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Lord Shaftesbury

Anthony Ashley Cooper, third Earl of Shaftesbury, 1671-1713, English writer, philosopher, and politician.

Shaftesbury was a student of John Locke, who profoundly influenced his political thought. He entered Parliament in 1695 and was soon a prominent Whig.

His political views were also influenced by the Cambridge Platonists of the seventeenth century, from whom he derived a notion of the existence of a natural moral sense in man -- a notion of natural benevolence in conflict with the traditional Christian notion of the Fall and with Hobbes's notion of natural life as "nasty, brutish, and short."

His most important philosophical work was his first: Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (1711).