Tabula Rasa

10 October 2016

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.

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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 to receive and process information (the senses, memory, our ability to use language) and to manipulate it once we have it. ” (Hewett). This book also discusses innate religious tendencies, and innate morals. Regarding innate religious tendencies he discusses whether or not humans are born with a belief in God. It quickly became obvious that people are born ithout a belief in God, because there are many different religions in the world who believe in different gods and some that do not believe in any god. This synchronizes with Locke’s belief in Christianity. His religious beliefs also tie in with his theory that one may not understand something without experiencing it first. According to Judaism, which Christianity derived from, one will never understand God. Locke indirectly explains why this is so, when he was discussed understanding without experience. The reason why one may not understand God or his morals is because he has never experienced anything similar to God.

Therefore he will never be able to comprehend what God is. You can think about it like this. One will never be able to picture a new color because he has never seen one. His theory also fits with another Jewish and Christian belief that everyone is born with free will. Locke’s theory is very much in support of a good education. Locke stated that, “The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it. ” This shows that one needs an education to be able to have their own perception of the world. After all everyone is born without any knowledge, so education is the only way to acquire any form of understanding of the world.

However it doesn’t just end with a good education one needs to be able to apply the information to thinking about the world and developing original perspectives. Education is very similar to experience. They both give you the tools to be successful in life and that is why Locke stresses the importance of both of them very much. Although Locke made some very valid points there were those that countered his opinion, such a Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes believed that everyone is born with an innate evil nature. This nature causes them to steal, cheat, kill, and commit other evil deeds.

Because of this we are required to rule with harsh reprimanding governments to prevent the citizens from being evil. Another thing we must do is to provide every child with a good education in order to erase their evil tendencies and teach them to do well. Hobbes’ premise about the innate evil in human beings goes against both Locke’s religion and my own. According to both Judaism and Christianity every human has the right to choose freely without the interference of God. If one could not choose himself to be evil why does he deserve to be punished for evil actions?

Although, God might know what the final result might be, he still doesn’t take away our right to make decisions our selves. The Jewish approach attempts “to reconcile an omnipotent and all-knowing God with man’s power over his actions as the only justification for receiving either reward or punishment” (Frenkel) by giving God the power to predict the future but still provide us with the freedom to make our own choices. There is one contradiction in Judaism about being born innate. In the book of Genesis 6:5 it states, ”And the Lord saw that the evil of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of his heart was only evil all the time. This statement favors Locke’s opinion that humans are born with an innate evilness. However, Rav Hirsch brilliantly resolved this contradiction. He twisted the statement to say that the evil of the man was not the evil that he was born with but instead the evil that he had done during his lifetime. Locke took a big risk by stating that everyone is equal with a blank slate. During the 17th century slavery was a commodity among the upper class. They used the idea of Social Darwinism to justify their inequitable and ruthless behavior towards Africans and other colonized peoples.

The theory of Social Darwinism states that some people are born superior to others and the superior will rule the inferior. This idea allowed and encouraged slavery because the white men were known to be superior to the African and native indigenous people slaves. This idea warranted and rationalized their cruel behavior towards the slaves because they believed that it was their job to take care of these unintelligent people. When this enlightenment thinker named John Locke came along and completely rejected the common belief by saying that everyone is born as a Tabula Rasa and equal, he was taking a risk.

He was risking that the rich would turn against him because his idea made their cruel behavior towards the slaves and indigenous people unjust. It turned out to be a good risk because he received many followers from the poor peasants. I must advocate Locke’s theory of Tabula Rasa, blank slate, because all of this evidence that was given to me, and because my religion justifies this theory. By repudiating his theory I would be neglecting my religious values and going against common equality morals.

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