Dewey, John 1859-1952
American philosopher, psychologist, and educator.
Dewey is recognized as one of the twentieth century's leading proponents of pragmatism, education reform, and pacifism. His work in these three areas derives from his belief that humanity is essentially good, and that social deviancy can be curtailed by specific educational methods.
Dewey was born in Burlington, Vermont, the son of a grocer. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1875 and went on to teach high school in Oil City, Pennsylvania, from 1879 to 1881. He returned to Burlington and cultivated his interest in philosophy with the assistance of his former teacher, H. A. P. Torrey. Shortly thereafter, Dewey published two articles in the Journal of Speculative Philosophy, and enrolled as a graduate philosophy student at the newly formed Johns Hopkins University, where he studied briefly with American logician and founder of pragmatism Charles S. Peirce, psychologist G. S. Hall, and G. S. Morris, who introduced Dewey to the philosophy of Hegel. He completed his doctoral dissertation on Immanuel Kant in 1884, and began a productive ten-year tenure at the University of Michigan. He strived to make philosophy applicable to all humans by becoming increasingly involved in public education and published several works on psychology. In 1894, Dewey accepted a post as chairman of philosophy, psychology, and education at the University of Chicago. During this period, Dewey worked closely with social reformer Jane Addams, published his Studies in Logical Theory, formed the laboratory school commonly known as the Dewey School, and published several works on pedagogy. In 1904, Dewey left Chicago to join the faculty of Columbia University, where he taught until his retirement in 1930, after which he continued to write, travel, and lecture extensively. In 1921, Dewey joined the American Committee for the Outlawry of War, and published the pamphlet Outlawry of War: What It Is and Is Not, in which he castigated the League of Nations as the "League of governments pure and simple." Advocating the concept of a World Court, Dewey believed that such an institution could be effective in the moral education of humanity. He also joined the Committee on Militarism in Education to protest ROTC programs and to promote pacifism. He also opposed America's military draft as involuntary servitude and as an example of "totalitarianism." In 1937, Dewey was selected to head the international tribunal in Mexico City formed to investigate charges against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trials, resulting in the report Not Guilty. Dewey died in 1952 in New York City.
Although Dewey's philosophy evolved throughout his life, it is thought by many philosophers and critics to be governed by his concept of experience, which he perceived as a unified albeit constantly changing force, rather than a collection of remembered facts. Differences for Dewey are but variables within a singular, consistent source, a philosophical approach that, along with his rejection of subjectivism and empiricism caused much of his earlier work to be labeled as Hegelian idealism. Dewey, however, eventually rejected the predisposition of idealists to relegate all human experience to knowledge, which he perceived as distorting the initial experience. Humanity, argued Dewey, spends much of its time acting, suffering, and enjoying, not in reflection. Dewey's later work abandoned idealist concepts, instead embracing a theory that life is a sequence of lapidary and concurrent experiences. Borrowing from twentieth-century advancements in the biological and anthropological sciences, Dewey developed a complex and naturalistic theory that an individual's experience is the organic premise of all life. From this concept, Dewey elaborated that there are three levels or plateaus of human interaction with the environment: physiochemical, psychophysical, and human experience. By observing and interacting with the world, humanity's experience grows in knowledge and understanding. This approach directly refutes the scientific theories of Aristotle, which promulgated that science relies on a passive witnessing and contemplation rather than Dewey's view that knowledge relies on active testing and consideration. This theory is consistent with Dewey's writings on logic and education. The objective of inquiry, according to Dewey, is knowledge, but inquiry is a process that continuously alters its original questions and desired conclusions. As for education, Dewey rejected both poles of educational philosophy prevalent during the first half of the twentieth-century. Children were neither passive receptacles of knowledge nor were they mature enough to determine what education they required. Dewey advocated "learning by doing" as a method of active educational inquiry that cultivated a child's inherent curiosity.
