of the Week. Nov. 11th, 2002.
Kids Philosophy Slam now features a philosopher of the week. Included
with this new offering is a brief biography and famous quotes
of the featured philosopher, ideas for classroom discussions,
and links to related philosopher sites! There will be a new philosopher
of the week each and every week through March!
Locke (1632-1704) England
Locke was born in England and grew up during the English civil
war between the supporters of the king and the supporters of parliament.
Because his father fought for the parliaments' supporters, when
they won the war, they sent Locke to Oxford to thank his father.
At Oxford he became interested in medicine. He also met Lord Shaftesbury,
who made Locke his personal secretary and doctor. Through Lord
Shaftesbury's influence, Locke became the only philosopher to
become a minister of government.
liked Rene Descartes' method of clearing the slate to find out
how people learn, but he believed that all learning comes through
the senses instead of reason. Reason is only a way of organizing
the information that your senses give you. Locke believed that
no one knows anything at birth, because "the mind is a blank piece
writers had argued that human understanding was limited, Locke
tried to determine what those limits are. We can, he thinks, know
with certainty that God exists. We can also know about morality
with the same precision we know about mathematics, because we
are the creators of moral and political ideas.
was very important to the writers of the American Declaration
of Independence and Constitution. They borrow some of his ideas
and expanded on them. For example, Locke said that all people
had these basic rights: the right to life, to own property, and
to revolt against unjust governments.
Classroom Discussion Questions
How would Locke have answered the question, what is the meaning
Locke have said that human nature was good or evil?
would Locke have dealt with superstitions and irrational fears?
in the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution can you
see Locke's influence, besides "the right to life liberty and
the pursuit of happiness"?