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Department of Education

Forman Christian College (A Chartered University)

Biographical report on John Locke

Submitted by: Submitted To:

Omair Hassan Bodla Dr. C. J. Dubash
John Locke (1632 –1704) was an English philosopher. Locke is considered the first of
the British empiricists. His ideas had enormous influence on the development of
epistemology and political philosophy, and he is widely regarded as one of the most
influential Enlightenment thinkers, classical republicans, and contributors to liberal
theory. His writings influenced Voltaire and Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment
thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. This influence is reflected in the
American Declaration of Independence. Now let’s look at some of his theories regarding
The skill and knowledge needed to order our actions in accordance with the laws of
nature; to treat our possessions and persons responsibly, and to avoid coming under
the absolute control of others.
Acquiring knowledge frequently establishes a habit of doing so satisfying natural
curiosity frequently establishes the habit of loving and esteeming all learning. The goal
of education is the welfare and prosperity of the nation, Locke conceived the nation’s
welfare and prosperity in terms of the personal happiness and social usefulness of its
citizens. Education for Locke provides the character formation necessary for becoming
a person and for being a responsible citizen.
Knowledge is publicly verifiable, measurable, plain, demonstrable facts not imagination.
The best instance of knowing is intuiting - by intuiting is meant a power which the mind
possesses of apprehending truth.
Knowledge, like good character, is a set of mental habits rather than a body of belief.
Knowledge is limited to imperfections of ideas we have; we can have probable
knowledge even when we can't have certain knowledge.
Knowing is an infallible intuition; opening is coming to a conclusion after weighing the
evidence, but without certainty. Mistakes and lies would be a lack of evidence and
defiance of evidence.
Man becomes moral through education humans have no innate ideas of God, no innate
moral truths, no natural inclination of virtue. Locke defined man as both rational and
moral. Locke's denial of innate ideas put a premium on individual effort, on the labor
necessary to gain knowledge from experience.
The learning that gentlemen should possess is general; according to Locke is the last
and least part of education. Learning is a great help to virtue and wisdom, but without
them it produces only the more foolish or worse men. Skills and knowledge are acquired
by example and practice instead of charging of children's memories with rules and
The goal of the gentlemen's education cannot be achieved by sending him to a school.
Learning should be superintended by a tutor assisted by genuinely interested parents.
Learning that gentlemen should possess is general; detailed learning is only for those
who would become scholars; one should know in detail what is directly useful in
managing personal affairs.
For working classes, poor children of both sexes between the ages of 3-14 should be
compelled to attend school with "teachers".
The citizens of the nation fall into two kinds: those who posses property to some
significant degree and those who do not. The first group is made up of gentlemen, the
second of workingmen. Both gentlemen and workingmen ought to be personally happy
and socially useful, but since they occupy different stations in society, their happiness
and usefulness must differ. The welfare and prosperity of the nation demand that
children of the propertied class be educated in a way quite different from children of the
poor. Locke believed that the daughters of gentlemen should be educated in the same
way as their sons.
Wrong doing is a sign of ignorance; people should be enlightened, use own power of
reason, be prudent, reflective and calculatory instead of being moved by impulse.
Locke’s theories influenced educational thinking and practice, regarding education
resulted in influencing education today in many ways through his theories which are
applied or can be applied real-time today such as knowledge and skills are worthwhile
learning. Understanding the goals of Education and knowledge, he also gave moral and
ethical ground through his philosophies in understanding how human beings differ from
other species. He also tells the limits of human potential and defines learning. He gives
ways acquiring knowledge and skills. He also tells who is a teacher and by what
methods through which he is to teach and what will the curriculum be? He also talks
about who is to be educated and schooled. Locke also tells why do people disagree and
how consensus can be achieved.Locke’s theory of value has great significance with
reference to today’s materialistic perspective of society, which is incorporated in the
beliefs and practice of everyone today.
Aaron, R. (1971). John Locke. Oxford: The Oxford University Press
Cranston, M. (1969). John Locke (rev. ed. Green and Co., Ltd. London: Longmans,
Deighton, L.C. (Ed.) (1971). The encyclopedia of education, volume 6. New York: The
Macmillan Company and the Free Press.
Hutchins, R.M. (Ed.) (1971). Great books of the western world: Volume 35 - Locke, Berkeley
and Hume (rev. ed). Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
Tarcov, N. (1984). Locke's education for liberty. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Yolton, J. W. (1968) John Locke and the way of ideas. Oxford: The Oxford University Press