Dewey: A Beginner's Guide (Beginners Guide (Oneworld)) by David Hildebrand

By David Hildebrand

John Dewey was once an icon of philosophy and psychology through the first 1/2 the twentieth century. often called the daddy of useful Psychology and a pivotal determine of the Pragmatist circulation, he additionally performed a robust hand within the innovative flow in schooling. This concise and significant examine Dewey's paintings examines his discourse of correct and flawed, in addition to political notions corresponding to freedom, rights, liberty, equality, and naturalism.

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Qxp 4/21/2008 2:43 PM Page 46 46 Dewey: A Beginner’s Guide usually not expressed; it is taken for granted as something so fundamental that it does not need to be stated. (LW1:26–7) This assumption about knowledge is grounded on a very peculiar metaphysical picture: a two-tiered reality. One tier is familiar to everyone: the mundane and bodily world of change: growth and decay, sensation and movement, etc. The opposing tier is also familiar: the ‘divine’ and ideational world of permanence; this is the realm of fixity and eternity, pure intellect and spirit – the realm of God.

Dewey’s efforts at resituating epistemology within a natural framework were often met by the non-comprehension or incredulity of peers, whose tradition-bound approaches required that knowledge be related to something fixed and non-natural. 3 One important source of resistance, according to Dewey, was an entrenched view of ‘reality’ and its corresponding view of knowledge. Definitions of ‘knowledge’ vary greatly, of course, but running through most of them was the central tenet that ‘knowledge’ is the result of a reflective activity which gives corporeal residents (of a changing world) access to a realm of ideas (which never changes).

First, Dewey points at consciousness by contrasting it to minds-with-language. I summarize these contrasts in Figure 1 (derived from LW1:230). I hope that Figure 1 evokes the reader’s own associations with consciousness: that flash of emotion or idea that sparkles with vivid immediacy; a surprisingly lucid transition between moments. Dewey intended the contrasts to highlight how consciousness’s bright moments are made possible because of their context; due, that is, to the persistent and pervasive system of meaning that is mind.

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