on July 27, 2011
I came to the reading of this book with almost no knowledge of Locke's thought, but with an attraction to Feser's intriguing first line: "Of all modern philosophers, John Locke has had the profoundest influence on the world we live in, and most embodies its guiding principles." As one makes one's way through the book, the truth of this statement becomes manifest. Feser is a very capable writer, able to explain the concepts in Locke's thought in a very helpful and understandable way. Feser is clearly an afficionado of the Aristotelian/Scholastic tradition, and knows it well. In this book he does an excellent job of explaining some of the key ideas of that tradition, and how Locke was attempting to move away from its premises. This comparison between the thinking of the Scholastics, and Locke, is a constant in the book, and makes for one of its most helpful features. This comparison allows Feser to not only show how Locke's thought is different from the Scholastics, but it also enables him to point out the places where Locke, in his attempt to reject that earlier tradition, ended up in contradictions and philosophical incoherence. For me, this book was a fine introduction to an important philosopher who continues to influence the thinking of our own day.