Facts about John Locke Philosophies : Religious Toleration, Tabula Rasa, Social Contract, Consent of the Governed

Research Topics Presentation Tips History Essays Enlightenment Philosophes Locke, John

John Locke's writings both supported and complemented the writings of Voltaire's views on religious toleration. While Voltaire hammered out the injustices of religious intolerance, John Locke attacked the reasoning behind it.

(1632-1704) Extremely influential theory of knowledge

Tabula Rasa: Essay concerning human understanding (1690) stated that the human mind at birth is a “blank tablet” upon which nothing is inscribed: not until the infant experiences life that the infant begin have senses.

Letter concerning toleration

In Letter of Toleration, Locke asked what harm does another man's belief do. . If a roman Catholic believe that to be really the body of Christ, which another man calls bread, he does no injury thereby to his neighbor. (1:38). By using reason, Locke built a convincing case. Addressing the role of the magistrate and Church, Locke stated that the magistrate had no concern with the business of men's souls (1:84-89). .The power of civil government relates only to men's civil interests, is confined to the care of the things of this world, and hath nothing to do with the world to come. . Furthermore, Locke stated that the Church was a voluntary society of men based on unconfirmed opinions. Religion is of the conscience and thereby cannot be controlled by outside forces. To make a man lie for the sake of their salvation is absurd. (1:81). Locke's contemporaries accused him of trying to destroy religion on which Voltaire rose to Locke's defense (1:193).

Consent of the governed was John Locke�s idea and it differed with Hobbes social contract by stating that the government only exists by the consent of the governed. Locke believed that people were born with natural rights. People were a product of their environment and what they experience. From this he further explained government existed to protect the peoples natural rights, life, liberty and property. If government failed to do so then the people would exercise their right to rebel. The people then would give their consent to another government to rule never relinquishing their right to rebel. Hobbes would say the right to rebel never existed.

Locke, Voltaire and other men of the Enlightenment were willing to risk everything to make their independent thought known. In doing so, these men gave the public the strength to do what was necessary to end the tyranny.