Locke's message has been 'curiously misunderstood', but the book itself does not explain how or why, and certainly does nothing to clear up that misunderstanding, whatever it was.

After forcing my way through this book, I spent an hour or so on the Internet and learned far more about the subject. I recommend you do the same.
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VINE VOICEon 8 February 2005
Locke is important for both his political writing and for being an early Empiricist. This book does cover these aspects of Locke's Philosophy but unfortunately for an introductory text, the style is pretty leaden. This is a real shame as other more difficult philosophers (Hegel for example) have had a better treatment in this series.
If you're specifically interested in Empiricism - the Introducing Empiricism book by Dave Robinson is probably a better place to start.
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on 7 October 2014
This book is a rather vague exposition of Locke's thought and avoids making clear distinctions. For instance, we are told that Locke's early views on religion included the belief that a sovereign authority has a right to regulate religious practice in the interests of peace, but that no government can "meddle with religious convictions as such". Alternatively, Dunn describes the 20 years preceding the Restoration as time of imposition of contentious religious views by the government, and then describes Locke as learning from this that religious tolerance produces political turbulence. One feels as if the book has been written to merely jog the memory of someone who already knows what the author is talking about. It could certainly do with a dose of clear exposition. But in the meantime there are many other introductions to Locke. I don't recommend reading this one.
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on 15 September 2011
Another fascinating and interesting read in very short introduction series authored by John Dunn an expert on John Locke's philosophy and political thought. Some books in this series tend to get harder to understand and difficult to grasp as you go along but thankfully this one is brilliantly clear throughout and would keep you engaged up to the very last page. I am surprised the previous reviewers didn't find it as exciting and were rather mean commenting on the contents. Don't be fool by them, get it and judge for yourself. Highly recommended.
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on 11 October 2014
I have given this book 3 stars because it's just o.k. Thank you.
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on 10 January 2016
Not at all clear
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on 8 December 2013
Places Locke and his outlook firmly in the context of the Scientific Revolution. Very good general introduction to Locke and his thought.
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