Descartes and Locke Philosophy


Descartes and Locke Philosophy

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Historical background has been in the development process from the medieval to the modern periods within the societies. Philosophical views on certain acts and code of behaviours denote how people should relate to society. In acknowledging the founding fathers of philosophy, Descartes and Locke are beyond doubt major philosophical influencers whose works are evident within the societal development spheres. The early seventeenth century views both Locke and Descartes as the ancient philosophers as they try to extract solutions to epistemological questions about human life (Cahn 2012).   Such questions revolve around the manifestation of knowledge and the responsibility of the human mind in obtaining the knowledge.

Both Locke and Descartes try to shed the ancient values by offering alternative ideas towards viewing knowledge within the society. First, they both believe that human life is an ongoing process within society. Second, both philosophers believe that understanding human thinking, cognitive thought, and knowledge acquisition gives human superiority to look after all other natural organisms as they gain the experiences (Hamou et al. 2018). Third, they believe that all the obstacles that block the individuals from seeing their knowledge capabilities can be shed off as they grow throughout their life cycle. Finally, both philosophers believe that there is an ultimate origin of knowledge resulting from uncertainties, innate nature, or personal experiences within society.

Locke believes that innate ideas are not the initiating factor for knowledge acquisition within society. We can obtain knowledge from the natural surrounding without involving any innate beliefs and ideas within the goal attainment process (Hamou et al., 2018). Different senses are utilised in making decisions concerning any observable feature within the societal surrounding of an individual. For instance, the judgement of colour doesn’t require any innate idea for all individuals created by the supreme being (Cahn 2012).  Furthermore, the judgement on the phenomenon of natural expressions of an individual doesn’t require any innate belief. Such a phenomenon includes the mental capacity of the individual.

Rene Descartes believes that absolute certainty controls the acquisition of knowledge. Furthermore, he states there is no room for definite knowledge from the external world to reach the senses. The manifestation of this statement is grounded in the fact that the unreliability nature of perceptions cannot be changed. Knowledge discovery depends on the deductions and experiences that may come from the individual’s external surroundings. The performance of deductions wrongly by intellectual minds is the least act that can take place within the individuals’ surroundings.

The deduction of knowledge within the systems of an individual mental surrounding requires organised and set principles to explain the scope of knowledge. The belief of the existence of a supernatural being within the onset of the world is broadly discussed within the logical thoughts of Descartes (Hamou et al., 2018). God controls the actions, beliefs and mode of behaviour of the individuals within the communities. Thoughts of Descartes depict the principles as innate and responsible for the control of the acquisition of knowledge.

On the other hand, Locke doesn’t believe in the existence of knowledge within the onset of any individual. A human being is born with a blank mind that, over time, is written by experiences that are embodied in our sensory nerves. The possibility of knowledge occurs at a high degree within the individuals surrounding depending on the external factors. Natural ideas cannot alter any knowledge for an individual as they depict different characteristics depending on societal norms and beliefs (Hamou et al., 2018). Locke developed terror in mystical notions within the societal value, which made him resist all the assumptions anything opaque can be hidden away from the individual’s mindset. An individual is expected to tell how the mystical information originates from overcoming the barriers to the social cognitive thoughts. Locke’s ideas’ clarity is not appealing as the agreements sometimes lack impressiveness within the society. His beliefs draw the origin of knowledge back to the personal experiences that an individual has faced over time. The individual can develop corrective mechanisms to bring changes to the past mistakes as it is believed that experience is the best teacher.

Locke abandons the ideas generated from the perceptions as he drifts away from the certainty concerns within the society. From Locke’s work, we can easily see that the origin of knowledge is further explained to be from the personal reflections and the positive or negative sensations over the whole cause of life. Nevertheless, the individuals can observe and make sensory thoughts towards developing a standard content for the development of experiences (Cahn 2012).   Locke believes that there are no inborn ideas as a child is born with a blank mindset. Contrary to this, the existence of the supernatural being is unagreed within the societies, according to different sociologists and philosophers, which means that if knowledge is inborn, God is also inborn.

Locke compares the human mind to the nature of a blank white paper. This means that the proportion of the human brain is a blank content plane filled with ideas as time progresses. As the individual grows within the society, they may experience different sense within the society. The contradictory nature of this information from this claim is a clear definition that the manifestation of knowledge, according to Locke, is not bestowed in a natural human development across the lifespan.

Descartes places the nature of knowledge on some realities within the society, which in one way or the other centres on the intellectual ideas instead of external sensations with the individuals surrounding them. Senses depict imagery on the blocked surfaces to inhibit the individual from acquiring knowledge. The intellectuals depict real-life situations for the individuals to learn important knowledge and skills concerning their personal development. The power to obtain any knowledge within the society is vested in the individual’s ability to be the real owners of their intelligence (Hamou et al., 2018).  According to Descartes, no experiential knowledge is required to obtain the knowledge from the sources provided within the society. Therefore, the relationship and connection of an individual to God are compared to obtaining knowledge without sensational knowledge. Descartes depicts that the human mind is born with already stocked ideas and concepts that entail our knowledge within the societies.

The possibility of knowing without uncertainty is possible within the societies of human existence. On the other, it is also possible to be in a certain condition without having any knowledge. Nevertheless, we can obtain knowledge without any uncertainty within the environment through spending a little to learn a lot within the society. Learning circles with our surroundings can be harnessed to promote effective decision making on issues (Cahn 2012).  We can also obtain knowledge by eliminating the assumptions and any form of biasness towards making informed decisions within the societies. The assumptions may entail the uncertainties that limit knowledge acquisition within society in one way or the other. We can obtain experiential knowledge through consistent training to improve our skills and abilities on doing some specific tasks or the nature of some situations within the societies.

In summary, I believe knowledge is an important aspect in improving human capabilities within all the development spheres. Both Descartes and Locke are important philosophers who tried to explain the relationship of knowledge and uncertainties within human development (Cahn 2012).   Descartes believes that there is a certain knowledge that exists in the innate life of an individual. Locke, on the other hand, believes that knowledge is obtained through experiences. I agree with Descartes that some individuals are born with abilities and talents that they never experienced.




Cahn, S. M. (2012). Classics of western philosophy (8th ed.). Hackett Publishing.

Hamou, P., & Pécharman, M. (2018). Locke and cartesian philosophy. Oxford University Press.


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