Dewey's philosophy and the experience of working: Labor, tools and language

Synthese 105 (1):87 - 114 (1995)
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Although Richard Rorty has done much to renew interest in the philosophy of John Dewey, he nonetheless rejects two of the most important components of Dewey's philosophy, that is, his metaphysics and epistemology. Following George Santayana, Rorty accuses Dewey of trying to serve Locke and Hegel, an impossibility as Rorty rightly sees it. Rorty (1982) says that Dewey should have been Hegelian all the way (p. 85). By reconstructing a bit of Hegel's early philosophy of work, and comparing it to Dewey's metaphysics and epistemology we can see that Dewey was indeed Hegelian all the way and that Rorty has constructed a false dilemma. We also gain some interesting insight into Dewey's philosophy by viewing it in terms of labor, tools and language.



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James Garrison
Virginia Tech

Citations of this work

The Naturalistic Side of Hegel’s Pragmatism.Emmanuel Renault - 2012 - Critical Horizons 13 (2):244 - 274.
Dewey's Critical Conception of Work.Emmanuel Renault - 2017 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 31 (2):286-298.
Language or Experience? – That’s not the Question.Jörg Volbers - 2014 - European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 6 (2):175-199.

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Consequences of Pragmatism: Essays 1972-1980.Richard Rorty - 1982 - University of Minnesota Press.
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.Richard Rorty - 1979 - Princeton University Press.

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