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Encyclopedia > John Dewey
Western Philosophy
20th-century philosophy
John Dewey

Name It has been suggested that Contemporary philosophy be merged into this article or section. ... American philospher and educator John Dewey Source: http://www. ...

John Dewey


October 20, 1859(1859-10-20) is the 293rd day of the year (294th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1859 (MDCCCLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ...


June 1, 1952 (aged 92) is the 152nd day of the year (153rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1952 (MCMLII) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Pragmatism Pragmatism is a philosophic school that originated in the late nineteenth century with Charles Sanders Peirce, who first stated the pragmatic maxim. ...

Main interests

Philosophy of education, Epistemology, Journalism, Ethics Wikibooks has more about this subject: Learning Theories The philosophy of education is the study of the purpose, process, nature and ideals of education. ... Theory of knowledge redirects here: for other uses, see theory of knowledge (disambiguation) According to Plato, knowledge is a subset of that which is both true and believed Epistemology or theory of knowledge is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature, methods, limitations, and validity of knowledge and belief. ... Journalism is a discipline of gathering, writing and reporting news, and broadly it includes the process of editing and presenting the news articles. ... For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ...

Notable ideas

Educational progressivism Educational progressivists believe that education must be based on the fact that humans are social animals who learn best in real-life activities with other people. ...


Plato, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Hegel, Peirce, William James PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ... Jean-Jacques Rousseau, (June 28, 1712 – July 2, 1778) was a Genevan philosopher of the Enlightenment whose political ideas influenced the French Revolution, the development of socialist theory, and the growth of nationalism. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ... Charles Sanders Peirce (IPA: /pɝs/), (September 10, 1839 – April 19, 1914) was an American polymath, physicist, and philosopher, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...


Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam, Cornel West, Jurgen Habermas, Sidney Hook, Noam Chomsky, Hu Shih, Thorstein Veblen Richard McKay Rorty (October 4, 1931 in New York City – June 8, 2007) was an American philosopher. ... Hilary Whitehall Putnam (born July 31, 1926) is an American philosopher who has been a central figure in Western philosophy since the 1960s, especially in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and philosophy of science. ... Cornell West redirects here. ... Jürgen Habermas Jürgen Habermas (born June 18, 1929 in Düsseldorf, Germany) is a philosopher and social theorist in the tradition of critical theory. ... Sidney Hook (December 20, 1902–July 12, 1989) was a prominent New York intellectual and philosopher who championed pragmatism. ... Avram Noam Chomsky (Hebrew: אברם נועם חומסקי Yiddish: אברם נועם כאמסקי) (born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author, and lecturer. ... Hu Shih (Simplified: 胡适, Traditional: 胡適, Pinyin: Hú Shì), (December 17, 1891-February 24, 1962) was a Chinese philosopher and essayist. ... Thorstein Bunde Veblen (born Tosten Bunde Veblen July 30, 1857 – August 3, 1929) was a Norwegian-American sociologist and economist and a founder, along with John R. Commons, of the Institutional economics movement. ...

John Dewey (October 20, 1859June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer, whose thoughts and ideas have been greatly influential in the United States and around the world. He, along with Charles Sanders Peirce and William James, is recognized as one of the founders of the philosophical school of Pragmatism [citation needed]. He is also known as the father of functional psychology; he was a leading representative of the progressive movement in U.S. schooling during the first half of the 20th century [citation needed]. is the 293rd day of the year (294th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1859 (MDCCCLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... is the 152nd day of the year (153rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1952 (MCMLII) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... A philosopher is a person who thinks deeply regarding people, society, the world, and/or the universe. ... A psychologist is a person who studies psychology, the systematic investigation of the human mind, including behavior, cognition, and affect. ... This article is in need of attention. ... Charles Sanders Peirce (IPA: /pɝs/), (September 10, 1839 – April 19, 1914) was an American polymath, physicist, and philosopher, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Pragmatism is a philosophic school that originated in the late nineteenth century with Charles Sanders Peirce, who first stated the pragmatic maxim. ... Look up functionalism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article is about Progressivism. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999...

