What Was Dewey's “Magic Number?”

Abstract
Abraham Kaplan once suggested that Dewey’s “magic number” was two. His observation seems to be supported by the titles Dewey gave to his books, such as Experience and Nature. But in making this observation, Kaplan hedged a bit. Perhaps it would be better, he added, to say that Dewey had two magic numbers: he seemed to look for twos in order to turn them into ones. Looking back over the notes I have pencilled in the margins of Dewey’s Collected Works over the years, I am struck with the number of times “1, 2, 3” appears. In some cases these passages are reminiscent of Peirce’s categories. In other cases, they recall Hegel’s dialectic. Dewey’s “magic numbers” are tools that can help us understand the structure and content of his work
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 978-1-889680-19-4  
DOI wcp202000883
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