Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 31, Issue 2, 2021

Do We Need a New Enlightenment for the Twenty-First Century?

Emilia A. Tajsin
Pages 27-48

Understanding Is Not Enough

John Locke was one of the first empiricists of the age of modernity who created a masterpiece on systematic gnoseology, and the first Enlightener whose ideas on ethics, law, and politics, preceded and made possible the 18th century and the Great French Revolution, and inspired the key wordings in the American Declaration of Independence. The slogan “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” influenced the course of history becoming the banner “Freedom, Equality, Fraternity” for all revolutionary movements. However, “Possessions” as part of Locke’s slogan is treated and criticized very frequently and on different grounds. The main questions are: Is reason enough for enlightening, and, could property be the fourth slogan of a social revolution? This paper is meant to be a synopsis of Locke’s main ideas, showing their utmost importance for the contemporary world, as well as examining the latest changes in the role performed by the present-day media, now acting as the new means for enlightening.