Dewey and the Subject-Matter of Science
Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||In 1939 John Dewey was the first person to be the subject of a "Library of Living Philosophers" volume (Schilpp and Hahn, 1939). The result includes meetings between Dewey and critics representing a range of philosophical schools and styles. There is a sometimes prickly exchange between Dewey and Bertrand Russell, and another with Hans Reichenbach. Reichenbach is sometimes classified as a logical positivist. This understates the originality of his views, though he was certainly an ally of the logical positivist movement. Reichenbach developed his own scientifically engaged form of empiricism} He was sympathetic to Dewey, and presents his essay in the "Library of Living Philosophers" volume as one offering criticisms from a viewpoint that featured much agreement. So this is a useful exchange for thinking about how Dewey relates to other currents in scientifically-oriented philosophy. In this paper I will start by looking at one of Reichenbach's criticisms, and Dewey's reply. I'll then use their exchange to navigate a path through several parts of Dewey's later philosophy, drawing primarily on Experience and Nature (1925) and The Quest for Certainty (1929). The main topic of the..|
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