LOCKE AND SCIENTIFIC EDUCATION
The seventeenth century saw the rise of many intellectual trends which became the foundations of the modern world-view. One of these, as we have seen, was the discovery of the child. Another was the emergence of rational political philosophy which disregarded special historical pleading. But by far the most important was the complex transformation of man's thinking known as the scientific revolution, judged by some to be the outstanding landmark in history since the rise of Christianity. Its most enthusiastic and successful advocates were English: Bacon, Hooke, Boyle, Halley, Newton. But intellectual innovations seldom steam-roll their way into history; they encounter resistance, tradition and conservatism--and rightly so, for the burden of proof lies with them, not with the past. Out of their efforts to persuade society that their New Philosophy was more accurate and conformed to the figurations of objective reality more truly than the old arose a quarrel between Ancients and Moderns, those who adhered to traditional explanations of nature or to the newer, usually more economical explanations. Like most other intellectuals, educators also took sides, and the result was a dynamic tension in educational thought throughout the century and into the next. Where Locke stood when the lines were drawn and the significance of his allegiance for the Education is the subject of this chapter.
By temperament and education Locke was one of those men who 'would not beleeve till he had seen and putt his fingers into the holes'.1 Nor would many of his contemporaries and teachers in Oxford and London, and this common intellectual trait brought them together in 1660 in a formal institution, the Royal Society of London, after several years of informal gatherings, lengthy correspondence, and individual study. Created for 'the Promoting of Physico-Mathematicall Experimentall Learning', the Society debarred from its conversations 'all Discourses of____________________