Locke, John (1632–1704)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DA054-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved January 19, 2019, from

List of works

  • Locke, J. (1823) The Works of John Locke, London: T. Tegg et al., 11th edn, 10 vols; repr. Aalen: Scientia, 1963.

    (Still, in 1997, the most complete edition of Locke’s works, together with some of the more philosophically interesting correspondence.)

  • Locke, J. (1975–) The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke, general eds P.H. Nidditch (to 1983), J.W. Yolton (1983–92), M.A. Stewart (1992–), Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    (A critical edition, planned to include all the published works and significant manuscript material, the bulk of which is in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Volumes are available or in active preparation in 1997 as indicated under individual titles below.)

  • Locke, J. (c. 1660–2a) Two Tracts on Government, ed. P. Abrams, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967.

    (Useful introduction and notes. The ‘tracts’, the first in English, the second in Latin, debate ‘Whether the Civil Magistrate may lawfully impose and determine the use of indifferent things in reference to Religious Worship?’ Contrary to his later stance, Locke argues in these early manuscripts for the right of the magistrate to regulate religious observance for the sake of public peace.)

  • Locke, J. (c. 1660–2b) ‘An necesse sit dari in Ecclesia infallibilem Sacro Sanctae Scripturae interpretem?’ (Is it necessary to have in the Church an infallible interpreter of Holy Scripture?), ed. J.C. Biddle in ‘John Locke’s Essay on Infallibility: Introduction, Text, and Translation’, Journal of Church and State 19 (1977): 301–327.

    (A critique of the notion of infallibility.)

  • Locke, J. (1664) Essays on the Law of Nature, ed. and trans. W. von Leyden, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1954; ed. and trans. R. Horwitz, J. Strauss Clay and D. Clay as Questions concerning the Law of Nature, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990.

    (An early manuscript in Latin in scholastic form which, despite later change in Locke’s conception of moral knowledge, throws light on his mature moral theory as well as the development of his thought. Von Leyden’s edition includes related manuscript material.)

  • Locke, J. (1667) An Essay concerning Toleration, in John Locke: Writings on Politics, Law and Religious Toleration 1667–1683, ed. J.R. Milton and P. Milton, Clarendon Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

    (This manuscript signals Locke’s change of mind to a more liberal view of religious toleration.)

  • Locke, J. (?) (c. 1668) ‘De Arte Medica’, in H.R.F. Bourne The Life of John Locke, 2 vols, London: Henry S. King, 1876, vol.1, 222–227; repr. in K. Dewhurst Dr Thomas Sydenham (1624–1689): His Life and Original Writings, London: Wellcome Historical Medical Library, 1966.

    (A manuscript in Locke’s handwriting, but possibly by Sydenham, expounding a strongly empirical method in medicine.)

  • Locke, J. (1671) Drafts for the Essay concerning Human Understanding, and Other Philosophical Writings, vol. 1, ed. P.H. Nidditch and G.A.J. Rogers, Clarendon Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990–.

    (Volume I contains Drafts A and B (1671); the forthcoming volumes II and III contain Draft C (1685) and associated manuscript material. Together they cast considerable light on the development and significance of Locke’s general philosophy, including projected, but unfinished chapters of the Essay.)

  • Locke, J. and Tyrrell, J. (1681–3) Locke on Separation, ed. J. Marshall, Clarendon Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

    (A jointly written, hitherto unpublished response to Edward Stillingfleet’s The Mischief of Separation (1680) and The Unreasonableness of Separation (1681) in which Locke and Tyrrell defend toleration of religious nonconformity.)

  • Locke, J. (1686) ‘Newton, Is. Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica…’ (Mathematical principles of natural philosophy), Bibliothèque universelle et historique.

    (Review, by an admiring layman, of Newton’s Principia.)

  • Locke, J. (1688) ‘Abrégé d’un ouvrage intitulé Essai philosophique touchant l’entendement’, Bibliothèque universelle et historique; separately published as Extrait d’un livre anglois… intitulé Essai philosophique concernant l’entendement…, Amsterdam, 1688; trans. as ‘An Extract of a Book, Entituled, A Philosophical Essay upon Human Understanding’, in The young-students-library, containing extracts and abridgements…, London, 1692; in Drafts for the Essay concerning Human Understanding, and Other Philosophical Writings, vol. 3, ed. P.H. Nidditch and G.A.J. Rogers, Clarendon Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 3 vols, 1990–.