Psychology (nonfiction) 1887
Applied Psychology [with J. A. McLellan] (nonfiction) 1889
Outlines in Ethics [with James Tufts] (philosophy) 1891
School and Society (nonfiction) 1899
Studies in Logical Theory (philosophy) 1903
Child and Curriculum (nonfiction) 1906
Ethics (philosophy) 1908
How We Think (philosophy) 1910
Interest and Effort (philosophy) 1913
Democracy and Education (nonfiction) 1916
Essays in Experimental Logic (philosophy) 1916
Creative Intelligence (nonfiction) 1917
Reconstruction in Philosophy (philosophy) 1920
Human Nature and Conduct (philosophy) 1922
Experience and Nature (philosophy) 1925
The Public and Its Problems (nonfiction) 1927
The Quest for Certainty (philosophy) 1929
Characters and Events (nonfiction) 1929
Philosophy and Civilization (nonfiction) 1931
Art as Experience (philosophy) 1934
Liberalism and Social Action (nonfiction) 1935
Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (philosophy) 1938
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SOURCE: A review of Democracy and Education, in The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. XXII, No. 5, March, 1917, pp. 674-76.
[In the following review of Dewey's Democracy and Education, King attempts to elucidate Dewey's theories in order to support his thesis that the work is a worthwhile study of sociology, education, and philosophy.]
All students of philosophy and sociology, as well as of education, welcome this comprehensive and fundamental statement of Professor Dewey's educational philosophy. [Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education]. It will undoubtedly take its place among the world's enduring classics in these three fields of thought. The educator, to whom it is primarily written, will find here a clarifying account of the principles and the practice which must of necessity characterize all sound educational development that is really an expression of democratic ideals. Such a conception of education cannot be stated in any narrow, isolated fashion, and not the least valuable aspect of its exposition, therefore, lies in the accompanying searching and critical examination of the evolution of philosophical thought and the correlated evolution of the ideals of social democracy.
The method of the work is to be found in a series of statements and expositions of various dualisms of thought and practice which have been at various...
(The entire section is 902 words.)
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SOURCE: A review of Democracy and Education, in The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. VII, No. 1, June, 1920, pp. 64-5.
[In the following review of Dewey's Democracy and Education, Otto focuses on the sociological aspects of the work, which Otto expresses as the need for education to reflect common experiences.]
The present educational situation presents an interesting paradox. We were never so convinced of the social necessity for public education and never more uncertain what public education should be. We insist that our children must have it even though we do not know what it is they must have. Which is very natural, of course, under the circumstances. With strong vigorous groups threatening the radical reconstruction of the fundamental concepts of life, we are tempted to feel ourselves in a whirl of random movements, a whirl too complicated for analysis and movements too powerful to be resisted. Confused and uncertain, we turn for solace and hope to a compensatory society to be realized through the education of youth. In this we are right—provided we can substitute an intelligent program of education for blind faith in the process itself. In other words, the outstanding need of the contemporary world is an adequate philosophy of education.
Fortunately, a noteworthy statement of such a philosophy is at hand in John Dewey's Democracy and Education. The...
(The entire section is 638 words.)
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SOURCE: A review of Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, in Ethics, Vol. L, No. 1, October, 1939, pp. 98-102.
[In the following review of Dewey's Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, Werkmeister declares Dewey's work as a philosophical landmark.]
The publication of [Logic: The Theory of Inquiry] is most welcome and for at least two reasons. In the first place, it represents the final formulation of basic ideas which Dewey first stated some forty years ago in his Studies in Logical Theory and which he subsequently developed and modified somewhat in his Essays in Experimental Logic and the more recent little book on How We Think. In other words, the new book is important as a landmark in the development of the philosophical system of one of America's most influential thinkers; and it will be interesting to the future historians of philosophy who are concerned with the unfolding and the growth of a philosophical idea. But, beyond this systematic importance, Dewey's Logic has a significance also for philosophical discussions at large, notably at a time when the "new" logic is in danger of losing itself in an abstract and intrinsically "irrational" formalism.
Numerous difficulties and confusions of contemporary logic, Dewey believes, are due to "the attempt to retain Aristotelian logical forms after their existential foundations have...
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SOURCE: "Dewey's Conception of Philosophy," in The Philosophy of John Dewey, Northwestern University, 1939, pp. 49-73.
[In the following essay, Ratner examines Dewey 's personal definition and objectives for his philosophy, concluding that Dewey believed philosophy to be an integral element of all human life. ]
In his opening contribution to Studies in Logical Theory, Dewey outlined a conception of philosophy which, from the vantage point of the present time, we can see he has been working on and working out ever since. It has not, however, been a development proceeding on a smooth and unbroken line. It has not been an unperturbed and undeviating unfoldment of an ideally preformed idea, nourished and sustained by an environment ideally preformed for it. Rather has the development been of a more natural, even of a more human sort. Its historic career is marked by crises, by phases of change—and some of them of major importance. Hence in our discussion we shall, to some extent, follow the historic route.