Dewey was born in Burlington, Vermont of modest family origins. He graduated from the University of Vermont (Phi Beta Kappa) in 1879. After three years as a high school teacher in Oil City, Pennsylvania, Dewey decided that he was unsuited for employment in primary or secondary education. Borrowing two thousand dollars from his aunt, he was able to enter graduate school in philosophy. His unpublished dissertation was titled "The Psychology of Kant" and he made a special study of Hegel's Absolute idealism. After receiving his Ph.D. from the School of Arts & Sciences at Johns Hopkins University in 1884, he took a faculty position at the University of Michigan with the help of George Sylvester Morris. In 1894 Dewey joined the newly founded University of Chicago where he shaped his belief in an empirically based theory of knowledge aligning his ideals with the newly emerging Pragmatic school of thought. His time at the University of Chicago resulted in four essays collectively entitled Thought and its Subject-Matter which was published with collected works from his colleagues at Chicago under the collective title Studies in Logical Theory (1903). During this time Dewey also founded the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools where he was able to actualize his pedagogical beliefs which provided material for his first major work on education, The School and Society (1899). Disagreements with the administration ultimately led to his resignation from the University at which point he left for the East Coast. From 1904 until his death he was professor of philosophy at both Columbia University and Teachers College, Columbia University. [1] He was a long-time member of the American Federation of Teachers. Burlington is the largest city in the U.S. state of Vermont and is the shire town of Chittenden County, Vermont. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... UVM redirects here. ... Kant redirects here. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ... It has been suggested that Neo-Hegelianism be merged into this article or section. ... Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated Ph. ... The Johns Hopkins University, founded in 1876, is a private institution of higher learning located in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. ... The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (U of M, UM or simply Michigan) is a coeducational public research university in the state of Michigan, and one of the foremost universities in the United States. ... George Sylvester Morris (1840-89) was an American educator and philosophical writer, born at Norwich, Vt. ... For other uses, see University of Chicago (disambiguation). ... The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (also Lab School and abbreviated UCLS; the upper classes are nicknamed U-High) is a private, co-educational day school in Chicago, Illinois. ... Alma Mater Columbia University is a private university in the United States and a member of the Ivy League. ... Teachers College, Columbia University (sometimes referred to simply as Teachers College; also referred to as Teachers College of Columbia University or the Columbia University Graduate School of Education) is a top ranked graduate school of education in the United States. ... The American Federation of Teachers or AFT is an American labor union founded in 1916 which represents teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; local, state and federal employees; higher education faculty and staff; and nurses and other healthcare professionals. ...

Along with the historian Charles Beard, economists Thorstein Veblen and James Harvey Robinson, Dewey is one of the founders of The New School for Social Research. Dewey's most significant writings were "The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology" (1896), a critique of a standard psychological concept and the basis of all his further work; Human Nature and Conduct (1922), a study of the role of habit in human behavior; The Public and its Problems (1927), a defense of democracy written in response to Walter Lippmann's The Phantom Public (1925); Experience and Nature (1925), Dewey's most "metaphysical" statement; Art as Experience (1934), Dewey's major work on aesthetics; A Common Faith (1934), a humanistic study of religion; Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938), an examination of Dewey's unusual conception of logic; and Freedom and Culture (1939), a political work examining the roots of fascism. While each of these works focuses upon one particular philosophical theme, Dewey wove in all of his major themes into everything he wrote. Charles Austin Beard (November 27, 1874 _ September 1, 1948) was an American historian, author with James Harvey Robinson of The Development of Modern Europe (1907). ... Thorstein Bunde Veblen (born Tosten Bunde Veblen July 30, 1857 – August 3, 1929) was a Norwegian-American sociologist and economist and a founder, along with John R. Commons, of the Institutional economics movement. ... James Harvey Robinson (1863–1936) was an American historian. ... The New School for Social Research is the graduate division of The New School. ... The Public and Its Problems is a book by John Dewey, an American philosopher, written in 1927. ... Walter Lippmann (September 23, 1889 - December 14, 1974) was an influential American writer, journalist, and political commentator. ... The Phantom Public is a book written in 1927 by journalist Walter Lippmann, in which he expresses his lack of faith in the democratic system, arguing that the public exists merely as an illusion, myth, and inevitably a phantom. ...


Educational philosophy

Dewey's philosophical anthropology, unlike Egan, Vico, Ernst Cassirer, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Nietzsche, does not account for the origin of thought of the modern mind in the aesthetic, more precisely the myth, but instead in the original occupations and industries of ancient people, and eventually in the history of science.[2] A criticism of this approach is that it does not account for the origin of cultural institutions,which can be accounted for by the aesthetic. Language and its development, in Dewey's philosophical anthropology, have not a central role but are instead a consequence of the cognitive capacity.[2] Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Shortcut: WP:WIN Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia and, as a means to that end, also an online community. ... Shortcut: WP:CU Marking articles for cleanup This page is undergoing a transition to an easier-to-maintain format. ... This Manual of Style has the simple purpose of making things easy to read by following a consistent format — it is a style guide. ... Philosophical anthropology is the philosophical discipline that seeks to unify the several empirical investigations and phenomenological explorations of human nature in an effort to understand human beings as both creatures of their environment and creators of their own values. ... Kieran Egan, (born 1942) has written on issues in education and child development, with an emphasis on the uses of imagination and the intellectual stages (Egan calls them understandings) that mark different ages from birth to adulthood. ... Giambattista Vico or Giovanni Battista Vico (June 23, 1668 – January 23, 1744) was an Italian philosopher, historian, and jurist. ... Ernst Cassirer (July 28, 1874 – April 13, 1945) was a German-Jewish philosopher. ... This article is about the anthropologist. ... Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882 Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 - August 25, 1900) was a highly influential German philosopher. ... Aesthetics (or esthetics) (from the Greek word αισθητική) is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty. ... For other uses, see Myth (disambiguation). ... Science is a body of empirical, theoretical, and practical knowledge about the natural world, produced by a global community of researchers making use of a body of techniques known as scientific methods, emphasizing the observation, experimentation and scientific explanation of real world phenomena. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

