In this essay Michael Eldridge maintains that Frank Margonis has in a recent article ill‐advisedly speculated about John Dewey's pedagogy, suggesting that his “racialized visions” of students and classroom communities involve a “false universalism” that is problematic for our multicultural society. Based on this understanding, Margonis concludes that we need to seek an alternative to Dewey's educational philosophy. Eldridge strongly disagrees with this conclusion, arguing that assessing Dewey's philosophy and pedagogy is not a matter for speculation but should instead be (...) based on the extensive documentation and research that is readily available. Eldridge focuses in this essay on documenting Margonis's speculations regarding Dewey's theory and pedagogy, and then offering an alternative reading of Dewey's writings as well as scholarship about Dewey's life and work. Ultimately, Eldridge argues that a wholesale abandonment of Dewey's educational approach is unnecessary and would be misguided. (shrink)
: I provide an overview of A Thoughtful Profession (Open Court, 2006), Jim Campbell's splendid account of the first twenty-five years or so of the American Philosophical Association (APA), in which he shows in considerable detail how thoughtfully our association came into being and how we still live with the solutions of those early years. Three separate associations were formed during this period in response "to the impact of contemporary science and technology on American thinking, . . . the increasing (...) democratizing of American higher education," and "the impact of the German system of higher education. As a result of these three factors, higher education in America was fundamentally changed; and the practice of academic philosophy was changed with it" (Campbell, p. 18). I recount how this book tells the story of that change and the eventual formation of the APA in the 1920s from these three associations. We still live with the effects of this professionalization of academic philosophy and of the decision to form a division-dominated national association. (shrink)
One must not read Rogers' title as claiming that no one anywhere knows the Dewey presented in this fine, informative, illuminating, and engaged book. Certainly many readers of this journal will recognize the Dewey he has uncovered. Rogers' perspective, however, is a novel one. Think of an artist or photographer whose portrait of a familiar figure enables the viewer to appreciate the subject in a way that s/he has not quite realized before. The subject is a familiar one but the (...) new take is one that while not startling is nevertheless fresh and worth of study.Although Rogers credits many present and past members of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy—Thomas Alexander, Raymond Boisvert, Vincent .. (shrink)
I make the case for thinking of Obama as a pragmatist, talk about the influence of his community organizing experience, and then reflect on some difficulties of implementing those "pragmatic democratic" values as president. I call attention to some arguably pragmatic but undemocratic features of his presidency, notably, a tendency to technocratic and top-down management. In response to complaints about Obama from a politically liberal orientation, I will defend his actions as pragmatic.