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This may be my favorite read to date. What an insight into a major epoch for humanity - the liminal space between pre and post Enlightenment, pre and post scientific revolution - lived as Locke himself lived it. Locke's insight into empiricism even while he held fast to his pious upbringing is nothing short of Kuhnian in its radicalness, and he suffered barbs for it in his day. Yet this biography is also insightful for revealing what 17th century Europe still did not know. For example, at one point Locke postulates that life forms are powered via respiration which adds nitrate salt to the blood (nitrate salt was known to give action to gunpowder and invigorate soil for agriculture); Locke also considered the viability of perpetual motion. In a time which foreshadows the eventual Revolution in the colonies, the time of Newton, Boyle, and Leibniz (all of whom make appearances in Locke's life), this look into the life of an eminent 17th century philosopher is a testament not only to Locke's genius, but the genius of humanity itself.