As can be seen in his Democracy and Education (1916) Dewey sought to at once synthesize, criticize, and expand upon the democratic or proto-democratic educational philosophies of Rousseau and Plato.[citation needed] He saw Rousseau's philosophy as overemphasizing the individual and Plato's philosophy as overemphasizing the society in which the individual lived. For Dewey, this distinction was by and large a false one; like Vygotsky, he viewed the mind and its formation as a communal process. Thus the individual is only a meaningful concept when regarded as an inextricable part of his or her society, and the society has no meaning apart from its realization in the lives of its individual members. However, as evidenced in his later Experience and Nature (1925) Dewey recognizes the importance of the subjective experience of individual people in introducing revolutionary new ideas. Wikibooks has more about this subject: Learning Theories The philosophy of education is the study of the purpose, process, nature and ideals of education. ... Wikibooks has more about this subject: Learning Theories The philosophy of education is the study of the purpose, process, nature and ideals of education. ... Lev Vygotsky Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky (November 17 (November 5 (O.S.)), 1896—June 11, 1934) was a Russian developmental psychologist, discovered by the Western world in the 1960s. ...

For Dewey, it was vitally important that education should not be the teaching of mere dead fact, but that the skills and knowledge which students learned be integrated fully into their lives as persons, citizens and human beings. This practical element—learning by doing—sprang from his subscription to the philosophical school of Pragmatism. He then created his famous Lincoln School in Manhattan that operated through the late 1930s."Lapsing Lincoln", 'Time', June 5, 1939 Learning-by-doing is the concept of economic theory. ... Pragmatism is a philosophic school that originated in the late nineteenth century with Charles Sanders Peirce, who first stated the pragmatic maxim. ... Lincoln School is a popular name for schools - particularly high schools - in America. ... For other uses, see Manhattan (disambiguation). ...

Dewey's ideas were never broadly and deeply integrated into the practices of American public schools, though some of his values and terms were widespread. Progressive education (both as espoused by Dewey, and in the more popular and inept forms of which Dewey was critical) was essentially scrapped during the Cold War, when the dominant concern in education was creating and sustaining a scientific and technological elite for military purposes.[citation needed] In the post-Cold War period, however, progressive education had reemerged in many school reform and education theory circles as a thriving field of inquiry learning and inquiry-based science. Dewey is often cited as creating the foundations for outcomes-based education and Standards-based education reform, and standards such as the NCTM mathematics standards, all of which emphasize critical thinking over memorization of facts. Educational progressivists believe that education must be based on the fact that humans are social animals who learn best in real-life activities with other people. ... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ... This article is in need of attention. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into inquiry-based learning. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Standards-based education reform. ... Education reform in the United States since the late 1980s has been largely driven by the setting of academic standards for what students should learn and be able to do. ... The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) was founded in 1920. ...

John Dewey's USA Stamp
John Dewey's USA Stamp

The central concept of John Dewey's view of education was that greater emphasis should be placed on the broadening of intellect and development of problem solving and critical thinking skills, rather than simply on the memorization of lessons. This is because Dewey saw the public school's relation to society was much like a repair organ to the organism of society.Dewey, J (1897) “My Pedagogic Creed’ in The School Journal, Vol 14, No 3, pp 77-80. [citation needed] Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ...

One of Dewey's main theories was the incorporation of the student's past experiences into the classroom (Experience and Education 1938). This was a job of both the educator and the caretaker. The quality of experiences is key in the development of Dewey's progressivism. Without beneficial experiences growing off prior ones, education would not be able to use these experiences to reflect on the past, work through the present and prepare for the future (Experience and Education 1938).

While Dewey's educational theories have enjoyed a broad popularity [citation needed] during his lifetime and after, they have a troubled history of implementation due to the fact that there were no teachers qualified to incorporate these ideas. (Experience and Education 1938). Dewey's writings can be difficult to read, and his tendency to reuse commonplace words and phrases to express extremely complex reinterpretations of them makes him susceptible to misunderstanding. So while he held the role of a leading public intellectual, he was often misinterpreted, even by fellow academics. Many enthusiastically embraced what they mistook for Dewey's philosophy, but which in fact bore little or a perverted resemblance to it. An intellectual is a person who uses their intellect to study, reflect, and speculate on a variety of different ideas. ...

