From Aristotle to John Locke to Thomas Jefferson, the ideas of great philosophers influenced the foundations of the United States. When Jefferson began writing the Declaration of Independence, he wanted to make this new country based on the basic fundamentals. He wanted to base the country on what was considered the natural laws. Jefferson had many philosophical minds to ponder when writing the document, such as Aristotle and most importantly John Locke.
John Locke was perhaps one of the most influential political philosophers of the modern period. In the Second Treatise of Government, John Locke discusses the move from a state of nature and perfect freedom to a then governed society in which authority is given to a legislative and executive power. His major ideas included liberalism and capitalism, state of nature, state of war and the desire to protect one’s property.
Locke’s states that “All knowledge comes from the senses through experience” interpreted when Locke’s “blank slate” idea to when we are kids we know nothing. Our brains have to make connections to things and these connections are gained through experience and continues
With the exception of Native Americans, there is no race of people that originated in America. Yet today, we all come together under the colors of red, white and blue, sing the National Anthem and call ourselves "Americans". Despite our differences in religion, norms, values, national origins, our pasts, and our creeds, we all combine under one common denominator. Alain Locke addresses this issue of cultural pluralism in his article, "Who and What is `Negro'?" In this article, Locke states that, "There is, in brief, no `The Negro'. " By this, he means that blacks are not a uniform and unchanging body of people. He emphasizes that we, as Americans, need to mentally mature to a point where we do not view
During his years in college, Johnathon was introduced to John Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Locke’s work had a great impact on his studies in college, as he started writing journals and
When looking at the Declaration of Independence and the justifications which Jefferson used in order to encourage the dissolve of the ties between the United Colonies and Great Britain, it becomes apparent how much of the theories of John Locke that Jefferson used as the basis for his argument. Focusing particularly on the second paragraph of the Declaration, the arguments for the equality of each man and the formation and destruction of governments come almost directly from Locke's Second Treatise of Government. The other arguments in the Declaration of Independence deal primarily with each citizen's rights and the natural freedoms of all men, two areas that Locke also spent
Locke also believes that people have innate ideas through experiences. He has three explanations for this idea. Firstly, if we had innate ideas, we would know that we have them, which means that if you have ideas they are conscience and everything you think, you think you think. Secondly, if there were innate truths of reason we would all agree on them. Lastly, our memory cannot recall these innate ideas.
Like Descartes, Locke also believed in an external world. As an empiricist, Locke relied heavily on the senses to provide true knowledge (Moore 2002). He shared Aristotle’s belief that the mind is a blank slate, also known as tabula rasa, at birth (Paquette 211). Our sense experiences thereafter provide us with knowledge to fill in those slates (Paquette 211). In Locke’s “Representative Theory of Perception,” also known as Epistemological Dualism, he stated that material objects exist and are separate entities from human beings (Paquette 227). However, he also believed that objects exist in the mind as psychological entities (Paquette 227). Locke concluded that people can taste, smell, touch, and see the external world which, in turn, becomes impressions in our minds (Paquette 227). Descartes and Locke are thus seen to be similar in the sense that they both believed in an external world.
Locke instead is an empiricist, and therefore he directly critiques Descartes epistemic system and tries to establish his own foundation of knowledge. Locke believes that our knowledge of the world comes from what our senses tell us. Locke’s theory state that we are all born with a blank slate, tabula rasa, before we
To explain how the rights of an individual should be managed Locke first goes into detail about what an individual’s rights entail. Locke explains that a “man being born… hath by nature a power… to preserve his property – that is his life, liberty, and estate” (Locke). These rights, although
John Locke, an empiricist belonging to seventeenth century philosophy, is well-known today for his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. In chapter ii of Book I of this work, Locke firmly rejects the theory of nativism that proposes innate ideas in humans. An important disclaimer to be noted before continuing is that Locke makes his case by first interpreting nativism in its simplest form (occurrent nativism) -- as opposed to the dispositional nativism that requires a sophisticated process of discovering the content of one’s mind. This distinction is significant since it is the latter definition of nativism that most of Locke’s opponents use to weaken An Essay. In any case, however, the nativist individual would claim that innate ideas are present in man from birth, with senses beginning in the womb, and that these primary ideas meet the soul as soon as they come into existence in the world. It is possible that Locke could accept the presence of innate capacities that make it possible to acquire knowledge, but he could not agree that the innate principles exist in an imprinted manner independent of sensory experience. He arrives at the hypothesis that the human mind is a tabula rasa upon which true knowledge can only be formed from empirical experience. The most convincing defense that Locke makes against the doctrine of innate ideas is a rebuttal to the argument that stems from universal consent. If Locke’s criticizers wanted to best dispute Book I of An Essay, they
Conversely, Locke felt that individuals gained knowledge through real world experiences. He believed in two kinds of complex ideas: ideas of substances and ideas of modes. In The
Plato and Locke have opposite opinions on the matter of innate ideas. Plato argues that the recognition of truth in reality is derived from the "recollection" of truth in the soul. A necessary part of Plato's argument is that "recollection" of Truth depends upon the existence of an immortal soul. Locke, on the other hand, rejects Plato's argument by stating that the recognition of truth is not dependent on "recollection" but is rather "self-evident." In other words, Locke argues that one does not need to "understand" truth to know it or admit of the existence of an immortal soul, for truth according to Locke reveals itself by virtue of its being true. This paper will analyze the arguments of each philosopher and show why I believe Plato to have the better argument on the matter of "recollection" and innate ideas in the soul.
When considering knowledge, Locke is interested in the ability for us to know something, the capacity of gathering and using information and understanding the limits of what we know. He believes this also leads him to realise what we perhaps, cannot know.  He wants to find out about the origin of our ideas. His main stand-point is that we don’t have innate ideas and he aims to get rid of the sceptical doubt about what we know. The innate ideas which Locke sets out to argue against are those which “the soul receives in its very first being, and brings into the world with it”.  “Let us suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters”.  This quote depicts the idea of the “Tabula Rasa”, that at birth are minds