Locke vs. Kant as Liberal


Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher who is considered the central figure of modern philosophy. Kant argued conception people have about the human mind structure which person experience. To him, such structure was where human morality came to be. The beauty, however, arises from judgment, space and time are forms of our sensibility, and that there is no way one can have the knowledge about everything that is to know about the world.

Kant was able by his brilliance effected a Copernican revolution in philosophy about how the sun revolves around the earth. The belief hence has a significant influence on contemporary philosophy in the fields like aesthetic, politics theory, metaphysics, ethics, and epistemology.

On the other hand, John Locke was an English philosopher whose work focused on the political elements including the declaration of independents. Locke was very brilliant helping people to analyze various political aspects in the 17th century. The work of Locke is found in the political document symbolizing how important he was in this field. Although in the recent time people do not really know about john Locke to those who are interested in politics understand the importance of his work.

There are documents which have his original work while others contain the books and essays which were written about him. The work of Locke continues to be used in schools until today because many tutors and student believe the man was brilliant and influential in the field of politics. Immanuel Kant and John Locke are two important individuals who have had a positive influence on the politics of the recent time but most of the times they are viewed as liberals due to their solid stands.

Similarity between John Locke and Immanuel Kant

Locke composed several essays which made him look like a liberal. Some of his work was well constructed and he hoped that it would be used as a constitution in some of the provinces including Carolina in English. However, the fact that the work was not officially accepted means that his work was considered as liberal by the governing council of the 17th century.

The government of that time involved the fear of authority and those in power had more influence in all the territories. However, Locke’s work focused on the weak population in the territory such as the smallest landowners and the poor. The people in the territory we expected to remain religious and those who did not use follow the right ways would be considered as blasphemous.

Locke, however, emphasized on the civil and political right of all the people irrespective of their religious beliefs. The Church of England and all the ways of the religion had numerous followers and seemed the right way to many but allowed for activities such as human slavery. The act of addressing the importance of human right is the main reason why Locke was considered as liberal.

Kant, on the other hand, points that doing what is proper is the value of morality. Everyone has the freedom to do what he or she wants. But for the welfare of an individual and the society as a whole, people are expected to do what is good and does not affect another. But, when one acts out of respect for the law or morals which freely chooses to obey unlike the law of gravity where one has to follow whether he like it or not.

This idea of Kant of freedom for all is similar to that of Lance which allowed people to do as they please as long as it does not hurt other people. Even today, people are still fighting for human rights because those in authority ignore the minority in the society. Individuals that fight for human rights are considered liberals because they act against the unjust treatments of the government.

The other concept is Kant concept about what is a lie. He describes a lie is in the sense of right. This elicited the heat with which other philosophers treat the query of Kant on lying. They went ahead to describe Kant as hysterical in his perception and writings on lies. Kant argues that it is wrong to lie to a person who would be a murderer just to save an innocent. There are three senses of lies found the Kant’s philosophy which explain the three corresponding duties not to lie. For instance, there is the case where if a murderer found you and asks you if your neighbor is home your answer may save the friend.

If you said yes and probably the neighbor is at home the killer may go in and do the act. But if the answers are that he has gone out, and came out and encounter the friend then the perpetrate he did on him. However, in the second scenario, it would not be certain that the murderer would meet the victim and chances are the lie would have saved a life.

If you look at the idea where Locke was writing about the right of non-believers you would realize that it is similar to the Kant’s belief of lies. Sometimes a religion may tie us to the rule and beliefs of the church and we might make decisions which are harmful. For instance, in Christianity, there is a commandment which says that people should not tell a lie.

However, the sinful act of sin could be better than telling the truth which hurt people’s feeling or brings harm like in the example of the murderer and the neighbor. Therefore, before we decide what is wrong or right it is important to consider the consequences of our actions even if we think they are right.

Kant philosophy is more compelling as he points out the morality of doing what is right. The society as a whole has to put some rule to ensure there is the order and also harmony prevails among individuals. Not specifying the time and place where one does right, helps in convincing people on the importance of always doing the right thing despite the way people categories your action. This was made clear by Kant when he explained about how a would-be murderer be stopped from being a killer from a lie. Although that’s a lie it may end up saving the life of an innocent and that would definitely be a right and just thing to do.

