Progress and Pragmatism: James, Dewey, Beard, and the American Idea of Progress

By David W. Marcell | Go to book overview

5
John Dewey: The Experimentalist Criterion

"By the death of William James at the age of sixty- eight," John Dewey wrote in an obituary in The Independent, "America loses its most distinguished figure in the field of psychology and philosophy." 1 Dewey could well have added that James's stature was enhanced by his enormous influence on a generation of American thinkers--and on no more fruitfully than Dewey himself. Ever since 1891, when he first encountered James Principles of Psychology, Dewey had increasingly been affected by the pragmatic interpretation of experience and by the possibilities for a systematic restructuring of philosophy that the Principles seemed to require. Though Dewey saw pragmatism in a very different light than James did, his debt to the Harvard professor was immense. In a letter to James dated March 1903, Dewey termed the Principles the "spiritual progenitor of the whole industry" of pragmatism, and when Dewey edited Studies in Logical Theory appeared in the same year, it bore the following

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Progress and Pragmatism: James, Dewey, Beard, and the American Idea of Progress
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - Formalism, Degradation, and Pragmatism 3
  • 2 - The Heritage of Progress 52
  • 3 - The Evolutionary Dialogue 93
  • 4 - William James: Experience and Meliorism 146
  • 5 - John Dewey: The Experimentalist Criterion 196
  • 6 - Charles Beard: Civilization in America 258
  • 7 - Progress, Experience, and History 322
  • Notes 335
  • Selected Bibliography 373
  • Index 395
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