The Challenge of Environmental Ethics Suppose putting out natural fires, culling feral animals or destroying some individual members of overpopulated indigenous species is necessary for the protection of the integrity of a certain ecosystem.
Locke grew up and lived through one of the most extraordinary centuries of English political and intellectual history. It was a century in which conflicts between Crown and Parliament and the overlapping conflicts between Protestants, Anglicans and Catholics swirled into civil war in the s. This period lasted from to It was marked by continued conflicts between King and Parliament and debates over religious toleration for Protestant dissenters and Catholics.
His father was a country lawyer who served in a cavalry company on the Puritan side in the early stages of the English Civil War.
In Locke went to Westminster School in London.
From Westminster school he went to Christ Church, Oxford, in the autumn of at the age of twenty. As Westminster school was the most important English school, so Christ Church was the most important Oxford college.
Education at Oxford was medieval. Locke, like Hobbes before him, found the Aristotelian philosophy he was taught at Oxford of little use.
There was, however, more at Oxford than Aristotle. The new experimental philosophy had arrived. The group around Wilkins was the nucleus of what was to become the English Royal Society.
The Society grew out of informal meetings and discussion groups and moved to London after the Restoration and became a formal institution in the s with charters from Charles II. The program was to study nature rather than books. Locke received his B. His career at Oxford, however, continued beyond his undergraduate days.
The rank was equivalent to a Fellow at any of the other colleges, but was not permanent. Locke had yet to determine what his career was to be. At this point, Locke needed to make a decision.
The statutes of Christ Church laid it down that fifty five of the senior studentships should be reserved for men in orders or reading for orders. Only five could be held by others, two in medicine, two in law and one in moral philosophy. Thus, there was good reason for Locke to become a clergyman.
Locke decided to become a doctor. The new leader of the Oxford scientific group was Robert Boyle. Boyle was, however, most influential as a theorist. He was a mechanical philosopher who treated the world as reducible to matter in motion.
Locke read Boyle before he read Descartes. When he did read Descartes, he saw the great French philosopher as providing a viable alternative to the sterile Aristotelianism he had been taught at Oxford.
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