8
John Dewey's Philosophy of Education

With the possible exception of some elements of the chapter on "Vocational Aspects of Education," John Dewey Democracy and Education continues to be a classic in the philosophy of education and in the related fields of social, political, and moral philosophy. Though it was written some seventy-odd years ago, there is a refreshing sense of contemporaneity about the book. The ideas discussed and the position taken still have a remarkable impact on, and relevance to, the major problems faced by modern man when he reflectively examines what we should educate for and why. It illuminates directly or indirectly all the basic issues that are central today to the concerns of intelligent educators or laymen interested in education. At the same time it throws light on several obscure corners in Dewey's general philosophy in a vigorous, simple prose style often absent in his more technical writings. 1 And it is the only work in any field originally published as a textbook that has not merely acquired the status of a classic, but has become the one book that no student concerned with the philosophy of education today should leave unread.


DEFINITIONS

What each reader regards as the continuing significance of Democracy and Education to some extent reflects his own interests. In referring to Dewey's conception of democracy in education, however, we raise questions that take us into the thick of some of the most embattled sectors of contemporary education. Conflict rages among various groups who all flaunt their allegiance to democratic principles. This suggests that different conceptions of democracy

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"Introduction" from John Dewey: The Middle Works, 1899-1924, Vol. 9: 1916, Democracy and Education, edited by Jo Ann Boydston. Copyright © 1980 by Southern Illinois University Press. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

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