Jörg Volbers
Freie Universität Berlin
The article presents Dewey’s own understanding of rationality by reconstructing his criticism of idealism. For Dewey, idealism is an important and valuable expression of the modern idea that both knowledge and values are historical products of human self-determination. Thus, it rightly defends the power of thought against the uncritical claims of mere religious and social authority. Yet idealism, Dewey claims, still misconceives that human power by ultimately treating it as a merely intellectual power, thus following the philosophical tradition. For Dewey, however, human thought and reasoning have to be understood in a much broader way. Dewey decenters thought by arguing that it is a natural, dependent and essentially temporal process, in which the intellectual elements only play a subordinate role. Thought, he claims, does not only have a history; furthermore, thinking only matters to human beings precisely because it is open to reflective change. Dewey’s position, thus, can be seen as an attempt to preserve the existential importance of philosophical self-reflection by binding thought to history and change in a radical way.
Keywords Pragmatism  Idealism  John Dewey  Situated Thinking  Materialism  History of Modern Philosophy
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DOI 10.4000/ejpap.1327
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References found in this work BETA

Hegel, British Idealism, and the Curious Case of the Concrete Universal.Robert Stern - 2007 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 15 (1):115 – 153.
Idealism and the Metaphysics of Individuality.Paul Giladi - 2017 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 43 (2):208-229.
Wittgenstein and Idealism.Bernard Williams - 1973 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures 7:76-95.

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