    (Locke’s effective abstract of An Essay concerning Human Understanding.)

  • Locke, J. (1689) Epistola de Tolerantia, Gouda; ed. R. Klibansky Epistola de Tolerantia: A Letter on Toleration, trans., intro. and notes J.W. Gough, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968; trans W. Popple as A Letter concerning Toleration, London, 1689, 2nd edn, 1690, ed. J. Tully, Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, 1983.

    (Locke’s classic argument for religious toleration. Popple’s vigorous translation is the one through which the work has chiefly been known to English-speakers.)

  • Locke, J. (1689/90a) An Essay concerning Human Understanding, ed. P.H. Nidditch, Clarendon Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975.

    (Originally published in December 1689 but carrying the date 1690. Locke’s chief and greatest work, arguing comprehensively that what we can think and know is limited by the way we experience the world, attacking dogmatic pretensions to grasp the essences of things, and affirming that ‘reason must be our last judge and guide in everything’, including morals and religion.)

  • Locke, J. (1689/90b) Two Treatises of Government, ed. P. Laslett, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960, 2nd edn, 1967; ed. I. Harris, with associated manuscript material, Clarendon Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

    (In the First Treatise ‘the False Principles and Foundation of Sir Robert Filmer and His Followers are Detected and Overthrown’ – that is, the patriarchal theory of monarchy. The Second Treatise, ‘an Essay concerning the True Original, Extent, and End of Civil-Government’, is a major classic of political theory, arguing that government is morally, and should be constitutionally, answerable to the governed. Laslett’s influential introduction stimulated continuing debate as to the immediate context and purposes of Two Treatises, and its relation to the rest of Locke’s thought.)

  • Locke, J. (1690) A Second Letter concerning Toleration, London; repr. in The Works of John Locke, vol. 6, London, 11th edn, 1823.

    (Locke defends religious toleration, and his argument of Epistola de Tolerantia, in response to Jonas Proast’s The Argument of the Letter concerning Toleration, Briefly Consider’d and Answer’d.)

  • Locke, J. (1691/2) Some Considerations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest, and raising the Value of Money, in Locke on Money, ed. P.H. Kelly, Clarendon Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.

    (Advice on the coinage which became Government policy.)

  • Locke, J. (1692) A Third Letter for Toleration, to the Author of the Third Letter concerning Toleration, London; repr. in The Works of John Locke, vol. 6, London, 11th edn, 1823.

    (Continues the argument of Epistola de Tolerantia and A Second Letter concerning Toleration, against Jonas Proast).

  • Locke, J. (1693) Some Thoughts concerning Education, London; 3rd enlarged edn, London, 1695; ed. J.W. Yolton and J.S. Yolton, Clarendon Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.

    (Consciously modest in scope, but an important and interesting work in the history of educational theory.)

  • Locke, J. (1695a) The Reasonableness of Christianity, London; 2nd edn, 1696; ed. J. Higgins-Biddle, Clarendon Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

    (Locke’s latitudinarian credo, cutting articles of faith to a minimum and emphasising the moral dimension of Christianity.)

  • Locke, J. (1695b) A Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity, etc. from Mr Edwards’s Reflections, London; repr. in The Works of John Locke, vol. 7, London, 11th edn, 1823.

    (The first of Locke’s responses to John Edwards’ attack on The Reasonableness in Some Thoughts concerning the Several Causes and Occasions of Atheism, Especially in the Present Age, 1695.)

  • Locke, J. (1697a) A Second Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity,…, London; in The Works of John Locke, vol. 7, London, 11th edn, 1823.

    (A reply to John Edwards’ response to A Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity.)

