48 Famous John Locke Quotes

48 Famous John Locke Quotes

by / Comments Off / 384 View / Dec 12, 2014

John Locke was a philosopher and physician that is known as one of the most influential Enlightenment philosophers of all time. He has also been given the nickname the “Father of Classical Liberalism”. His main concepts where of identity and of self, and was the first to define consciousness. He died on October 28, 1704.

“A sound mind in a sound body, is a short, but full description of a Happy state in this World: he that has these two, has little more to wish for; and he that wants either of them, will be
little better for anything else.”

“All men are liable to error; and most men are, in many points, by passion or interest, under temptation to it.”

“As usurpation is the exercise of power which another has a right to, so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have a right to.”

“Beating is the worst, and therefore the last means to be us’d in the correction of children, and that only in the cases of extremity, after all gently ways have been try’d, and proved
unsuccessful; which, if well observ’d, there will very seldom be any need of blows.”

“Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”

“But there is only one thing which gathers people into seditious commotion, and that is oppression.”

“Children have as much mind to shew that they are free, that their own good actions come from themselves, that they are absolute and independent, as any of the proudest of you grown men,
think of them as you please.”

“Children should from the beginning be bred up in an abhorrence of killing or tormenting any living creature; and be taught not to spoil or destroy any thing, unless it be for the
preservation or advantage of some other that is nobler.”

“Covetousness, and the desire of having in our possession, and under our dominion, more than we have need of, being the root of all evil, should be early and carefully weeded out, and the
contrary quality of a readiness to impart to others, implanted. This should be encourag’d by great commendation and credit, and constantly taking care that he loses nothing by his

“Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him.”

“False and doubtful positions, relied upon as unquestionable maxims, keep those who build on them in the dark from truth. Such are usually the prejudices imbibed from education, party,
reverence, fashion, interest, et cetera.”

“Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature: these are the spur and reins whereby all mankind are set on work, and guided.”

“He that uses his words loosely and unsteadily will either not be minded or not understood.”

“He that would seriously set upon the search of truth, ought in the first place to prepare his mind with a love of it. For he that loves it not, will not take much pains to get it; nor be
much concerned when he misses it.”

“He will better comprehend the foundations and measures of decency and justice, and have livelier, and more lasting impressions of what he ought to do, by giving his opinion on cases
propos’d, and reasoning with his tutor on fit instances, than by giving a silent, negligent, sleepy audience to his tutor’s lectures;”

“I am sure, zeal or love for truth can never permit falsehood to be used in the defense of it.”

“I doubt not, but from self-evident Propositions, by necessary Consequences, as incontestable as those in Mathematics, the measures of right and wrong might be made out.”

“I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.”

“If pains be to be taken to give him a manly air and assurance betimes, it is chiefly as a fence to his virtue when he goes into the world under his own conduct.”

“Inuring children gently to suffer some degrees of pain without shrinking, is a way to gain firmness to their minds, and lay a foundation for courage and resolution in the future part of
their lives.”

“It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of the truth.”

“Let them have what instructions you will, and ever so learned lectures of breeding daily inculcated into them, that which will most influence their carriage will be the company they
converse with, and the fashion of those about them.”

“New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.”

“No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience.”

“Of all the ways whereby children are to be instructed, and their manners formed, the plainest, easiest, and most efficacious, is, to set before their eyes the examples of those things you
would have them do, or avoid; which, when they are pointed out to them, in the practice of persons within their knowledge, with some reflections on their beauty and unbecomingness, are of
more force to draw or deter their imitation, than any discourses which can be made to them.”

“One unerring mark of the love of truth is not entertaining any proposition with greater assurance than the proofs it is built upon will warrant.”

“Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves poison the fountain.”

“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours. ”

“Reverie is when ideas float in our mind without reflection or regard of the understanding.”

“Revolt is the right of the people.”

“Since the great foundation of fear is pain, the way to harden and fortify children against fear and danger is to accustom them to suffer pain. This ’tis possible will be thought, by kind
parents, a very unnatural thing towards their children; and by most, unreasonable…”

“Success in fighting means not coming at your opponent the way he wants to fight you.”

“The beauty or uncomeliness of many things, in good and ill breeding, will be better learnt, and make deeper impressions on them, in the examples of others, than from any rules or
instructions can be given about them.”

“The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.”

“The greatest part of mankind want leisure or capacity for demonstration, nor can carry a train of proofs, which in that way they must always depend upon for conviction, and cannot be
required to assent to till they see the demonstration.”

“The only defense against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.”

“The reason why men enter into society is the preservation of their property.”

“The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”

“They should always be heard, and fairly and kindly answer’d, when they ask after any thing they would know, and desire to be informed about. Curiosity should be as carefully cherish’d in
children, as other appetites suppress’d.”

“This I think is sufficiently evident, that children generally hate to be idle. All the care then is, that their busy humour should be constantly employ’d in something of use to them; which,
if you will attain, you must make what you would have them do a recreation to them, and not a business.”

“This is to think that men are so foolish that they take care to avoid what mischiefs may be done them by polecats or foxes, but are content, nay, think it safety, to be devoured by lions.”

“To love truth for truth’s sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues.”

“To teach him betimes to love and be good-natur’d to others, is to lay early the true foundation of an honest man; all injustice generally springing from too great love of ourselves and too
little of others.”

“Virtue is harder to be got than knowledge of the world; and, if lost in a young man, is seldom recovered.”

“Where danger shews it self, apprehension cannot, without stupidity, be wanting; where danger is, sense of danger should be; and so much fear as should keep us awake, and excite our
attention, industry, and vigour; but not to disturb the calm use of our reason, nor hinder the execution of what that dictates.”

“Whosoever will list himself under the banner of Christ, must, in the first place and above all things, make war upon his own lusts and vices. It is in vain for any man to usurp the name of
“Christian, without holiness of life, purity of manners, benignity and meekness of spirit.”

“You must do nothing before him, which you would not have him imitate.”

“You shall find, that there cannot be a greater spur to the attaining what you would have the eldest learn, and know himself, than to set him upon teaching it his younger brothers and