Understanding John Dewey: Nature and Cooperative Intelligence

Understanding John Dewey: Nature and Cooperative Intelligence

Understanding John Dewey: Nature and Cooperative Intelligence

Understanding John Dewey: Nature and Cooperative Intelligence

Synopsis

"Dewey is the most influential of American social thinkers, and his stock is now rising once more among professional philosophers. Yet there has heretofore been no adequate, readable survey of the full range of Dewey's thought. After an introduction situating Dewey in the context of American social and intellectual history, Professor Campbell devotes Part I to Dewey's general philosophical perspective as it considers humans and their natural home. Three aspects of human nature are most prominent in Dewey's thinking: humans as evolutionary emergents, as essentially social beings, and as problem solvers. Part II examines Dewey's social vision, taking his ethical views as the starting point. Underlying all of Dewey's efforts at social reconstruction are certain assumptions about cooperative enquiry as a social method, assumptions which Campbell explains and clarifies before evaluating various criticisms of Dewey's ideas. The final chapter discusses Dewey's views on religion." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The thought of John Dewey has been a factor of greater or lesser importance in American intellectual life for over a century. At the present time, his influence is once again growing. There are many reasons for this recovery of stature, not the least of which is the recently completed publication of the critical edition of his work under the direction of Jo Ann Boydston at the Center for Dewey Studies at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. With the availability of a complete edition of Dewey's writings it is now possible to step back and see his philosophy whole. Also contributing to this rebirth of interest in Dewey is the recent stream of informed and insightful studies of aspects of his life and work by such scholars as: Thomas Alexander, Raymond Boisvert, Larry Hickman, Steven Rockefeller, Ralph Sleeper, James Tiles, and Robert Westbrook. A third, and perhaps the most important, factor in the contemporary reconsideration of Dewey is the growing dissatisfaction with much contemporary philosophizing, with thinking that neither grows out of the problems and issues of our broader society nor is able to offer any assistance to that society as it attempts to address its difficulties. Creating a philosophy that was connected to society in both of these ways was a major concern for Dewey.

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