The John Locke Institute is an independent educational organisation that works to embolden the best and brightest students to become more academically ambitious and more intellectually adventurous.
Through our various programmes - residential courses, revision seminars, essay competitions, and special events - we inspire students to aim high and we equip them with the skills they need in order to achieve their goals.
The Institute is named in honour of the eminent seventeenth century Oxford philosopher, John Locke.
As influential in the United States as in his native England, John Locke was the grandfather of Classical Liberalism. The very ideal of the Renaissance Man, Locke was a philosopher, political scientist, economist and medical doctor; he was a man of ideas and a man of action.
We honour his philosophy of education: a teacher “should remember that his business is not so much to teach all that is knowable, as to raise in [the student] a love and esteem of knowledge; and to put him in the right way of knowing and improving himself”.
WHAT DO WE DO?
In the spirit of John Locke, the Institute provides educational courses – in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, History, Psychology and Law – designed to present students with new ideas and to challenge old habits of mind.
We provide methods and encouragement for refining and developing independent thought, and we promote reasoning skills to cultivate a critical faculty and an analytical cast of mind. Above all, we seek to impart a love of learning that we hope our students will hold on to for the rest of their lives.
INSPIRING A LOVE OF LEARNING
Most of our courses consist of individual tutorials, small seminars and informal collaboration with other students. Learning is active, and students participate actively, reading, arguing, listening, debating, presenting, writing, and – above all – thinking.
We try to give our students a deeper appreciation of what they don’t know, and help them to test what they think they know in order to bring to light any unexamined assumptions. We follow an interdisciplinary curriculum, drawing especially on philosophy, politics, economics and history, and using the material and methodology of each subject to illuminate the others.
We hope our students will become better informed, of course, but we are less concerned with communicating information and more interested in helping people learn how to doubt, question, and challenge, how to reason logically, how to express their thoughts clearly and persuasively, and how to cultivate the kind of intellectual humility that enables our students to learn from people even with whom they disagree.
We strive to nurture academic ambition. Past students have gone on to study at Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Chicago, and Berkeley. We also strive to make learning stimulating, rewarding, and fun. We think John Locke would approve:
“Were matters order’d right, learning…might be made as much a recreation to their play, as their play is to their learning.”
We hope you enjoy browsing our website. For more specific information, or if you would like to get involved in our work, please contact us.