Departmental Bulletin Paper An Examination of the Traits of Philosophical Discourse by John Locke

Ishii, Yasuo

26pp.1 - 10 , 2015-03-20 , 麻布大学 , Azabu University
It is generally considered that modern thought in the United Kingdom developed primarily in the 17th and the 18th centuries. John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume contributed to the foundation of English empiricism which led to more practical modern thought, affecting economics, science, and moral values in general. Their ideas also served to establish individualism in England, where the concept of individuality and freedom as a civil right developed significantly earlier in comparison to other European countries. The 17th century was the age when the Thirty War had ended, and though human reason was regarded as important, metaphysical ideas were still main-stream in Western philosophy due to the well-established religious traditions on the continent. Although concepts of religious faith and Deity were highly important in metaphysical discourse, John Locke specifically denied “innate principles” in the human mind, putting higher importance on human experience than anything else. He rejected innate ideas on universality, Deity, morals or conscience, and instead tried to clarify certainty and clearness of human intellect, reason or the understanding through an individual’s education, discipline, learning and reflection which could be nurtured by experiences as a human. Historically, it was Great Britain that had grown and developed economic, political and technical power in the modern era of Europe prior to other European countries. It is certain that Locke’s ideas influenced the way of thinking for an individual in his age and for England. This essay aims to examine the characteristics of John Locke’s philosophical discourse and compare his thoughts with the discourse of other philosophers.

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