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John Locke (1632 - 1704)

Prepared by: Mohd. Ikram Bin Jabilin
For personal use only, not been reviewed

John Lock was significant for several philosophy especially his theory on education. In education or theory of knowledge, there are two basic component that affected the derivation of that particular theory. There are the empiricism and Tabula rasa. Empiricism is one of the theory of knowledge beside many more while Tabula rasa is the condition mind state of an individual when there are was born.

According to Locks, the individu was born with blank slate mental condition. It means that, the mind is zero with no knowledge at all. This theory is actually the argument of John Locke to the previous theory that is innate idea that said that, mind is born with ideas/knowledge, and therefore the mind is not a blank slate at birth.

As the mind is in blank slate, gaining the knowledge is by experience through the five sense which are hearing, sight, touch, smell and taste. This condition where the knowledge was learn through sensory experience is the empiricism philosophy. Empiricism emphasized the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory perception, in the formation of ideas which c an directly understand that the role of experimentation in producing the ideas.

Empiricism leads to the fundamental part of the scientific method that all hypothesis and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, and revelation. The idea will come from two sources, sensation and reflection. The sensation will transfer perceptions into the mind. Then the mind will works with the perception to form ideas which is the reflection process. This two philosophy, empiricism and tabula rasa, lead to his approach in the education system.

In education, Locke felt should address both character and intellect, is therefore best achieved by providing the pupil with examples of proper thought and behavior, by training the child to witness and share in the habits of virtue that are part of the conventional wisdom of the rational and practical man. Virtue should be cultivated through proper upbringing, preparatory to “studies” in the strict sense.

The child first learns to do through activity and, later, comes to understand what has been done. There it is clear that understanding comes only with careful cultivation and practice, this means that understanding not only involves conduct but also is itself a kind of conduct. If the child and the tutor share a kind of conduct, then the child will have learned the habits of character and mind that are necessary for education to continue.

According to Locks, during born the mind is in blank slate and the knowledge will be gain only by sensory experience. This theory can be understand that the idea only can exist if it can be detected by the five type of sense where if the five sense can’t detect the perception, it is not consider as a knowledge. This theory is not true 100% because idea or knowledge also can be gains through the instinct.

The baby for example will cry for the food even though he or she never been before have any perception towards the food, but the baby understand the hunger condition. The mammalian baby also know how to get breast feed just after she was born without being teach by her mother. This natural phenomenon shows that the ideas are not only can be gains through the sensory experience but also the natural instinct that exist inside the living thing since birth.

Another argument to this theory in the aspect of metaphysic. If all the knowledge only can be gain through the sensory experience, then it can lead to the rejection of the existent of God. The existent of God can’t not be determined by the sensory experience because it cannot be seen or feel with the five sensor. But the existent can be prove with the creation of the universe for example the sky, the planet and so on because it is impossible for something exist without a creator. The car can’t exist by itself without the people who build it, same goes to the universe. The existent of God was proved by the existent of the universe.
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