Philosophy, as described in the essay referred to ("The Relationship of Thought and Its Subject-Matter") has three areas of inquiry. For the sake of convenience, these may be provisionally represented in the form of three concentric circles. The first area, bounded by the innermost circle, is occupied by reflective thought, by logic, or what Dewey now...
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SOURCE: "Dewey's Epistemology and Metaphysics," in The Philosophy of John Dewey, Northwestern University, 1939, pp. 195-225.
[In the following essay, Murphy declares that Dewey's philosophical methods are unsound because they do not adopt scientific or practical methodology.]
In harmony with Spinoza's observation that Peter's idea of Paul is likely to give us a better notion of Peter than of Paul, it will doubtless be observed that the essays in this volume reflect the preconceptions and interpretative limitations of their authors at least as much as the actual content and implications of Mr. Dewey's philosophy. The danger in such cases is that what is presented as a critical analysis will in fact amount to little more than a translation of what, from the standpoint of an opposing philosophy of questionable validity, Mr. Dewey really must have meant and ought to have said. This risk is not altogether avoidable, for one can only criticize what he takes to be confused and inadequate by reference to clarity and adequacy as he sees them. It can, however, be minimized if the critic states at the outset the standpoint from which his analysis is to be made and the interest that directs it. The reader should then be in a position to consider the interpretation offered explicitly as an hypothesis, to be tested by its success in clarifying a theory which he has, on his own account, been trying to understand....
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SOURCE: "Some Questions on Dewey's Esthetics," in The Philosophy of John Dewey, Northwestern University, 1939, pp. 371-89.
[In the following excerpt, Pepper examines Dewey's writings on esthetics, which he finds are often contrary to Dewey's purported allegiance to Pragmatist tenets. ]
A personal item may more quickly reveal the grounds of certain issues I sense in Dewey's esthetic writings than anything else I could offer to the same end, and will also perhaps furnish him with a more direct focus for reply than the customary impersonal and more distant modes of statement. About 1932 I came to the point in a manuscript, which I was preparing on types of esthetic theory, where I wished to give an exposition of the pragmatic esthetics. I was not aware of any well considered work on the subject, and accordingly dug the matter out for myself, taking most of the details from scattered remarks on art and esthetic experience to be found in Dewey's writings up to that time, and for the rest following what I believed to be the implications of the general pragmatic attitude in the face of relevant facts. The section I tentatively prepared, therefore, amounted to a prediction of what I thought a pragmatist of importance would write if he undertook to make a carefully considered and extended statement. Accordingly, when Dewey'sArt as Experience came out in 1934, I turned to it with avidity to see how nearly...
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SOURCE: A review of Freedom and Culture, in The American Political Science Review, Vol. XXXIV, No. 2, April, 1940, pp. 339-42.
[In the following review of Dewey's Freedom and Culture, Merriam concludes that Dewey has a firm grasp on the theories of political science.]
[Freedom and Culture] by the Nestor of American philosophy, writing at the age of eighty, is one of the most penetrating and stimulating contributions yet made to modern political science. The theory of government is already deeply indebted to Dr. Dewey's previous contributions—Democracy and Education (1916), Human Nature and Conduct (1922), The Public and Its Problems (1927), Individualism Old and New (1930), and Liberalism and Social Action (1935), not to speak of many other articles and reviews and volumes covering his observations on politics for a generation. This distillation of these works is presented in brief form in the present volume on Freedom and Culture. Space does not permit an analysis of the important philosophical background of Dewey, or of his earlier political writings. In a later discussion, I shall deal more fully with the basic philosophy underlying Dr. Dewey's politics and estimate the trends and meaning of his very important work in political science.
The writer discusses and analyzes at the outset the confusion of the modern day regarding...
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SOURCE: "Dewey's Psychology," in Guide to the Works of John Dewey, edited by Jo Ann Boydston, Southern Illinois University Press, 1970, pp. 1-14.
[In the following essay, Schneider presents an overview of Dewey's writings on the various aspects of human psychology.]
