Tabula Rasa

Topics: Tabula rasa, Age of Enlightenment, Empiricism Pages: 3 (1224 words) Published: April 18, 2013
Tabula Rasa
John Locke was a British Enlightenment despot and physician born on August 29, 1632. He made a huge impact on the Enlightenment, which lead to many democratic revolutions. His contributions were recorded in his series of books titled Essay Concerning Human Understanding. In Book I of the series he introduced a new theory that is referred to as “Tabula Rasa” (blank slate). This theory states that everyone is born without the innate tendency to do good or evil and is free of all instincts. According to this theory, the external forces, during ones upbringing is what shapes their character. Additionally he emphasizes that everyone is born equally. Although there are many brilliant scientist and philosophers that chastise this theory, I, just like Locke, believe that everyone is equal. By not believing in his theory that everyone is born as an equal blank slate one is consummating that some are superior to others.

Locke’s theory of Tabula Rasa is recorded in his first book titled Attack on Innate Knowledge. The main idea of this book is to prove that experience is required to obtain knowledge. As stated by John Locke himself, “Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper void of all characters, without any ideas; how comes it to be furnished?... To this I answer, in one word, from experience: in that, all our knowledge is founded; and from that it ultimately derives itself.” Another way to think about this theory is by comparing it to a file cabinet. In this analogy the experience plays the role of the files, and the mind is equivalent to the cabinet. Without files the cabinet will be empty. The cabinet is not congenital with files inside; someone must physically put files in for the cabinet to be full. Just like the file cabinet, the mind will be void of knowledge without experience, because it does not come with inherent knowledge. Although we are not born with innate knowledge, we are “born with a variety of faculties that enable us...
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