AN EVALUATION OF JOHN LOCKE’S CONCEPT OF TABULA RASA IN THE LIGHT OF PLATO’S THEORY OF FORMS AND ITS RELEVANCE FOR POST-CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY
The study aims at evaluating John Locke’s concept of tabula rasa in the light of Plato’s theory of Forms and find out how it contributes to post-contemporary philosophy. Plato’s theory of Forms is the fulcrum upon which his entire epistemological theory revolves. Locke’s concept of tabula rasa is the launch pad of his epistemic exploits. It is Plato’s position that the Forms of the good, beauty, justice, are eternal essences or immutable patterns from where the particular visible instances derive their limited measures of these essences. These Forms, in Plato’s understanding, can be known through the abstractive process of the mind. Locke did not subscribe to the idea of the Forms. He argues that knowledge is derived through sensation and reflection. For Locke, there is nothing in the intellect that was not originally in the senses. Rejecting the idea of innatism with his concept of tabula rasa, Locke argues against Plato’s view that the human mind knows. It is Locke’s position that all ideas derive from sense experience. For him, there are no innate ideas and ideal world is simply a figment of imagination worth casting into flames. At birth, there is no idea in the human mind, and only experience writes ideas on the mind, argues Locke. Plato holds that the human mind knows and only recollects which he technically describes as reminiscence. The counter positions of scholars to the positions of their predecessors just as Locke did to the Forms and innate ideas espoused by Plato is what this paper construes as epistemic resourcefulness and epistemic creativity, which is for the advancement of post-contemporary philosophy. Research methods adopted in this work include: analytic, conceptual, contextual, textual and historical.
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