During his years as a student under George Sylvester Morris, from 1882 to 1886, John Dewey thought of psychology not as a science but as a philosophical method and "standpoint." In part, his studies in Vermont, the influence of Coleridge and the writings of the romantic idealists, and in part, the systematic version of this standpoint as it took shape in the mind of Morris led Dewey to believe that for a "critical" understanding of life-mind-nature as an organic whole, it was necessary to show the identity of psychological, logical, and ontological procedure. Morris had conceived such a "dynamic idealism" as a more adequate "experimental" method than the methods of British Empiricism, which had reduced the idealizing functions of mind to a "hard concretion in the sphere of actual particular fact."1 The "psychological standpoint" would liberate philosophy and philosophical imagination so that it could "freely work .. . to reach certain intellectual ends."2
Morris, under whom Dewey did his Ph.D. research at Johns Hopkins, had worked out this standpoint during his studies in Germany under Adolf Trendelenburg...
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SOURCE: "Dewey's Social and Political Commentary," in Guide to the Works of John Dewey, edited by Jo Ann Boydston, Southern Illinois University Press, 1970, pp. 218-56.
[In the following essay, Brickman—a professor of Educational History and Comparative Education—defends his conclusion that Dewey's commentaries on politics and society form a cohesive and consistent whole.]
A milestone in Dewey's intellectual development was his lecture, "The Ethics of Democracy," delivered in 1888 to the Philosophical Union of the University of Michigan. To Merle Curti, this paper was evidence that Dewey possessed "a thoroughly democratic and even radical social point of view as early as 1888."1 The philosopher argued that democracy was a broad concept which necessarily embraced not merely politics, but also the economy and industry. He combined "a criticism of quantitative individualistic theory of political democracy with a definitely moral interpretation in terms of 'liberty, equality, fraternity.'"2 His insistence that no political democracy is possible without economic and industrial democracy was evidently derived from the thought of Henry Carter Adams, a colleague in the field of political economy, who urged "a development in economic life parallel to that which had taken place in politics, from absolutism and oligarchy to popular representation."3 As interpreted by his...
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SOURCE: "Dewey, Ethics, and Rhetoric: Toward a Contemporary Conception of Practical Wisdom," in Philosophy and Rhetoric, Vol. 16, No. 3, 1983, pp. 185-207.
[In the following essay, Johnstone finds similarities between the interrelation of ethics and rhetoric in the writings of Aristotle and Dewey.]
Rhetoric and wisdom are often linked in discussions of the practical functions of speech. For Plato, a genuine art of rhetoric is rooted in wisdom—in knowledge of the true Forms of things—and serves to communicate this knowledge to others.1 Aristotle views rhetoric both as an exercise of practical intelligence and as generative of practical wisdom.2 In the Ciceronian scheme, wisdom without the aid of eloquence is essentially useless, while eloquence without wisdom is deemed harmful.3 Recent inquiries have sought to illuminate further the relationship between these two ideas. Lloyd Bitzer writes that "rhetoric at its best sustains wisdom in the life of the public."4 Kneupper and Anderson argue that "wisdom would not exist without eloquence," and suggest that the unification of the two is the proper concern of rhetorical invention.5
The connections between wisdom and rhetoric, nonetheless, remain unclear, as does the nature of wisdom itself. Indeed, whereas for Plato, Aristotle, and the ancients the idea had roots in language and culture,...
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SOURCE: "The Influence of William James on John Dewey's Early Work," in Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. XLV, No. 3, July-September, 1984, pp. 451-463.
[In the following excerpt, Buxton examines the movement of Dewey's thought from idealism to pragmatism, and identifies William James as a singular influence on the evolution of Dewey's beliefs.]
William James has generally been regarded as the source of John Dewey's rejection of neo-Hegelian absolute idealism in favor of a naturalist position. The intellectual relationship between the two men during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is an important aspect of the history of American philosophy and psychology. Their early association occurred when Dewey was developing his philosophy of education. Yet until recently, Dewey's early work between the years 1882-1899 has been relatively ignored. This has led to the general acceptance of the myth of James's central influence over Dewey particularly between the years 1890-96. Recent textual examination of Dewey's early work has been made under the influence of, and has perpetuated, this myth.
