Pragmatism in the Americas

By Gregory Fernando Pappas | Go to book overview

FOUR
JOHN DEWEY AND THE LEGACY OF MAXICAN
PRAGMATISM IN THE UNITED STATES

Ruben Flores

The lament by academic practitioners of Latin America’s philosophical traditions that John Dewey has been left out of the discussions of philosophy in the Spanish-speaking world may leave philosophers surprised to learn that their colleagues across the quad, the historians, have assigned Dewey an important role in the development of postrevolutionary Mexican social theory since at least the 1950s. One participant in this trend was historian Ramón E. Ruíz, who argued in 1961 that Dewey’s Mexican students Moisés Sáenz and Rafael Ramírez had adopted Deweyan ethics as part of a grand experiment to construct a rural school system capable of solving “the everyday problems of rural Mexicans.”1 Economic and political constraints prevented Deweyan experimentalism from becoming a sustained component of postrevolutionary transformation, but Sáenz and Ramírez were nonetheless committed, Ruíz argued, to the creation of a social democracy that would allow individuals to live lives of democratic independence.2 Ruíz could not have been familiar with Robert

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