Two of the most noted and influential modern political thinkers are John Locke and Karl Marx. John Locke was an English philosopher who was famous for his use of empiricism and his social contract theories. After graduating from Christ Church College in Oxford, he worked there as a philosophy lecturer. He also studied medicine and various fields of science. In 1675, John Locke traveled to France, where he met with French scientists and philosophers. He spent four years in France before returning to Oxford. In 1683, he was nearly arrested on charges of radicalism. Locke fled to Holland, and stayed there for several years. While in Holland, Locke wrote his Essay Concerning Human Understanding. When William and Mary took the English throne, Locke returned to England and published his essay there. He also published his Two Treatises on Civil Government, which argued in support of the Glorious Revolution, in which the government of Great Britain was reformed without bloodshed. The writings of John Locke soon became famous in England and throughout Europe. Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding argued that all knowledge the human mind possesses is a result of observations made through the five senses. Locke argued that when a person is first born, his mind is a blank slate, which accumulates knowledge through the senses. Locke argued that science is the method of understanding reality based on observations made through the senses. Although contested by later philosophers, this understanding of the human mind was essential in the development of empiricism, and the scientific method. Karl Marx was a German political thinker who was famous for his theories regarding class struggle and is well known as the father of communism. These two thinkers had many conflicting ideas and philosophies. One topic that they had divergent views on was whether private property was a natural right or not. Marx argued that capitalism, like previous socioeconomic systems, will inevitably produce internal tensions which will lead to its destruction Just as capitalism replaced feudalism, he believed socialism will, in its turn, replace capitalism, and lead to a stateless, classless society called pure communism. This would emerge after a transitional period called the "dictatorship of the proletariat": a period sometimes referred to as the "workers state" or "workers' democracy". for example, Marx's comments in section one of The Communist Manifesto on feudalism, capitalism, and the role internal social contradictions play in the historical process: "We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged...the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder. Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted in it, and the economic and political sway of the bourgeois class. A similar movement is going on before our own eyes.... The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property.
Comparing and Contrasting John Locke and Karl Marx
John Locke that that private property was a natural right, and one of the most important ones at that. One of Locke's most famous quotes is that all men have the right to "life, liberty and property." Locke discusses his theories of property in his...
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