Eros and Spirit: Toward a Humanistic Philosophy of Culture

The Pluralist 5 (2):18-44 (2010)
"Philosophy and Civilization" is one of Dewey's most important—and most neglected—essays. It is unsettling to anyone who wants to think of Dewey primarily as a "pragmatist." Dewey says the aim of philosophy should be to deal with the meaning of culture and not "inquiry" or "truth": "Meaning is wider in scope as well as more precious in value than is truth and philosophy is occupied with meaning rather than with truth" (LW 3:4).1 Truths are one kind of meaning, but they are only an "island" lying in "the ocean of meanings to which truth and falsity are irrelevant. We do not inquire whether Greek civilization was true or false, but we are immensely concerned to penetrate its meaning," he adds, and continues, "In ..
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DOI 10.1353/plu.2010.0006
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John Dewey (1931). Context and Thought. University of California Publications in Philosophy 12 (3):203ff.
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