Irving King (essay date 1917)
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 times more or less dominant in both philosophy and education since the time of the Greeks. The historical analysis which accompanies each discussion presents a viewpoint that is absolutely essential to the adequate understanding of the problems of current educational theory and practice, and on the basis of which alone we can arrive at solutions consistent with our democratic ideals.
The first dualism is the general one between education and life. While a social necessity, education has tended in all times to become more or less isolated from the social order which evolved it, through an inadequate conception of the social function of instruction. This imperfect view of the nature of education has found expression at various...
(The entire section is 902 words.)