The conventional view of James's influence has been accepted for over fifty years. Wayne Leys writing in 1970 effectively illustrates it. He claims that James "obviously" forced Dewey to reconsider the German theories of the self; that the James-Lange theory of emotion changed Dewey's...
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SOURCE: "John Dewey and the Laboratory School," in Dewey, Russell, Whitehead: Philosophers as Educators, Southern Illinois University Press, 1986, pp. 14-42.
[In the following essay, Hendley presents a history of Dewey's Laboratory School, and focuses on Dewey's philosophical and educational goals for the school. ]
I went to the Dewey School one day,
And saw the children all at play.
But when the tardy bell had rung,
All the classes had begun.
Some to Science, some to French,
Some to shop to work at the bench.
L.o.t.D.o.E., Dewey, Dewey, Dew-ee-ee.
When Thursday afternoon is here
There are excursions if it's clear
To Stony Island in Highland Park,
And they often stay till nearly dark.
Mister Gillett points here and there,
Showing things both strange and fair.
L.o.t.D.o.E., Dewey, Dewey, Dew-ee-ee.1
Thus the students immortalized in song the experimental school run by the Department of Pedagogy of the University of Chicago and headed from 1896 to 1904 by John Dewey. The refrain of the song is shorthand for "Laboratory of the Department of Education." Although the school was officially called the University Elementary School, it became popularly known as the...
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SOURCE: "John Dewey, Spiritual Democracy, and the Human Future," in Crass Currents, Vol. XXXIX, No. 3, Fall, 1989, pp. 300-21.
[In the following essay, Rockefeller—writing from the perspective of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, as well as the student revolts in China—enumerates several concepts from Dewey's social agenda as a desirable antidote to spiritual and social oppression.]
The human race faces the urgent challenge of creating a global community marked by economic opportunity, equal justice, freedom and respect for nature, or its survival as a species is in doubt. The obstacles to achieving community locally as well as internationally are great, for almost everywhere peoples suffer from moral confusion, bitter social conflicts, fragmentation of experience and knowledge, and the deterioration of the environment. In the poet's words, the center no longer holds. There is, then, an urgent need for ideas with integrating spiritual power, for a unifying moral and social faith that is able to affirm the value of cultural pluralism in the process of liberating and harmonizing the self and society on a national, regional and global basis. Such a faith must be comprehensive enough to integrate the technological, economic, social, environmental, moral, and religious dimensions of experience; it cannot otherwise bring the wholeness and harmony that we need....
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SOURCE: 'The Real John Dewey," in The New York Review of Books, Vol. XXXIX, No. 12, June 25, 1992, pp. 50-55.
[In the following review of Robert B. Westbrook's John Dewey and American Democracy, Menand gives an overview of Dewey's life and work, and touches briefly on the influence Jane Addams and Dewey's wife, Alice Chapman, had on his social consciousness.]
In the minds of most people born after the Second World War, John Dewey is an exceedingly dim presence, a figure apparently left stranded on the far side of the Sixties. He has seemed the spokesman for a world view whose day has passed. His ideas have not been thought worth knowing better, and his books, by and large, have not been read.
Once, of course, it was different. For more than half a century, from the time his experimental school for children, founded in 1896, achieved its worldwide renown until his death, in 1952, at the age of ninety-two, Dewey was one of the most celebrated public intellectuals in America. He published forty books, and lectured before almost every kind of audience. He helped to create some of the most prominent political and educational organizations established in his time: the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP, the League for Industrial Democracy, the New York Teachers Union, the American Association of University Professors, the New School for Social...
(The entire section is 7607 words.)
SOURCE: "John Dewey in Vermont: A Reconsideration," in Soundings, Vol. LXXV, No. 1, Spring, 1992, pp. 175-98.
[In the following essay, Taylor discusses the contradictory nature of Dewey's attitude toward his birth-state Vermont.]
John Dewey was always somewhat ambivalent about his Vermont background. At times he praised the "democratic" character of his Vermont heritage and even drew close parallels between the development of his own ideas and the ideas of his teachers at the University of Vermont. At other times, perhaps more frequently, he distanced himself as much as he could from these political and intellectual roots.
