Tabula Rasa (Latin: blank slate)
This is the idea that human beings are born psychologically equal, forwarded by the British empirical philosopher John Locke.
Locke believed the human infant enters the world with a blank slate. According to this view, we inherit nothing more than physical characteristics and a basic sense of goodness. The mind is free and equal among different individuals, sort of like a computer processor rolling down the assembly line. We’re all hardwired just the same.
Some claim that this is a common, ‘politically correct’ belief in liberal democratic societies. In reality, however, it’s still debated to what degree inherited aptitudes, potentials and their later expression depend on environmental nurturing.
Most contemporary psychologists adhere to the “Nature-Nurture” paradigm, meaning we’re each the outcome of genetically inherited and socially developed potentials.
It should be stressed, however, that even if this perspective were correct, it has nothing to say about the existential equality of all human beings.
Regardless of the dynamics behind our obvious differences, the sane and ethical view seems to be that people are different and equal, each individual possessing the very same inalienable human rights and dignity in difference.
On the Web:
- Tabula rasa is also the name of a video game.
» Lévi-Strauss (Claude), Locke (John)
Add to this, report errors, suggest edits or voice your opinion by posting a comment