John Locke (August 29, 1632 – October 28, 1704) was a British Philosopher, Oxford scholar, medical researcher and physician, political operative, and economist. Alexander Popham, his father’s commander, helped him to gain an excellent education. It was 1964 when Locke started to study in Westminster School in London. John Locke had become the King’s scholar. The King’s scholar was group of intelligent boys who has the privilege to live in the school and to receive an allowance for two to three years before standing for election.
After studying in Westminster school, he went to Christ Church in Oxford at the age of twenty. His years in college were devoted in taking logic and metaphysics and the classical languages. It was June 1658, when Locke was qualified as a Master of Arts and elected as Senior Student council in Christ Church College. After few years, Locke was elected as Lecturer in Greek, Lecturer in Rhetoric, and Lecturer in Philosophy. But then, John Locke declined the permanent positions to avoid confining himself in religious orders.
Also, having studied medicine, John Locke served as a private physician and secretary to Anthony Ashley Cooper. His knowledge in scientific practice had influenced his political thoughts and methods. As author of the Essay Concerning Human Understanding and the Two Treatises, he made his place in the philosophical and political fields. He was considered as the first British empiricist. Locke said that all individuals were born without innate ideas or knowledge.
When we were born, our mind is like a white sheet of paper; it is clear and does not have any ideas (tabula rasa). However, through experience which is derived from five senses, we can have an identity and firm foundation of knowledge. This knowledge is based on sensation and reflection. Sensation is our observation about external sensible objects; while reflection is from internal operations of our mind. John Locke implied that our passion or fantasy must not affect our reasons. He believed that observation and experience are the only strong foundations of knowledge.
Observation can be simple which is always true or complex which is not always true and not corresponds with reality always. We can definitely be certain with our ideas if we can analyze our complex ideas back to the simple ideas where they originated. Truth will come out through the joining simple ideas in your head and matches the thing that your simple ideas represent in reality. His thoughts about the development of human knowledge became very useful in psychology- the association psychology. He was often called as the “Father of English Psychology”.
Nowadays, his ideas are still applied in psychology. His work, the Essay, discussed his contribution about the philosophy of language. He said that language a basis for judgment. He said that the words we use do not have meanings, the meanings lie on the ideas in our mind. Among all his professions, John Locke was best known for his political thoughts. Arguing with Thomas Hobbes, John Locke stated that the original state of nature was happy and characterized by reason and tolerance. All people must attain equality and independence.
Nobody has the right to abridge or harm another’s rights, life, liberty, and possessions. The state should be guided by natural law. Rights of property are very important, because each person has a right to the product of his or her labor. If one of the rights of citizens is being harmed, they have the right of overthrowing the government. John Locke’s political thoughts influenced the declaration of Independence in America by Thomas Jefferson. Until now, America is still under his influenced that everyone should be free.