On reading Locke

rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,105
India
#1
I was just going through ' The Dictionary of Philosophy ' , published by Penguin Books, 2nd edition, 2005, compiled by Thomas Mautner, ISBN 978-0-14-101840-9. It is very good compilation , 664 pages thick and contains all the required information about Western Philosophy.
A long entry on John Locke caught my eye and I started reading it. I was impressed as to how modern was the thinking of this philosopher of the old. Locke born in 1632 died in 1704.
He appears to have been the first to enunciate clearly about ' atoms ', though Democritus and others in the ancient days and Gassendi in the middle ages are supposed to have came up with the postulation of atoms comprising the matter of the Universe. Locke is said to have stated " there is one universal matter which is common to all bodies.This universal matter consists of tiny imperceptible particles ( ' corpuscles ' or ' atoms ' ), and the properties of various bodies are caused by the interaction of these particles or corpuscles. " This seems to me, to be a clear introduction to modern Chemistry.
His ideas about Education, Christianity as well as on Political Authority also appear startlingly ahead of his Times.
Locke defines the relationship between the people and the political authority in terms of the notions of trust. Whenever the political authority breaks that trust and tries to ' reduce ( the people )--- to slavery under arbitrary power, it forfeits the power the people had put in its hands, ' and it devolves to the people, who have a right to resume their original liberty, and by the establishment of a new legislative--- provide for their own safety and security, which is the end for which they are in society '.
The people have a right of resistance and even revolution when the political authority no longer fulfills its proper function that is protecting the rights of individual citizens to life, liberty and property. Very modern !
His theory of Knowledge and also his thoughts on Education are worth a look and a think.
Your comments on Locke, please.
 
Last edited:

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,621
#2
Quite important philosopher for the U.S. constitution and while being best known for 'Man's natural state of nature' and the idea of 'natural law' there it is Locke's explanation of property rights and consent of the governed that have had the longest effects.

Personally one of the easiest philosophers to read unlike Kant or even Hobbes and can be understood in context most of the time unlike the ancient Greek philosophers who usually require a wider body of knowledge to make sense of.

Been quite a few years since I read Locke heavily and I don't remember the application of his ideas in education so no comment there.
 

rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,105
India
#3
Quite important philosopher for the U.S. constitution and while being best known for 'Man's natural state of nature' and the idea of 'natural law' there it is Locke's explanation of property rights and consent of the governed that have had the longest effects.

Personally one of the easiest philosophers to read unlike Kant or even Hobbes and can be understood in context most of the time unlike the ancient Greek philosophers who usually require a wider body of knowledge to make sense of.

Been quite a few years since I read Locke heavily and I don't remember the application of his ideas in education so no comment there.
Thanks for your response ! I thought nobody seemed bothered about, as you stated rightly, a most readable philosopher !
His ideas about Education :-
The main aims of Education are i ) virtue ii) wisdom iii) breeding iv ) learning . The most important of these is virtue. The aim is to educate the child so that ' it may be disposed to consent to nothing, but what may be suitable to the dignity and excellency of a rational creature.'
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,621
#4
The main aims of Education are i ) virtue ii) wisdom iii) breeding iv ) learning . The most important of these is virtue. The aim is to educate the child so that ' it may be disposed to consent to nothing, but what may be suitable to the dignity and excellency of a rational creature.'
I vaguely remember something about virtue in education now but it seems somewhat quaint as they way Locke meant it was not the same as morality. To admire and emulate virtue which included ideas of thrift, hard work, respect to the learned, some other things...

Although on second thought virtue might be better than morality as in a public education system morality is rarely agreed upon by various constituencies. Not sure how many people would dispute a short list of virtues such as hard work, respect for others, patience, self respect.

Wisdom and learning would probably fall somewhere under critical thinking and being literate but manners is going to be very difficult to do in most societies but having known many teachers I would say the lack of manners is a serious impediment in the classroom where 1-2 disruptive kids can ruin the days lesson. Even if it is 1-2 different kids every day of the week ruining half the days lesson that is a huge amount of wasted time.
 

Similar History Discussions