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Locke's Legacy

Locke's Legacy

(p.381) Chapter Twelve Locke's Legacy
Alain L. Locke
University of Chicago Press

Because Alain L. Locke's achievements as a cultural leader were reflective of his thinking as a polymath, one could assume his legacy would be diverse in form and purpose. The effects of Locke's contributions in many fields, beginning with the period shortly after his passing, are indeed notable and varied. These fields include philosophy, cultural criticism, race theory, adult education, and aesthetics, among others. Locke's life and thought manifest a striking consistency, while his most outstanding contribution is usually referred to as multiculturalism or transculturalism. As with many thinkers, Locke's own terminology offers variants to this: pluralism, cultural relativism, and intercultural reciprocity are all terms he preferred. Horace Kallen revealed Locke's insistence on “cultural pluralism,” the right to be different. Locke was a classical pragmatist, and, although rarely appreciated as a philosopher or a pragmatist during his life, his ideas are increasingly appreciated after his death.

Keywords:   Alain L. Locke, polymath, legacy, philosophy, cultural criticism, race theory, adult education, aesthetics, transculturalism, Horace Kallen

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