CHAPTER THREE
CREATIVE INTELLIGENCE

JOHN DEWEY IS A FRIEND OF PLANNING AND OF HUMAN PURpose. No one could have stronger sympathies with our efforts to control nature and to make the world a better place. In his works he analyzes the process of purposive action with penetrating insight and a faithful regard for the facts. Yet this very effort to give full credit to the powers of intelligence leaves one feeling that his fundamental irrationalism is almost insuperable. He shows how, in a senseless world, there is often sense and progress. But for Dewey, as for his master, James, that world remains in the end senseless and blind.

The Skeptic's Argument What Dewey asserts1 can be approached by contrasting it with what he denies. Like any sensible man he denies the arguments of the philosophical skeptic. It may not seem very important to find that he makes this denial. The views of the skeptic are so offensive to common sense that it seems no one but a pedant could concern himself with them.

Yet the arguments of the skeptic are important. They are important because of the counterarguments to which one must resort in order to refute them and establish common sense. For in order to rationalize and defend what is common and accepted, one must resort to asserting and showing many things which are not always themselves common and accepted. Dewey does this, it seems to me, as convincingly as it can be done.

The skeptic's argument in one of the more extreme versions runs like this: The world is senseless because, in short, a man can never know anything beyond the present moment.

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