Dewey tried, on occasion, to correct such misguided enthusiasm, but with little success[citation needed]. Simultaneously, other progressive educational theories, often influenced by Dewey but not directly derived from him, were also becoming popular, such as Educational perennialism which is teacher-centered as opposed to student-centered. The term 'progressive education' grew to encompass numerous contradictory theories and practices, as documented by historians like Herbert Kliebard. Perennialists believe that one should teach the things that they deem to be of everlasting importance to all people everywhere. ... For university teachers, see professor. ...

It is often claimed that progressive education "failed", though whether this view is justified depends on one's definitions of "progressive" and "failure". Several versions of progressive education succeeded in transforming the educational landscape: the utter ubiquity of guidance counseling, to name but one example, springs from the progressive period. Radical variations of educational progressivism were troubled and short-lived, a fact that supports some understandings of the notion of failure. But they were perhaps too rare and ill-funded to constitute a thorough test.

Many of Dewey's ideas directly impacted the founding of Bennington College in Vermont, where Dewey served on the Board of Trustees. One of the Bennington houses bears Dewey's name. Dewey, J (1897) Bennington College is a liberal arts college located in Bennington, Vermont. ...

Dewey also profoundly effected Ken and Susan Webb in founding Farm and Wilderness Camps in Plymouth, Vermont. [3] The Farm and Wilderness Camps are a system of six Quaker camps and associated educational programs situated in and around Plymouth, Vermont. ...

Dewey and pragmatism

Dewey is one of the three central figures in American pragmatism, along with Charles Sanders Peirce, who coined the term, and William James, who popularized it—though Dewey did not identify himself as a pragmatist per se, and instead referred to his philosophy as "instrumentalism". Dewey worked from strongly Hegelian and Neo-Hegelian influences, unlike James, whose lineage was primarily British, drawing particularly on empiricist and utilitarian thought. Dewey was also not nearly so pluralist or relativist as James. He held that value was a function not of whim nor purely of social construction, but a quality situated in events ("nature itself is wistful and pathetic, turbulent and passionate" (Experience and Nature)). Charles Sanders Peirce Charles Sanders Peirce (September 10, 1839 – April 19, 1914) was an American logician, philosopher, scientist, and mathematician. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... In the philosophy of science, instrumentalism is the view that concepts and theories are merely useful instruments whose worth is measured not by whether the concepts and theories are true or false (or correctly depict reality), but by how effective they are in explaining and predicting phenomena. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ... In philosophy generally, empiricism is a theory of knowledge emphasizing the role of experience, especially sensory perception, in the formation of ideas, while discounting the notion of innate ideas. ... This article discusses utilitarian ethical theory. ... Value-pluralism is the idea that two or more moral values may be equally ultimate (true), yet in conflict. ... For the physics theory with a similar name, see Theory of Relativity. ... “Value” redirects here. ...

He also held, unlike James, that experimentation (social, cultural, technological, philosophical) could be used as a relatively hard-and-fast arbiter of truth. For example, James felt that for many people who lacked "over-belief" in religious concepts, human life was shallow and rather uninteresting, and that while no one religious belief could be demonstrated as the correct one, we are all responsible for taking the leap of faith and making a gamble on one or another theism, atheism, monism, etc. Dewey, in contrast, while honoring the important role that religious institutions and practices played in human life, rejected belief in any static ideal, such as a theistic God. Dewey felt that only science could reliably further human good, specifically denying that religion or metaphysics could form a valid foundation for morality and social values [4]. In the scientific method, an experiment (Latin: ex- periri, of (or from) trying) is a set of observations performed in the context of solving a particular problem or question, to support or falsify a hypothesis or research concerning phenomena. ... Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy, François Lemoyne, 1737 For other uses, see Truth (disambiguation). ... Overbelief is philosophical term for a belief adopted that requires more evidence than one presently has. ... Various Religious symbols, including (first row) Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahai, (second row) Islamic, tribal, Taoist, Shinto (third row) Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Jain, (fourth row) Ayyavazhi, Triple Goddess, Maltese cross, pre-Christian Slavonic Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual... Theism is the belief in the existence of one or more divinities or deities. ... “Atheist” redirects here. ... For other uses, see Monist (disambiguation). ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ...

