The Essential Dewey - Vol. 2

The Essential Dewey - Vol. 2

The Essential Dewey - Vol. 2

The Essential Dewey - Vol. 2

Synopsis

In addition to being one of the greatest technical philosophers of the 20th century, John Dewey was an educational innovator, a Progressive Era reformer, and one of America's last great public intellectuals. Dewey's insights into the problems of public education, immigration, the prospects for democratic government, and the relation of religious faith to science are as fresh today as when they were first published. His penetrating treatments of the nature and function of philosophy, the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of life, and the role of inquiry in human experience are of increasing relevance at the turn of the 21st century. Based on the award-winning 37-volume critical edition of Dewey's work, The Essential Dewey presents in two thematically arranged volumes a collection of Dewey's essays that represents his thinking on every major issue to which he turned his attention. Taken as a whole, this collection provides unique access to Dewey's understanding of the problems and prospects of human existence and of the philosophical enterprise.

Excerpt

In addition to being one of the greatest technical philosophers of the twentieth century; John Dewey (1859–1952), vas also an educational innovator, a Progressive Era reformer, and one of his country’s last great public intellectuals. in Henry Commager’s trenchant appraisal, he was “the guide, the mentor, and the conscience of the American people: it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that for a generation no major issue was clarified until Dewey had spoken.” the New York Times once hailed Dewey as no less than “America’s Philosopher.”

Many of the issues that engaged Dewey’s attention, and about which he wrote with unflagging energy and intelligence, are still with us. Dewey’s insights into the problems of public education, immigration, the prospects for democratic government, and the relation of faith to science are as fresh today as when they were first published. His penetrating treatments of the nature and function of philosophy, the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of life, and the role of inquiry in human experience are of increasing relevance to thoughtful people everywhere.

Dewey’s massive Collected Works-thirtyseven volumes in all-thus stands ready to help guide our journey into the twenty-first century. But how are we to assess so large a body of work? How are we to find our way about within its complex structure?

The two volumes of The Essential Dewey present for the first time a collection of Dewey’s essays and book chapters that is both manageable and comprehensive. the materials selected for these volumes exhibit Dewey’s intellectual development over time, but they also represent his mature thinking on every major issue to which he turned his attention. Some of the essays, familiar to several generations of readers, have been in print for almost a century. Others have only recently been published and so have not yet received the attention they deserve. Some were published in journals of opinion. Others were published in books addressed primarily to other technical philosophers. Taken as a whole, The Essential Dewey presents Dewey’s unique understanding of the problems and prospects of human existence, and therefore of the philosophical enterprise.

Part I: habit, conduct,
and language

The essays in this section locate Dewey’s psychology squarely within his philosophy of communication. “The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology” (1896) is one of Dewey’s most famous essays. It signaled the end of introspectionist psychology and the beginning of a new functional, organic, social behaviorism. in 1942, a committee of seventy eminent psychologists polled by the editors of The Psychological Review voted this essay the most important contribution to the journal during its first 49 years of publication. “Interpretation of Savage Mind” (1902) relates the values exhibited by a culture to its modes of production, including its meth-

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