  • Locke, J. (1697b) A Letter to the Right Reverend Edward, Lord Bishop of Worcester, Concerning some Passages relating to Mr. Locke’s Essay of humane Understanding: In a late Discourse of his Lordship’s, in Vindication of the Trinity, London; in The Works of John Locke, vol. 4, London, 11th edn, 1823; repr. in The Locke–Stillingfleet Debate, ed. M.A. Stewart, Clarendon Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

    (Stimulated by the theological objections of Edward Stillingfleet, Bishop of Worcester, Locke explains in particular, in this Letter and two further Replies (1697/1699), his theories of substance, real and nominal essence, and personal identity, and his agnostic attitude towards the issue between dualism and materialism. M.A. Stewart’s edition will contain Stillingfleet’s contributions to the debate.)

  • Locke, J. (1697c) Mr Locke’s Reply to the… Bishop of Worcester’s Answer to his Letter…, London; in The Works of John Locke, vol. 4, London, 11th edn, 1823; repr. in The Locke–Stillingfleet Debate, ed. M.A. Stewart, Clarendon Edition, Oxford: Oxford University press, forthcoming.

    (Continues the argument of A Letter to the…Bishop of Worcester.)

  • Locke, J. (c. 1699) The Elements of Natural Philosophy, in The Works of John Locke, vol. 3, London, 11th edn, 1823.

    (An introductory survey of natural philosophy as Locke saw it, written for the son of his hosts, the Mashams.)

  • Locke, J. (1699) Mr. Locke’s Reply to the…Bishop of Worcester’s Answer to his Second Letter…, in The Works of John Locke, vol. 4, London, 11th edn, 1823; in The Locke–Stillingfleet Debate, ed. M.A. Stewart, Clarendon Edition, Oxford: Oxford University press, forthcoming.

    (Continues the argument of A Letter to the…Bishop of Worcester, and Mr Locke’s Reply….)

  • Locke, J. (1700–4) A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul, London, 6 vols, 1705–7; ed. A.W. Wainwright, Clarendon Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2 vols, 1987.

    (Locke’s chief contribution to biblical hermeneutics, now published with associated manuscript material.)

  • Locke, J. (1702) A Discourse of Miracles, in The Works of John Locke, vol. 9, London, 11th edn, 1823.

    (Defines miracles as divinely purposive and contrary to common experience, but not as contrary to the unknown laws of nature).

  • Locke, J. (1704) Fourth Letter on Toleration, in The Works of John Locke, vol. 6, London, 11th edn, 1823.

    (Locke’s last, unfinished shot, following those of 1690 and 1692, in defence of the position taken in Epistola de Tolerantia against Jonas Proast.)

  • Locke, J. (1976–) The Correspondence of John Locke, ed. E.S. de Beer, Clarendon Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 8 vols, plus forthcoming index.

    (Around 3,650 letters from and to Locke in the period 1652–1704 supply important evidence of his life and times. A number of exchanges, for example, those with Molyneux and Limborch, are philosophically important.)

  • Locke, J. (1991) Locke on Money, ed. P.H. Kelly, Clarendon Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2 vols.

    (Contains all Locke’s writings on economics (1668–95), with a long introduction explaining their significance.)

References and further reading

  • Aaron, R. (1937) John Locke, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 3rd edn, 1971.

    (For long one of the two standard commentaries on the Essay, differing from Gibson (1917) in several important respects, some, but not all, improvements.)

  • Alexander, P. (1985) Ideas, Qualities and Corpuscles: Locke and Boyle on the External World, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    (An extended consideration of the version of corpuscularianism favoured by Locke, and of its bearing on his epistemology and metaphysics.)

  • Ashcraft, R. (1986) Revolutionary Politics and Locke’s Two Treatises of Government , Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    (Makes strong, controversial claims about Locke’s active engagement in revolutionary politics during the writing of the Two Treatises.)

  • Ashcraft, R. (1987) Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, London: Unwin & Hyman, 1987.

    (An important analysis of the arguments of Two Treatises.)

  • Ashcraft, R. (1991) John Locke: Critical Assessments, London: Routledge, 4 vols.

    (A large selective collection of some of the more significant articles written on Locke’s thought, a volume each on political theory, general philosophy, education and economics.)