Of the idea of God, Dewey said, "it denotes the unity of all ideal ends arousing us to desire and actions."[5]

As with the reemergence of progressive philosophy of education, Dewey's contributions to philosophy as such (he was, after all, much more a professional philosopher than a thinker on education) have also reemerged with the reassessment of pragmatism, beginning in the late 1970s, by thinkers like Richard Rorty, Richard J. Bernstein and Hans Jonas. Richard McKay Rorty (October 4, 1931 in New York City – June 8, 2007) was an American philosopher. ... German-born philosopher Hans Jonas (May 10, 1903 - February 5, 1993) studied under Martin Heidegger and Rudolf Bultmann in the 1920s. ...

Because of his process-oriented and sociologically conscious view of the world and knowledge, he is sometimes seen as a useful alternative to both modern and postmodern ways of thinking. Dewey's non-foundational approach pre-dates postmodernism by more than half a century. Recent exponents (like Rorty) have not always remained faithful to Dewey's original vision, though this itself is completely in keeping both with Dewey's own usage of other thinkers and with his own philosophy— for Dewey, past doctrines always require reconstruction in order to remain useful for the present time. This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... For Christian theological modernism, see Liberal Christianity and Modernism (Roman Catholicism). ... Postmodernity (also called post-modernity or the postmodern condition) is a term used by philosophers, social scientists, art critics and social critics to refer to aspects of contemporary art, culture, economics and social conditions that are the result of the unique features of late 20th century and early 21st century...

Dewey's philosophy has gone by many names other than "pragmatism". He has been called an instrumentalist, and experimentalist, an empiricist, a functionalist, and a naturalist. The term "transactional" may better describe his views, a term emphasized by Dewey in his later years to describe his theories of knowledge and experience. A blanket term for all sorts of scientists engaged more in experimental activity than on the theoretical side of the various sciences. ... Empiricism is generally regarded as being at the heart of the modern scientific method, that our theories should be based on our observations of the world rather than on intuition or faith; that is, empirical research and a posteriori inductive reasoning rather than purely deductive logic. ... The article is about functionalism in sociology; for other uses, see functionalism. ... This article is about methodological naturalism. ...

The terminology problem in the fields of epistemology and logic is partially due, according to Dewey and Bentley,[6] to inefficient and imprecise use of words and concepts that reflect three historic levels of organization and presentation.[7] In the order of chronological appearance, these are :

  • Self-Action: Prescientific concepts regarded humans, animals, and things as possessing powers of their own which initiated or caused their actions.
  • Interaction: as described by Newton, where things, living and inorganic, are balanced against thing in a system of interaction, for example, the third law of motion that action and reaction are equal and opposite.
  • Transaction: where modern systems of descriptions and naming are employed to deal with multiple aspects and phases of action without any attribution to ultimate, final, or independent entities, essences, or realities.

A series of characterizations of Transactions indicate the wide range of considerations involved.[8]

  • Transaction is inquiry in which existing descriptions of events are accepted only as tentative and preliminary. New descriptions of the aspects and phases of events based on inquiry may be made at any time.
  • Transaction is inquiry characterized by primary observation that may range across all subject matters that present themselves, and may proceed with freedom to re-determine and re-name the objects comprised in the system.
  • Transaction is Fact such that no one of the constituents can be adequately specified as apart from the specification of all the other constituents of the full subject matter.
  • Transaction develops and widens the phases of knowledge, and broadens the system within the limits of observation and report.
  • Transaction regards the extension in time to be comparable to the extension in space, so that “thing” is in action, and “action” is observable in things.
  • Transaction assumes no pre-knowledge of either organism or environment alone as adequate, but requires their primary acceptance in a common system.
  • Transaction is the procedure which observes men talking and writing, using language and other representational activities to present their perceptions and manipulations. This permits a full treatment, descriptive and functional, of the whole process inclusive of all its contents, and with the newer techniques of inquiry required.
  • Transactional Observation insists on the right to freely proceed to investigate any subject matter in whatever way seems appropriate, under reasonable hypothesis.

Illustration of differences between self-action, interaction, and transaction, as well as the different facets of transactional inquiry are provided by statements of positions that Dewey and Bentley definitely did not hold and which never should be read into their work.[9]

  1. They do not use any basic differentiation of subject vs. object; of soul vs. body; of mind vs. matter; or self vs. nonself.
  2. They do not support the introduction of any ultimate knower from a different or superior realm to account for what is known.
  3. Similarly, they do not tolerate "entities" or "realities" of any kind intruding as if from behind or beyond the knowing-known events, with power to interfere.
  4. They exclude the introduction of "faculties" or other "operators" of an organism’s behaviors, and require for all investigations the direct observation and contemporaneous report of findings and results.
  5. Especially, they recognize no names that are offered as expressions of “inner” thoughts, nor of names that reflect compulsions by outer objects.
  6. They reject imaginary words and terms said to lie between the organism and its environmental objects, and require the direct location and source for all observations relevant to the investigation.
  7. They tolerate no meanings offered as "ultimate" truth or "absolute" knowledge.
  8. Since they are concerned with what is inquired into, and the process of knowings, they have no interest in any underpinning. Any statement that is or can be made about a knower, self, mind, or subject, or about a known thing, an object, or a cosmos must be made on the basis of, and in the language applicable to the specific investigation.

