Experience and Value: Essays on John Dewey and Pragmatic Naturalism

Experience and Value: Essays on John Dewey and Pragmatic Naturalism

Experience and Value: Essays on John Dewey and Pragmatic Naturalism

Experience and Value: Essays on John Dewey and Pragmatic Naturalism

Synopsis

S. Morris Eames was a longtime professor of philosophy at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Excerpt

The problem of restoring integration and co-operation between man's beliefs about the world in which he lives and his beliefs about values and purposes that should direct his conduct is the deepest problem of modern life. It is the problem of any philosophy that is not isolated from that life.

—John Dewey, The Quest for Certainty

This volume brings together a number of papers written by S. Morris Eames over his professional career. Although each of these essays was meant to stand on its own and was intended for specific occasions and audiences, there is a unity among them. Each addresses one or another of the aspects of value theory, and each is suffused with the influence of John Dewey. Morris's interpretation and critique of Dewey's value theory began with his dissertation, “John Dewey's Theory of Valuation” (1958), at the University of Chicago. His work includes “Dewey's Theory of Valuation” in Guide to the Works of John Dewey (1970). in his book Pragmatic Naturalism: An Introduction (1977) he addressed some of the same themes in relation to the movement of pragmatism represented in the works of William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, and George Herbert Mead, as well as in the works of John Dewey.

When I say that the present volume is “suffused” with the influence of John Dewey, I am referring to Morris as himself a Deweyan, one who criticized, adapted, and stretched Dewey's ideas to fit what he saw as the contemporary needs of philosophy, of the social and political world, and of the requirements of his own philosophical reason. While most of the essays are tied directly to Dewey's writings, some do not refer directly to Dewey. This is especially true of the essays in the last two parts of the book, such as “General Education and the Two Cultures, ” “Scientific Grounds for Valuational Norms, ” “The Lost Individual and Religious Unity, ” “Religion as the Quality of Excellence, ” and the draft of the book on democracy, “Creativity and Democracy.” While these pieces are Morris's own reflections, they are the reflections of a mind bearing the imprint of Dewey's philosophy.

As an undergraduate, Morris went to Culver-Stockton College with an interest in religion and was strongly influenced by Henry Barton . . .

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