Dewey’s A Common Faith has been variously interpreted, both in terms of its relation to Dewey’s corpus and internally in terms of its leading ideas. I argue for its crucial relevance in understanding Dewey and undertake an analysis of the key idea of “religious experience” as an “attitude of existence.” This distinguishes religious experience from other types of qualitative experience and shows the unique place this concept has for Dewey.
" Our various cultures are symbolic environments or "spiritual ecologies" within which the Human Eros can thrive. This is how we inhabit the earth. Encircling and sustaining our cultural existence is nature.
Simply put, this book is the best short introduction to John Dewey’s philosophy.1 It is lucidly written and is sensitively accurate in things both great and small. It is concise yet broadly informed. It is balanced without straining to say everything, focused without being compressed. It directs the reader to Dewey’s key writings and indicates reliable commentary. It concludes by indicating Dewey’s relevance for contemporary issues: medical ethics, environmentalism, feminism. Nevertheless, that the book appears in a series called “Beginner’s Guides” (...) should be taken therefore with a grain of salt, for it will be helpful to many advanced scholars starting to explore “pragmatism.” There are now so many strange .. (shrink)
American philosophy has been dominated by the theme of "Nature."1 From Edwards to Emerson to Dewey to Dennett, American thought has variously invoked Nature. But to articulate a philosophy of Nature is not thereby to espouse a form of "naturalism." In fact, philosophies undertaken in the name of "naturalism" seem to have a different temperament than those that begin with the thought of Nature as such. As a theme, "Nature" invites an expansive mood for reflection, while "naturalism" sounds constrictive and (...) combative. "Nature" disposes the mind to musement, "pondering," theoria, Denken—to becoming Emerson's "transparent eyeball." "Naturalism" has something of a doctrinal, even dogmatic, flavor, since every "-ism" .. (shrink)
"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 .. (shrink)
While Good’s book forces us to recognize the caricatures of Hegel and idealism that have dominated Anglo-American thought, Dewey’s relationship with idealism in general and Hegel in particular remains complex. Good proposes that the main reason for Dewey’s rejection of idealism was World War I. I find this implausible. Good downplays the central influence of James on Dewey, first with the Principles and then with his radical empiricism. By his move to Columbia in 1905 and in his article of that (...) year, “The Postulate of Immediate Empiricism,” Dewey had rejected all types of philosophy that equated reality with the object of knowledge, including idealism and Hegel. For Dewey, reality includes types of experiences that are not instances of knowing and that ideals, functionally understood, are possibilities, not actualities. (shrink)