In summary, all of human knowledge consists of actions and products of acts in which men and women participate with other human beings, with animals and plants, as well as objects of all types, in any environment. Men and women have, are, and will present their acts of knowing and known in language. Generic man, and specific men and women are known to be vulnerable to error. Consequently, all knowledge (knowing and known) whether commonsensical or scientific; past, present, or future; is subject to further inquiry, examination, review, and revision.

Dewey and logic

Dewey sees paradox in contemporary logical theory. Proximate subject matter garners general agreement and advance, while the ultimate subject matter of logic generates unremitting controversy. In other words, he challenges confident logicians to answer the question of the truth of logical operators. Do they function merely as abstractions (e.g., pure mathematics) or do they connect in some essential way with their objects, and therefore alter or bring them to light? (The Problem of Logical Subject Matter, in Logic: The Theory of Inquiry {1938}.)

Logical positivism also figured in Dewey's thought. About the movement he wrote that it "eschews the use of 'propositions' and 'terms', substituting 'sentences' and 'words'." (General Theory of Propositions, in Logic: The Theory of Inquiry.) He welcomes this changing of referents “in as far as it fixes attention upon the symbolic structure and content of propositions.” However, he registers a small complaint against the use of “sentences” and “words” in that without careful interpretation the act or process of transposition “narrows unduly the scope of symbols and language, since it is not customary to treat gestures and diagrams (maps, blueprints, etc.) as words or sentences.” In other words, sentences and words, considered in isolation, do not disclose intent, which may be inferred or “adjudged only by means of context.” (Ibid.) Logical positivism grew from the discussions of Moritz Schlicks Vienna Circle and Hans Reichenbachs Berlin Circle in the 1920s and 1930s. ...

Yet Dewey was not entirely opposed to modern logical trends. Concerning traditional logic, he states: “Aristotelian logic, which still passes current nominally, is a logic based upon the idea that qualitative objects are existential in the fullest sense. To retain logical principles based on this conception along with the acceptance of theories of existence and knowledge based on an opposite conception is not, to say the least, conductive to clearness – a consideration that has a good deal to do with existing dualism between traditional and the newer relational logics.” (Qualitative Thought {1930}.)

Dewey and journalism

Since the mid-1890s, Deweyan ideas have experienced revival as they are a major source of inspiration for the public journalism movement. His definition of "public," as described in The Public and Its Problems, has profound implications for the significance of journalism in society. As suggested by the title of the book, Dewey's concern was of the transactional relationship between publics and problems. Also implicit in its name, public journalism seeks to orient communication away from elite, corporate hegemony toward a civic public sphere. "The 'public' of public journalists is Dewey's public."[10]
It has been argued that Dewey's public is strongly identical with that of the Internet, and that Dewey's interactive notion of the community foreshadowed the rise of the global telecommunications society. [11]

Dewey gives a concrete definition to the formation of a public. Publics are spontaneous groups of citizens who share the indirect effects of a particular action. Anyone affected by the indirect consequences of a specific action will automatically share a common interest in controlling those consequences, i.e., solving a common problem.[12]
Since every action generates unintended consequences, publics continuously emerge, overlap, and disintegrate.

But in the era of mass media, Dewey exposes two conundra:

  1. The modern dispersal of information is so rapid and universal as to grossly amplify the extent of the indirect consequences. Modern publics increasingly form in response to mass-mediated information about very distant, impersonal actions, as opposed to familiar community-based issues. How can such vast, loosely-bonded publics agree to make a coherent response to the very problems that define them?
  2. For Dewey, public knowledge, a prerequisite for democracy, can only come from direct participation in action. But the mass-mediated public is too large and scattered to coordinate a mass-response. Since such a public is unable to interact and identify problems as local phenomena, they instead react as a mass to second-hand news. Can a mass-mediated public engage in social progress?

These are the central themes of public journalism. It is no coincidence that public journalism's resistance to the mass-mediation of information borrows heavily from The Public and Its Problems, as that was likewise written in response to the views of Walter Lippmann (see below). Indeed, Walter Lippmann played a central role in both the corporatization of journalism and the mass-mediation of the government as a very prominent journalist and as an advisor to the President of the United States. Dewey saw his views as incompatible with democratic ideals.

In The Public and Its Problems, John Dewey presents a rebuttal to Walter Lippmann’s treatise on the role of journalism in democracy. Lippmann’s model was a basic transmission model in which journalists took information given them by experts and elites, repackaged that information in simple terms, and transmitted the information to the public, whose role was to react emotionally to the news. In his model, Lippmann supposed that the public was incapable of thought or action, and that all thought and action should be left to the experts and elites.