  • Attig, J.C. (1985) The Works of John Locke: a comprehensive bibliography from the seventeenth century to the present, Westport, CT and London: Greenwood.

    (A list of editions and translations, including abridgements and selections, of Locke’s writings, together with other works, antecedent and precedent, constituting the immediate controversial context. Secondary works are cited in relation to publication details.)

  • Ayers, M. (1991) Locke, London: Routledge, 2 vols; repr. in 1 vol. as Locke: Epistemology and Ontology, London: Routledge, 1993.

    (The most comprehensive commentary on the Essay, interpreting and assessing Locke’s arguments in their intellectual context, but also offering detailed argument with respect to their continuing philosophical significance.)

  • Bourne, H.R. Fox (1876) The Life of John Locke, London: Henry S. King, 2 vols.

    (An important biography, but now largely outdated. Bourne made use of available documents, but lacked direct access to the manuscripts now in the Lovelace Collection in the Bodleian Library.)

  • Chappell, V. (1994) The Cambridge Companion to Locke, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    (A well-organized and useful collection of specially written articles covering Locke’s main philosophical concerns, with a good selective bibliography.)

  • Christophersen, H.O. (1930) A Bibliographical Introduction to the Study of John Locke, Oslo: Jacob Dybwad; repr. New York: Burt Franklin, 1968.

    (A pioneering, incomplete bibliography.)

  • Colman, J. (1983) John Locke’s Moral Philosophy, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

    (A pioneering analysis of Locke’s ethical theory which is careful, judicious and comprehensive in its analysis of Locke’s arguments about ethics, but Colman’s view of their relation to Locke’s theology is open to question.)

  • Cranston, M. (1957) John Locke: A Biography, London: Longmans; repr. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985.

    (Based rather narrowly on Locke’s then-recently rediscovered correspondence and journals, this is a readable account of his life, but is inaccurate on many details and unhelpful on his intellectual development.)

  • Dunn, J. (1969) The Political Thought of John Locke: An Historical Account of the Argument of The Two Treatises of Government , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    (A classic study, placing Locke’s political theory in its historical and intellectual context and revealing some of the coherence of his thought that had escaped earlier commentators.)

  • Edwards, J. (1695) Some Thoughts concerning the Several Causes and Occasions of Atheism, Especially in the Present Age, London.

    (Contains an attack on Locke’s Reasonableness which, together with further attacks in Socinianism unmask’d (1696), The Socinian Creed (1697), and A brief vindication of the fundamental articles of the Christian faith…from Mr. Lock’s reflections upon them (1697), stimulated Locke’s own Vindication (1695b), and Second Vindication (1697c).)

  • Gibson, J. (1917) Locke’s Theory of Knowledge and its Historical Relations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    (An intelligent, still useful commentary, despite important mistakes.)

  • Hall, R. and Woolhouse, R.S. (1983) 80 years of Locke Scholarship: a bibliographical guide, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

    (A useful bibliography covering 1900–80.)

  • Harris, I. (1994) The Mind of John Locke, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    (Making wide use of unpublished manuscripts, this is a complex but rewarding attempt to integrate a wide range of Locke’s concerns, and to show how they informed the writing of Two Treatises.)

  • Horton, J. and Mendus, S. (1991) John Locke: A Letter Concerning Toleration in Focus, London: Routledge.

    (A useful collection of papers on this work.)

  • King, P., Lord (1829) The life and letters of John Locke, London; new edn, 1964.

    (King had access to the manuscripts Locke left to his cousin, an earlier Peter King – Lord Chancellor and first Baron King – most of which are now in the Lovelace collection in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. This ‘biography’ is an ill-organized selection from these journals, papers and letters, but for many years was a valuable source of information otherwise inaccessible, and records some materials since lost.)

  • Leibniz, G.W. (c. 1704) New Essays on Human Understanding, 1765; trans. and ed. P. Remnant and J. Bennett, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

    (Translation of Leibniz’s Nouveaux essais, a great, if somewhat unsympathetic point-by-point commentary on Locke’s Essay from a rationalist point of view.)

  • Locke Newsletter (1970–), ed. R. Hall, Department of Philosophy, University of York.

