Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




John Baltes

Committee Members

John Lombardini

Elizabeth Radcliffe


I argue that John Locke's epistemology leads him to an understanding of the subject as highly malleable, and that his writings on education are best understood as a response to this. In my account, Locke's educational program is an early manifestation of what Michel Foucault would later identify as "discipline," those institutional practices that work subtly and unceasingly to normalize subjects. Locke's goal in Some Thoughts Concerning in the Education is the creation of a subject that internalizes certain moral norms and thus allows for the possibility of liberal government. The proto-liberal institutions that he is famous for developing are predicated upon the shaping of subjects into this form; Locke's subjects are non-autonomous constructs of power that regulate themselves on the basis of habit and implicit belief. I argue that the program of child-rearing Locke envisions represents an embryonic form of the kind of power that dominates modern life.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only