Dewey refutes this model by assuming that politics is the work and duty of each individual in the course of his daily routine. The knowledge needed to be involved in politics, in this model, was to be generated by the interaction of citizens, elites, experts, through the mediation and facilitation of journalism. In this model, not just the government is held accountable, but the citizens, experts, other actors as well.

Dewey also revisioned journalism to fit this model by taking the focus from actions or happenings and changing the structure to focus on choices, consequences, and conditions, in order to foster conversation and improve the generation of knowledge in the community. Journalism would not just produce a static product that told of what had already happened, but the news would be in a constant state of evolution as the community added value by generating knowledge. The audience would disappear, to be replaced by citizens and collaborators who would essentially be users, doing more with the news than simply reading it.

Dewey’s journalism was revolutionary because it changed the structure from choosing a winner of a given situation to posing alternatives and exploring consequences. His effort to change journalism, involve citizens, stimulation, was all under the auspices of creating the Great Community he wrote of in The Public and Its Problems: “Till the Great Society is converted in to a Great Community, the Public will remain in eclipse. Communication can alone create a great community” (Dewey, pg. 144).

Dewey believed that communication creates a great community, and citizens who actively participate in public life contribute to that community. "The clear consciousness of a communal life, in all its implications, constitutes the idea of democracy (The Public and its Problems, p. 149)." This Great Community can only occur with "free and full intercommunication (p. 211)." Communication can be understood as journalism - the traditional forum in which people communicate.

Through participating in public life, people find each other and create the Public. When the public interacts with officials and government, then an effective State is formed. Dewey believed people should experiment with their actions. Therefore, since action, knowledge and inquiry were always changing, the State must always be redefined. In this way, the public and officials constantly work to create and define the state.

The Center for Dewey Studies is the focal point for the study of Dewey's life and work, and is located at the campus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC but usually just referred to as SIU) is located in Carbondale, Illinois. ...

Major works

  • "The New Psychology." Andover Review, 2, 278-289 (1884) [2]
  • "The Ego as Cause" Philosophical Review, 3,337-341. (1894) [3]
  • "The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology" (1896)
  • My Pedagogic Creed (1897)
  • The Child and the Curriculum (1902) [4]
  • "The Postulate of Immediate Empiricism" (1905)
  • "Democracy and Education" (1916)
  • How We Think (1910)[5]
  • Reconstruction in Philosophy (1919)[6]
  • Human Nature and Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology
  • Experience and Nature (1925)[7]
  • The Public and its Problems (1927)
  • The Quest for Certainty (1929)
  • Individualism Old and New (1930)[8]
  • Philosophy and Civilization (1931)
  • Ethics, second edition (with James Hayden Tufts) (1932)
  • Art as Experience (1934)[9]
  • A Common Faith (1934)
  • Liberalism and Social Action (1935)
  • Experience and Education (1938)
  • Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938)
  • Freedom and Culture (1939)
  • Knowing and the Known (1949) (with Arthur Bentley) [10]

2 major anthologies of Dewey's works are available: The Public and Its Problems is a book by John Dewey, an American philosopher, written in 1927. ... Freedom and Culture is a book by John Dewey. ...

The Essential Dewey: Volumes 1 and 2. Edited by Larry Hickman and Thomas Alexander. (1998). Indiana University Press.

The Philosophy of John Dewey. Edited by John J. McDermott. (1981). University of Chicago Press.

Dewey's Complete Writings is available in 3 multi-volume sets (37 volumes in all) from Southern Illinois University Press:

The Early Works: 1892-1898 (5 volumes)

The Middle Works: 1899-1924 (15 volumes)

The Later Works: 1925-1953 (17 volumes)

The Correspondence of John Dewey is available on CD-ROM in 3 volumes.

Works about Dewey

  • Alexander, Thomas. John Dewey's Theory of Art, Experience, and Nature (1987)[11]. SUNY Press.
  • Boisvert, Raymond. John Dewey: Rethinking Our Time. (1997)[12]. SUNY Press.
  • Campbell, James. Understanding John Dewey: Nature and Cooperative Intelligence. (1995) Open Court Publishing Company.
  • Caspary, William R. Dewey on Democracy. (2000). Cornell University Press.
  • Hickman, Larry A. John Dewey's Pragmatic Technology. (1992) Indiana University Press.
  • Martin, Jay. The Education of John Dewey. (2003)[13]. Columbia University Press.
  • Pring, Richard (2007). John Dewey: Continuum Library of Educational Thought. Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-8403-4. 
  • Rockefeller, Stephen. John Dewey: Religious Faith and Democratic Humanism. (1994)[14]. Columbia University Press
  • Roth, Robert J. John Dewey and Self-Realization. (1962). Prentice Hall.
  • Ryan, Alan. John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism. (1995)[15]. W.W. Norton.
  • Seigfried, Charlene Haddock, (ed.). Feminist Interpretations of John Dewey (2001)[16]. Penn State University Press.
  • Shook, John. Dewey's Empirical Theory of Knowledge and Reality. (2000)[17][. The Vanderbilt Library of American Philosophy
  • Sleeper, R.W. The Necessity of Pragmatism: John Dewey's Conception of Philosophy. Introduction by Tom Burke. (2001) [18].University of Illinois Press.
  • Westbrook, Robert B. John Dewey and American Democracy. (1991)[19]. Cornell University Press.
  • White, Morton. The Origin of Dewey's Instrumentalism. (1943). Columbia University Press.

