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When he returned to England it was only to be for a few years.The political scene had changed greatly while Locke was away.Indeed, on one occasion Locke participated in a very delicate surgical operation which Ashley credited with saving his life.
In his most important work, the Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke set out to offer an analysis of the human mind and its acquisition of knowledge.
He offered an empiricist theory according to which we acquire ideas through our experience of the world.
In politics, Locke is best known as a proponent of limited government.
He uses a theory of natural rights to argue that governments have obligations to their citizens, have only limited powers over their citizens, and can ultimately be overthrown by citizens under certain circumstances.
Locke was successful at Westminster and earned a place at Christ Church, Oxford. Although he had little appreciation for the traditional scholastic philosophy he learned there, Locke was successful as a student and after completing his undergraduate degree he held a series of administrative and academic posts in the college.
Some of Locke’s duties included instruction of undergraduates.
Most importantly, this was the period in Locke’s life when he began the project which would culminate in his most famous work, the Essay Concerning Human Understanding.
The two earliest drafts of that work date from 1671.
Locke’s emphasis on the philosophical examination of the human mind as a preliminary to the philosophical investigation of the world and its contents represented a new approach to philosophy, one which quickly gained a number of converts, especially in Great Britain.
In addition to this broader project, the Essay contains a series of more focused discussions on important, and widely divergent, philosophical themes.