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date: 24 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the influence of Locke in eighteenth-century British philosophy. It argues that a good deal of eighteenth-century British philosophy can be seen, without manifest distortion, as a single sequence of thought, one that developed in response to questions raised in and by Locke’s philosophy. The chapter traces that sequence across several areas of thought, paying particular attention to debates about the nature of ideas, thinking matter, personal identity, the soul, morality, the relations of church and state, toleration, and the place of Christianity in the polity. It distinguishes some of the roles played by Locke in eighteenth-century philosophy and emphasizes the range of contrasting uses to which he was put by his successors, from Berkeley, Hume, Smith, and Reid, to Toland, Tindal, and Priestley. In doing so it shows the continuing importance of Locke to any adequate understanding British philosophy in the eighteenth century.

Keywords: Locke, influence, ideas, thinking matter, personal identity, morality, Christianity, toleration, Berkeley, Hume, Reid

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