Schools that teach based on the Dewey model of Progressive Education

  • Windrush School - A progressive Kindergarten to Eighth Grade School in El Cerrito, California
  • Wingra School - A progressive school for 5 to 14 year olds in Madison, Wisconsin
  • Oakwood School - A progrssive junior high to high school in North Hollywood, California
  • Sequoyah School - A child-centered/progressive school for 5 to 14 year olds in Pasadena, California
  • The Little School - A Progressive school for ages 3-12 in Bellevue, Washington, founded in 1959
  • Goddard College - A progressive college founded on the ideals and work of John Dewey.


  1. ^ New York Times edition of January 19, 1953, page 27
  2. ^ a b Theodora Polito, Educational Theory as Theory of Culture: A Vichian perspective on the educational theories of John Dewey and Kieran Egan Educational Philosophy and Theory, Vol. 37, No. 4, 2005
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Dewey felt that science alone contributed to 'human good,' which he defined exclusively in naturalistic terms. He rejected religion and metaphysics as valid supports for moral and social values, and felt that success of the scientific method presupposed the destruction of old knowledge before the new could be created. ... (Dewey, 1929, pp. 95, 145) "William Adrian (2005), [http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15363750590925929 TRUTH, FREEDOM AND (DIS)ORDER IN THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY], Christian Higher Education', 4:2, 145-154
  5. ^ A Common Faith, p. 42 (LW 9:29).
  6. ^ John Dewey, Arthur Bentley, (1949). Knowing and the Known. Beacon Press, Boston.
  7. ^ ibid. p107-109
  8. ^ ibid. p121-139
  9. ^ ibid. p119-121
  10. ^ Heikkilä, H. and Kunelius, R. 2002. Public Journalism and Its Problems: A Theoretical Perspective, http://www.imdp.org/artman/publish/article_30.shtml
  11. ^ Slabbert, N.J., Nov-Dec., 2006. John Dewey: Philosopher of Community. Urban Land, journal of the Urban Land Institute, Washington DC.
  12. ^ Dewey, J. 1927. The Public and Its Problems. Henry Holt & Co., New York. pp 126.

The New York Times is an internationally known daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed in the United States and many other nations worldwide. ... Arthur Fisher Bentley (October 16, 1870 - May 21, 1957) was an American political scientist and philosopher who worked in the fields of epistemology, logic and linguistics and who contributed to the development of a behavioral methodology of political science. ... Boston redirects here. ...

See also

The Dewey Commission was initiated in March 1937 by the American Committee for the Defense of Leon Trotsky. It was named after its Chairman, John Dewey. ... Laboratory School (TSU-LS or LS) the High School department of Tarlac State University , Tarlac City. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into inquiry-based learning. ... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ...

External links

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  Results from FactBites:
John Dewey [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy] (5925 words)
John Dewey was born on October 20, 1859, the third of four sons born to Archibald Sprague Dewey and Lucina Artemesia Rich of Burlington, Vermont.
Dewey later began to suspect that the issues surrounding the conditions of truth, as well as knowledge, were hopelessly obscured by the accretion of traditional, and in his view misguided, meanings to the terms, resulting in confusing ambiguity.
Dewey begins with the observation that the world as we experience it both individually and collectively is an admixture of the precarious, the transitory and contingent aspect of things, and the stable, the patterned regularity of natural processes that allows for prediction and human intervention.
John Dewey - MSN Encarta (474 words)
Born in Burlington, Vermont, Dewey received a B.A. degree from the University of Vermont in 1879 and a Ph.D. degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1884.
Dewey’s theories have often been misinterpreted by the advocates of so-called progressive education; although Dewey opposed authoritarian methods, he did not advocate lack of guidance and control.
Dewey followed the American philosopher and psychologist William James as a leader of the pragmatic movement in philosophy; Dewey’s own philosophy, called either instrumentalism or experimentalism, stems from the pragmatism of James.
  More results at FactBites »



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