Education and Epistemology in Locke and Rousseau’s …

John Locke is an interesting case in point. He had been requested bya cousin and her husband—possibly in part because of hismedical training—to give advice on the upbringing of their sonand heir; the youngster seems to have troubled his parents, most likelybecause he had learning difficulties. Locke, then in exile in Europe,wrote the parents a series of letters in which alongside sensibleadvice about such matters as the priorities in the education of alanded gentleman, and about making learning fun for the boy, there werea few strange items such as the advice that the boy should wear leakyshoes in winter so that he would be toughened up! The letterseventually were printed in book form under the title Some ThoughtsConcerning Education (1693), and seem to have had enormousinfluence down the ages upon educational practice; after two centuriesthe book had run through some 35 English editions and well over thirtyforeign editions, and it is still in print and is frequently excerptedin books of readings in philosophy of education. In stark contrast,several of Locke's major philosophical writings—theEssay Concerning Human Understanding, and the Letter onToleration—have been overlooked by most educationaltheorists over the centuries, even though they have enormous relevancefor educational philosophy, theory, policy, and practice. It isespecially noteworthy that the former of these books was the foundationfor an approach to psychology—associationism—thatthrived during the nineteenth century. In addition it stimulatedinterest in the processes of child development and human learning;Locke's model of the way in which the “blank tablet”of the human mind became “furnished” with simple ideas thatwere eventually combined or abstracted in various ways to form complexideas suggested to some that it might be fruitful to study thisprocess in the course of development of a young child (Cleverley andPhillips 1986).

Education and Epistemology in Locke and Rousseau’s Philosophy essay

Masters, R. D. (1968) The Political Philosophy of Rousseau, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. Detailed study of Rousseau’s political and educational thinking as they form a systematic doctrine.


Rousseau and his Contribution to Naturalistic Educational …

Rousseau says that education comes to us by nature, man and things

The focus of Émile is upon the individual tuition of a boy/young man in line with the principles of ‘natural education’. This focus tends to be what is taken up by later commentators, yet Rousseau’s concern with the individual is balanced in some of his other writing with the need for public or national education. In A Discourse on Political Economy and Considerations for the Government of Poland we get a picture of public education undertaken in the interests of the community as a whole.


Jean Jacques Rousseau, 1712-1778 - History Guide: Rousseau

Whatever common ground Rousseau and Kant share in their assessment of the factors that inspire envy becomes more pronouncedly stressed in their responses to those factors. On educational terms their differences are starkly at odds in their approach to sympathy. Whether the aim in Kant is beneficence or magnanimity, benevolence similarly attaches individuals to others. This fundamental bond is fostered not by vain comparisons but by the humbling function of our reason, which thereby supports this bond. In Rousseau it is the fundamental passion of self love that ties humans together. But unlike Kant, it is the transports of the imagination that preserves self love in the inevitable dependencies society brings. By imagining what is to be pitied in others, instead of what is to be envied in others, the individual can preserve his natural self worth. By embracing the unavoidable fact of comparisons and orchestrating only favorable comparisons the student can be cautiously socialized. Kant treats as a vice precisely what Rousseau treats as a virtue, the joy in the suffering of others. This joy is only an indirect joy for Rousseau since those sufferings are sufferings the observer is glad to not have. Nevertheless, the virtuous sweetness of pity in Rousseau is quite similar to the vice of finding joy in the failings of others in Kant. Where the imagination can multiply beneficial comparisons in Rousseau, reason can distill these comparisons into one daunting comparison – that of perfection. In this way, reason more graciously supports benevolence by humbling the individual and supplying a more stable basis for compassion as an adult. In short, Rousseau and Kant consider the problem of envy with common concerns, but their precise assessment of those problems and, even more, their diverging responses to those problems reveal how deceptively different their educational philosophies can be.

By Individual Philosopher > Philosophy - Jean Rousseau

It is no surprise, then, to find that the significant intellectual andsocial trends of the past few centuries, together with the significantdevelopments in philosophy, all have had an impact on the content andmethods of argument in philosophy of education—Marxism,psycho-analysis, existentialism, phenomenology, positivism,post-modernism, pragmatism, neo-liberalism, the several waves offeminism, analytic philosophy in both its ordinary language and moreformal guises, are merely the tip of the iceberg. It is revealing tonote some of the names that were heavily-cited in a pair of recentauthoritative collections in the field (according to the indices of thetwo volumes, and in alphabetical order): Adorno, Aristotle, Derrida,Descartes, Dewey, Habermas, Hegel, Horkheimer, Kant, Locke, Lyotard,Marx, Mill, Nietzsche, Plato, Rawls, Richard Rorty, Rousseau, andWittgenstein (Curren 2003; Blake, Smeyers, Smith, and Standish 2003).Although this list conveys something of the diversity of the field, itfails to do it complete justice, for the influence of feministphilosophers is not adequately represented.