On the other hand, Locke wrote a letter to his friend but it was published leading to a splash. Locke expressed his desire to see the church separated from the state laws which were trying to dictate the religious behavior of people. The rules were put in place to guide us on what to do and what we shouldn’t do. Again, it was supposed to punish the wrong acts so as to prevent people from hurting one another and remind them what is right or wrong.

Locke disagreed with the argument of Hobbes that the government should play a part in ensuring that there was a uniform religion. In defiance, Locke argued that the government should bear with the difference in religion and went ahead to say that “both the Catholics and the atheist were too destructive to be allowed.” These are some of the things which made Locke to be seen as a liberal.

Differences between Immanuel Kant and John Locke

The first difference is the method and the attitude they used in their writings. Locke used essays to explain his works but the work of Kant was created in the recent times which were well published in books and other publication. Without forgetting the obvious difference which is the fact that Locke was English philosophers while Kant was from Germany. This is why finding similarities between the works of these individuals are very amazing.

The similarities make their work reliable because they express the thoughts of people towards the governance of different leaders in different countries. Their idea of mindset is the other difference which is evident in their work where Locke supposes our minds are basically empty when we are born; with no instinctive thoughts and that all is cultured thru familiarity. On the other hand Kant his work this is an essential part of his viewpoint and if one really would like to comprehend why there is a lot to be done that our minds are naturally planned in traditions that are primary to how we familiarize with the world.

The other concept is that Locke was a Christian who did not like the way of the atheist. Although he in his writing he wrote that the state should be separated from the religion, he did not approve the ways of Athens. On the other hand, Kant was a pure atheist who explained the importance of happiness even if it meant not believing in God. Kant work is based totally on ethics of human beings whereas Locke focused on the religious beliefs although he did not like people being forced to have uniform religion in Carolina.

The other factor is that many people see the work of Locke as brilliant considering there are several laws which were later discovered by smiths about the law of demand and supply which he had given a hint. However, many people have criticized the work of Kant saying it was somehow unreasonable. The concept of ‘goodwill’ and how Kant does not combine them with happiness is what bring out the greatest critics.


In conclusion, when you study the development of epistemology as in the past cited study, you realize that Locke was and is still a very influential philosopher who criticized the doctrine that expressed rationality and preventing people from the empirical facts as well as the experience that people gained as they acquired more knowledge. This situation that was prevailing in that time led Locke to be seen as liberal because he fought for the weak in the society by using his brilliant mind to be their voice and confidently expressed his thoughts in writing.

However, in some cases, the Kantian theory does not have much influence on the international theory because it has not managed to raise a debate on the matter. The Kantian theory even today continues to attract critics and it is easy to overturn the theory with the work of John Locke.


John Locke Political Writings, ed. D. Wootton (Hackett, 2003) Immanuel Kant Perpetual Peace, and Other Essays, trans. T. Humphrey (Hackett, 1983).

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https://www.academia.edu/3632309/John_Locke_and_Immanuel_Kant_Comparative_analysis_   of_epistemological_doctrines.

Faroghe Azzam, “Social Impact Of Rock-N-Roll”, Merinews.Com, last modified 2017, accessed March 29, 2017, http://www.merinews.com/article/social-impact-of-rock-n-roll/124751.shtml.

Faroghe Azzam, “Social Impact Of Rock-N-Roll”, Merinews.Com, last modified 2017, accessed March 29, 2017, http://www.merinews.com/article/social-impact-of-rock-n-roll/124751.shtml.

John Locke Political Writings, ed. D. Wootton (Hackett, 2003) Immanuel Kant Perpetual Peace, and Other Essays, trans. T. Humphrey (Hackett, 1983).

John Locke Political Writings, ed. D. Wootton (Hackett, 2003) Immanuel Kant Perpetual Peace, and Other Essays, trans. T. Humphrey (Hackett, 1983).

John Locke Political Writings, ed. D. Wootton (Hackett, 2003) Immanuel Kant Perpetual Peace, and Other Essays, trans. T. Humphrey (Hackett, 1983).

John Locke Political Writings, ed. D. Wootton (Hackett, 2003) Immanuel Kant Perpetual Peace, and Other Essays, trans. T. Humphrey (Hackett, 1983).