John Locke biography

John Locke

Philosopher, Author

1632 – 1704


Who was John Locke?

John Locke FRS, widely known as the Father of Classical Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social contract theory. His work had a great impact upon the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.

Locke's theory of mind is often cited as the origin of modern conceptions of identity and the self, figuring prominently in the work of later philosophers such as Hume, Rousseau and Kant. Locke was the first to define the self through a continuity of consciousness. He postulated that the mind was a blank slate or tabula rasa. Contrary to pre-existing Cartesian philosophy, he maintained that we are born without innate ideas, and that knowledge is instead determined only by experience derived from sense perception.

Famous Quotes:

  • No man's knowledge here can go beyond his experience.
  • The visible mark of extraordinary wisdom and power appear so plainly in all the works of creation.
  • The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others.
  • Reading furnishes the mind only with material for knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.
  • I attribute the little I know to my not having been ashamed to ask for information, and to my rule of conversing with all descriptions of men on those topics that form their own peculiar professions and pursuits.
  • Practice conquers the habit of doing, without reflecting on the rule.
  • The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.
  • The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts.
  • Fashion for the most part is nothing but the ostentation of riches.
  • Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.


Use the citation below to add to a bibliography:


"John Locke." STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jan. 2021. <>.

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Aug 29, 1632
  • Anglicanism
  • Deism
  • English people
  • United Kingdom
  • Christ Church, Oxford
  • Westminster School
    (1647 - )
Lived in
  • Netherlands
Oct 28, 1704

on July 23, 2013

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