For example, in 1929 Dewey delivered an address at the University of Vermont commemorating the one-hundredth anniversary of the publication of James Marsh's "Introduction" to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Aids To Reflection—a book of profound significance to the whole university community in the nineteenth century and one that Dewey, as a member of the class of 1879, had read as an undergraduate.1 Toward the end of this talk, Dewey reflected on his own Vermont background and education at the university in a now oft-quoted passage:
If I may be allowed a personal word, I would say that 1 shall never cease to be grateful that I was born at a time and a place where the earlier ideal of liberty and the self-governing...
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SOURCE: "Primary Experience as Settled Meaning: Dewey's Conception of Experience," in Philosophy Today, Vol. 38, No. 1, Spring, 1994, pp. 29-42.
[In the following excerpt, Ryan examines Dewey's views on personal experience, concluding that he never was able to reconcile his seemingly contradictory views.]
This essay will examine and attempt to clarify Dewey's conception of immediate or primary experience. In particular, my aim is to extricate Dewey's actual view from an interpretation still popular among pragmatists consisting of: 1) the phenomenology of "blooming, buzzing, confusion" and 2) its ontological correlate designating a "brute" encounter with "primal, pulsative" reality. Dewey himself, to the contrary, is ahead of his contemporary supporters in overcoming this paradigm whose roots lie in Locke and traditional empiricism. His is not the ontology of other versus self, in-itself existential event versus subjective object of experience, even given the "pragmatic" codicil that the latter knows the former by "interacting" with it. Instead, these denote phases of inquiry—settled havings versus problematic challenges that produce knowings.1
We will begin with Dewey's ontology of "mediate-immediacy," whereby a thing of primary experience is just what it is experienced as. But it will be made clear that this sense of immediacy necessarily implicates a mediating network...
(The entire section is 8288 words.)
SOURCE: "Sport, the Aesthetic, and Narrative," in Philosophy Today, Vol. 39, No. 1, Spring, 1995, pp. 93-104.
[In the following essay, Feezell humorously examines competitive collegiate sports in light of Dewey's Art as Experience.]
From Paul Weiss's relatively early and legitimating reflections in Sport: A Philosophic Inquiry, to more recent ruminations in books and scholarly publications, numerous philosophers have been fascinated by the fascination of sport. For example, in his recent book, Philosophy of Sport, Drew Hyland again wonders about the "significant and apparently transcultural appeal" of play and sport.1 I won't attempt to catalogue the various attempts to understand why so many of us are attracted to sport, especially those sports that involve the playing of games. Like many people, I've wasted a good part of my life playing and watching these games, and I've given up being ashamed or apologetic about it. But I still want to understand the attraction, as any reflective human being should. I suppose one could read the writings of Hyland (a former college basketball player), George Will, or Bart Giamatti as wholesale rationalizations in defense of triviality. But there must be something "deeper" going on here. Or so we think. What could be deeper?
According to my students (and, of course, many others), the deeper attractive realities of sports...
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SOURCE: "Emerson and Dewey on Natural Piety," in The Journal of Religion, Vol. 75, No. 3, July, 1995, pp. 329-46.
[In the following excerpt, Wilson examines the differences and similarities between the naturalism espoused by Dewey and Ralph Waldo Emerson.]
Today many find themselves to be alienated from a religion with a strong textual tradition and in rebellion against the idea of a transcendent deity. In the nineteenth century, Friedrich Nietzsche said, "it is in one particular interpretation [of distress], the Christian moral one, that nihilism is rooted."1 Rather than simply abandoning religion, some, convinced by Nietzsche's analysis, have sought to combat nihilism by turning to other religious resources. Two American philosophers who have attempted to demonstrate that modern man may yet have a significant religious experience in relation to nature are Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Dewey. Both Emerson and Dewey described forms of naturalism wherein humanity might pursue the ideal ends of their lives in a structured, valuable pattern of practical activity as they interact with nature. It was Dewey who made use of the term "natural piety," but both urged mankind to practice a form of natural piety.2
In this essay, I want to explore the ways that natural piety would be expressed if one adopted the naturalism of Emerson or Dewey. Of course, Emerson was a...
(The entire section is 7798 words.)
SOURCE: "Desire and Desirability: A Rejoinder to a Posthumous Reply by John Dewey," in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. XCIII, No. 5, May, 1996, pp. 229-42.
[In the following article, White recounts Dewey's response to White's book Social Thought in America, and White's answer to Dewey's charges.]
