Introduction to John Locke and Immanuel Kant
Introduction to John Locke and Immanuel Kant
John Locke was born on the 29th of August 1632 to John Locke (the elder) (a county lawyer and clerk) and Agnes Keene in Wrington, England. Locke and his only brother had to be raised by their father their mother having died while they were still very young (Bourne, 2008). Reportedly, during childhood, Locked had unusually poor health and had to be tutored at home in most occasions. His home tutoring was further occasioned by World War II.
At age 14, Locke was admitted into the Royal College of St. Peter in Westminster, a highly esteemed and independent school in London famously known as Westminster School where he learnt for six years before moving to the Oxford based Christ Church (at the age of 20), which was an equally important college in Oxford just like Westminster was an notable English school of the time (Bourne, 2008). Notably, Locke’s enrolment at the Westminster School was under scholarship of Alexander Popham who served in the British parliament at some point. At Christ Church, Locke studied logic and metaphysics together with classical languages leading to a B.A. in 1656. He later pursued Master of Arts degree from the same college during which he was elected a senior student; a position that was equivalent to a tutorial fellow teaching Greek and moral philosophy even though the position was not permanent. At some point, during the 1660’s, Locke served as a lecturer at Christ Church. Apparently, while at the Christ Church, Locke also studied medicine (Bourne, 2008).
Known for being the author of some of the greatest literary works in psychology, and in particularly the study of the human brain, John Locke was the author of the famous Essay Concerning Human Understanding in 1690 in which he described the human brain at birth as a blank state that is filled gradually with experience during a person’s life (Bennett, Hewlett, & Russell, 2008). It is always purported that Locke’s essay acted as the blueprint for the conception of cognitive psychology- a branch of psychology concerned with the study of the human brain especially perception and sensation. His assertions boosted the nurture side of the famous nature vs. nurture debate staggeringly. It should be noted that even though Locke’s blank-state assertion has risen to be known as tabula rasa (Bennett, Hewlett, & Russell, 2008), Locke never used the term in any of his works or in the Essay Concerning Human Understanding, to be specific.
Locke also indicated that humans gather knowledge through reflection and sensation. Through communication, he contended that humans are able to develop the simple ideas into more complex ones (Locke, 2011). Seemingly, Locke’s contention regarding human development is the root of knowledge regarding cognitive psychology. In his research, Hillig (2008) asserts that various theorists pursuing developmental psychology draw their facts from Locke’s contribution. According to Locke, all humans are born with certain building blocks that enable them to face life accordingly. The essence of living is to use these tools and experiences to survive and shape our individuality.
Other famous works by John Locke include; A Letter Concerning Toleration, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, The Reasonableness of Christianity, as Delivered in the Scriptures A Third Letter for Toleration, and A Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity, among others, which extensively influenced several theories such as political theory, theory of demand and supply, and Theories of religious tolerance.
Born in Königsberg, the former capital of Prussia in 1724, Immanuel Kant is a famous German philosopher whose works have influenced philosophy and anthropology considerably (Kuehn, 2001). His father, Johann Georg Kant, was a harness maker while his mother’s profession is not clearly known. His mother’s name was Regina Dorothea Reuter. Reportedly, Immanuel, born and baptized as Emanuel, was the fourth born of the nine children born of Johann and Dorothy- he changed his name to Immanuel after he had mastered Hebrew proficiently (Kuehn, 2001). Albeit being brought up by stooge Christians who belong to the Pietism movement, Immanuel grew was a bit skeptical about religion. Nonetheless, he was an organized individual who led an overly predictable life owing to the fact that his daily routine was much the same always.
Since childhood, Kant was considered intelligent by many people who interacted with him. At the age of eight, he was enrolled at Latin school Collegium Fredericianum where he studied for eight years (Kuehn, 2001). He later joined the University of Königsberg where he studied philosophy, physics and mathematics. Unfortunately, his father, the sole breadwinner of the family, died before he could graduate from the University of Königsberg prompting him to drop out of the University to take up a tutoring job to support his mother and other siblings even though later resumed his university education with the help of a friend after tutoring for close to nine years (Kuehn, 2001). Kant late graduated as a doctor and took up a lecturing post (lecturing mathematics and occasionally philosophy) at the university; a position that he held for fifteen years. The post widened his knowledge of mathematics and most importantly philosophy, and in no time, he had gained reputation as an original thinker. The University of Königsberg awarded him a professorship of logic and physics in 1770. Kant died some few days before his 80th birthday having accomplished a lot in philosophy and mathematics.
Brook (2011) reports that several of Kant’s views about the mind and consciousness were unimportant to him (Kant) even though they later influenced cognitive science tremendously. For instance, Kant transcendental idealism in which he modeled the mind is very instrumental in the study of cognition today (Brook, 2011). According to Kant, the mind is composed of a complex set of abilities (Brook, 2011). Ideally, Kant was purporting that human being perceived things in the same way they appear in reality- this is upheld in cognitive psychology upon date. Kant ascertained that Newton had proved that scientific laws basically govern everything that occurs in the world. Most importantly, he maintained that through experience, humans can be able to understand the empirical nature of the world. Through perception, identification and reflection upon various objects, Kant suggested that humans are able to structure or mould their experiences (Seung, 2007). Additionally, Kant believed that the world is characterized by various forms of phenomena. A phenomenon in this regard is defined by appearance of objects to humans and how they interact with them. Assertively, his asseverations in the transcendental idealism have had a great impact on cognitive psychology. Other famous works by Kant include; Critique of Pure Reason, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, and Metaphysics of Morals, among others.
Bennett, G., Hewlett, M. J., & Russell, R. J. (2008). The Evolution of Evil. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Bourne, H. R. F. (2007). The life of John Locke. Whitefish, Mont.: Kessinger Pub.
Brooke, A. (2004). Kant's View of the Mind and Consciousness of Self. Stanford, CA: Center for Study of Language and Information .
Kuehn, M. (2001). Kant: a Biography. New York: Cambridge University Press.