    (An unpretentious annual newsletter, with articles, notes, reviews and, very usefully, ongoing bibliography. Both articles and reviews have been of uneven quality, but it gives an overview of Locke studies.)

  • Long, P. (1959) A Summary Catalogue of the Lovelace collection of the papers of John Locke in the Bodleian Library, Oxford: Bodleian Library.

    (An essential tool for Locke scholars.)

  • Lowe, E.J. (1995) Locke on Human Understanding, London: Routledge.

    (A clear philosophical introduction to the Essay for students, making sensible use of recent scholarship in interpreting Locke’s arguments.)

  • Mackie, J.L. (1976) Problems from Locke, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    (A selective philosophical commentary which, although lacking the historical dimension which would often clarify the arguments discussed, has been influential in rekindling interest in Locke’s general philosophy.)

  • Marshall, J. (1994) John Locke: Resistance, Religion and Responsibility, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    (A contextual account of the development of Locke’s political, religious, social and moral ideas, making wide use of unpublished writings. Perhaps the best study to date of Locke’s religious views and their place in his thought.)

  • Milton, J.R. (1994) ‘Locke’s Life and Times’, in V. Chappell (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Locke, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

    (A useful summary intellectual biography, with an account of other available biographical sources.)

  • Parry, G. (1978) John Locke, London: Allen & Unwin.

    (A judicious introduction to Locke’s political philosophy.)

  • Proast, J. (1690) The Argument of the Letter concerning Toleration, Briefly Consider’d and Answer’d, Oxford; repr. New York: Garland, 1984.

    (The work which, with its sequel, A Third Letter concerning Toleration, stimulated, respectively, Locke’s Second Letter concerning Toleration (1690), and Third Letter for Toleration (1692).)

  • Rogers, G.A.J. (1994) Locke’s Philosophy: Content and Context, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    (A lively collection of papers by leading Locke scholars on subjects including Locke’s life in Oxford, substance, perception, freedom of will, meaning, atomism, aboriginal rights, sin and Locke’s influence abroad.)

  • Stillingfleet, E. (1680) The Mischief of Separation, London.

    (Stillingfleet’s argument against toleration of nonconformity in this and his subsequent The Unreasonableness of Separation (1681) stimulated Locke and Tyrrell to compose a point-by-point rebuttal (1681–3).)

  • Stillingfleet, E. (1697) A Discourse in Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity: with an Answer to the Late Socinian Objections against it from Scripture, Antiquity and Reason, London.

    (Stillingfleet accused Locke of sympathy with Socinianism, in this work and in two sequential Answers, stimulating Locke’s Letter to the…Bishop of Worcester (1697), and two Replies, (1697/1699).)

  • Tully, J. (1980) A Discourse of Property: John Locke and his Adversaries, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    (An illuminating study of ideas about ownership, in particular about the relation between making and owning, and their role in Locke’s thought.)

  • Tully, J. (1993) An Approach to Political philosophy: Locke in Contexts, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    (A selection of papers on Locke and his context by a leading commentator on Locke’s political philosophy.)

  • Wolterstorff, N. (1996) John Locke and the ethics of belief, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    (A vigorous argument as to the philosophical and cultural significance of Locke’s principle that reason should be our guide in everything, and in religion in particular.)

  • Woolhouse, R.S. (1983) Locke, Brighton: Harvester Press.

    (A useful short introduction to Locke’s general philosophy.)

  • Yolton J.S. and Yolton J.W. (1985) John Locke: a reference guide, Boston, MA: G.K. Hall.

    (A useful bibliography.)

  • Yolton, J.W. (1956) John Locke and the Way of Ideas, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    (This short but informative book, locating Locke’s thought in its English context, was a landmark for historical study of his general philosophy.)

  • Yolton, J.W. (1970) Locke and the Compass of the Human Understanding, London: Cambridge University Press.

    (An important contribution to the interpretation of Locke’s philosophy of science and moral theory.)

Citing this article:
Ayers, Michael. Bibliography. Locke, John (1632–1704), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DA054-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2019 Routledge.

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