Shortly after his ninetieth birthday, John Dewey1 acknowledged receiving from me two publications in which I had criticized some of his views in ethics: my Social Thought in America, and my "Value and Obligation in Dewey and Lewis," both published in 1949.2 Since I never heard anything more from Dewey about them, I surmised that he had probably not read them or that, if he had, he did not think it worth bothering to discuss my criticisms. I was therefore very surprised when I read in the final volume of his Collected Works that he had paid attention to them in a piece entitled "Comment on Recent Criticisms of Some Points in Moral and Logical Theory,"3 published in 1990, along with other posthumous writings of his which testify to his remarkable intellectual vigor in old age. His editors indicate that Dewey's reply was probably written as late as 1950, and this is confirmed by his reference in it to another criticism of my views by Sidney Hook in his article, "The Desirable and Emotive in Dewey's Ethics,"4 published in that year....
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SOURCE: "John Dewey, the 'Trial' of Leon Trotsky, and the Search for Historical Truth," in Historical Truth and Lies about the Past, The University of North Carolina Press, 1996, pp. 13-34.
[In the following essay, Spitzer examines Dewey's role as commissioner of the committee to defend Leon Trotsky, its eventual finding that Trotsky was not guilty of the Moscow purges or of corroborating with Nazi Germany, Dewey's rejection of historical objectivity, and Dewey's conclusion that Trotsky was right although Dewey abhorred his political views.]
For truth, instead of being a bourgeois virtue, is the mainspring of all human progress.—John Dewey
Consider the following historical text:
In 1937, new facts came to light regarding the fiendish crimes of the Bukharin-Trotsky gang. The trial of Pyatakov, Radek and others, the trial of Tukhachevsky, Yakir and others, and, lastly, the trial of Bukharin, Rykov, Rosengoltz and others, all showed that the Bukharinites and Trotskyites had long ago joined to form a common band of enemies of the people, operating as the "Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites."
The trials showed that these dregs of humanity, in conjunction with the enemies of the people, Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev, had been in conspiracy against Lenin, the Party and the Soviet state ever since...
(The entire section is 10481 words.)
SOURCE: "Democracy and the Individual: To What Extent is Dewey's Reconstruction Nietzsche's Self-Overcoming?" in Philosophy Today, Vol. 41, No. 2, Summer, 1997, pp. 299-312.
[In the following essay, Sullivan finds similarities between Dewey's esthetics and the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche.]
The mere combination of the names of John Dewey and Friedrich Nietzsche in the title of an essay might offend some readers. Many of the scholars of American pragmatism I have met view Nietzsche as just one more of those Continental, postmodern philosophers whose work, while perhaps stylish and currently en vogue, contributes little of value to philosophy because the issues with which they concern themselves in no way connect with the lives of the most people. The reaction of many scholars of Continental philosophy I know to American pragmatism has been to dismiss it as concerned only with "utility" narrowly conceived, e.g., with the usefulness of an idea for making money, ensuring that parking places are available at work, securing good health care, etc.1 I do not want to suggest that members of the two philosophical camps are always or necessarily antagonistic toward one another—certainly there are some who find the intersection of Continental philosophy and American pragmatism to be fruitful.2 Nonetheless, the relationship between scholars of American pragmatism and Continental...
(The entire section is 9625 words.)
Levine, Barbara, ed. Works about John Dewey: 1886-1995. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1996, 526 p.
Combines the Checklist of Writings about John Dewey (1974; revised 1978) in addition to works published about Dewey since 1977, including books and articles about Dewey, reviews of Dewey's works, an author index, and a title key-work index.
Thomas, Milton Halsey. John Dewey: A Centennial Bibliography. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1962, 370 p.
Divided into listings of works by and about Dewey.
Dykhuizen, George. The Life and Mind of John Dewey. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1973, 429 p.
Dedicates equal space to each phase of Dewey's life, beginning with his Vermont boyhood, and ending with Dewey's retirement years from 1939 to 1952.
Alexander, Thomas M. John Dewey's Theory of Art, Experience, and Nature: The Horizons of Feeling. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987, 325 p.
Traces Dewey's philosophy from his early embracement of Hegelian Idealism to his later writings, concluding that Dewey's philosophy contained several contradictions.
Gouinlock, James. John Dewey's Philosophy of...
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