Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




William Losito


The purpose of this study was to examine John Locke's views on the education of the poor and compare them with his general philosophy of man and education.;John Locke (1632-1704) is one of the best-known and respected philosophers of the Western World. For three hundred years his famous Essay Concerning Human Understanding has led many philosophers to a view of man as a "free and rational" being. Unburdened with "innate ideas," Locke's man is free to learn to be all that he can be.;Locke extended this general theory into a handbook for education. He published in great detail the training and rigors to be undergone by a child. This book, the famous Some Thoughts concerning Education, told the gentry that a disciplined study of the liberal arts untainted with "useless" knowledge was the basis of education. This would be augmented with the acquisition of a "useful trade." Above all, the gentleman would "learn how to learn.".;It seems, however, that all this concern for proper education was aimed at the gentry--the gentlemen who would need these skills to get along in a society of like men. When we look at Locke's ideas on the education of the poor, we see little of the tenderness that was to be afforded the gentry.;Could these seemingly dichotomous views of education--kindness and understanding for the gentry and force and cruelty the poor--be reconciled with Locke's philosophy of the rational and free man?;I hypothesized that John Locke's ideas of education for the poor were consistent with his philosophy of man.;I concluded that Locke's ideas for the education of the poor are indeed consistent with his views of man as put forth in the Essay Concerning Human Understanding and his views of education as shown in Some Thoughts Concerning Education.



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