43 John Locke Quotes (About Natural Rights, Knowledge, Discourse…)

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John Locke was a notable English physician and philosopher, popularly considered as the “Father of Liberalism.”

His work significantly influenced the evolution of political philosophy and epistemology. Locke’s contributions to the liberal theory and classical republicanism are also indicated in the United States Declaration of Independence.

Aside from that, his writings also greatly inspired the American revolutionaries. His political philosophy was grounded in the significance of toleration between individuals and in the idea of the social contract, concerning the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual.

Locke’s theory of mind is often referred to as the origin of contemporary conceptions of identity and the self, which inspired later philosophers such as David Hume, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, and Immanuel Kant.

Locke was the first to distinguish the self through a continuum flow of consciousness. He proposed that, at birth, the mind was a blank slate. He also established the idea that we are all born without innate ideas, and that knowledge is instead determined only by experience (empiricism) acquired from sense perception.

Here are some of the most notable John Locke quotes and sayings that shows his thoughts and views about knowledge, discourse, natural rights, and more.

John Locke Quotes About Natural Rights

1. “Government has no other end, but the preservation of property.”

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

3. “Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.”

4. “Where there is no property, there is no injustice.” 

Where there is no property, there is no injustice -John Locke. #quotes #natural #rights #property #injustice

5. “The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.”

6. “All mankind… being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.”

John Locke Quotes About Knowledge

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

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

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

4. “Where all is but a dream, reasoning and arguments are of no use, truth, and knowledge nothing.”

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

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

The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it -John Locke. #quotes #knowledge #fence #thorough #knowledge

7. “The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others.”

John Locke Quotes About Discourse

1. “We should have great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves.”

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

3. “There is frequently more to be learned from the unexpected questions of a child than the discourses of men.”

4. “There cannot be greater rudeness than to interrupt another in the current of his discourse.” 

There cannot be greater rudeness than to interrupt another in the current of his discourse -John Locke. #quotes #discourse #rudeness #interrupt

5. “I attribute the little I know to my not having been ashamed to ask for information, and to my rule of conversing with all descriptions of men on those topics that form their own peculiar professions and pursuits.”

John Locke Quotes About Identity

1. “An excellent man, like precious metal, is in every way invariable; A villain, like the beams of a balance, is always varying, upwards and downwards.”

2. “We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.”

3. “The discipline of desire is the background of the character.” 

The discipline of desire is the background of the character -John Locke. #quotes #identity #discipline #desire

4. “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 the better for anything else.”

John Locke, More Quotes & Sayings

1. “It is easier for a tutor to command than to teach.”

2. “Fashion, for the most part, is nothing but the ostentation of riches.”

3. “To love our neighbor as ourselves is such a truth for regulating human society, that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality.”

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

5. “I have spent more than half a lifetime trying to express the tragic moment.”

6. “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.”

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

I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts -John Locke. #quotes #actions #interpreter #thoughts

8. “Anyone reflecting upon the thought he has of the delight, which any present or absent thing is apt to produce in him, has the idea we call love.”

9. “To prejudge other men’s notions before we have looked into them is not to show their darkness but to put out our own eyes.”

10. “It is of great use to the sailor to know the length of his line, though he cannot with it fathom all the depths of the ocean.”

11. “Our incomes are like our shoes; if too small, they gall and pinch us; but if too large, they cause us to stumble and to trip.”

12. “The dread of evil is a much more forcible principle of human actions than the prospect of good.”

13. “Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues.”

14. “Parents wonder why the streams are bitter when they themselves have poisoned the fountain.”

15. “As people are walking all the time, in the same spot, a path appears.” 

As people are walking all the time, in the same spot, a path appears -John Locke. #quotes #same #spot #path

16. “Our deeds disguise us. People need endless time to try on their deeds until each knows the proper deeds for him to do. But every day, every hour, rushes by. There is no time.”

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

18. “The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its author; salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure.”

19. “All wealth is the product of labor.”

20. “Things of this world are in so constant a flux, that nothing remains long in the same state.”

21. “What worries you, masters you.”

If you would like to learn more about the writings of John Locke, we would suggest you read his book titled, Two Treatises of Government (Everyman’s Library).