In How We Think, Dewey shares his views on the educator’s role in training students to think well. Basing his assertions on the belief that knowledge is strictly relative to human interaction with the world, he considers the need for thought training, its use of natural resources, and its place in school conditions; inductive and deductive reasoning, interpreting facts, and concrete and abstract thinking; the functions of activity, language, and observation in thought training; and many other subjects.
John Dewey’s influence on American education and philosophy is incalculable. This volume, as fresh and inspirational today as it was upon its initial publication a century ago, is essential for anyone active in the field of teaching or about to embark on a career in education.
“He who knows me only by my writings does not know me,” said Leibniz. These words—true, indeed, of every writer, but true of Leibniz in a way which gives a peculiar interest and charm to his life—must be our excuse for prefacing what is to be said of his “New Essays concerning the Human Understanding” with a brief biographical sketch.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was born in Leipzig June 21, 1646. His father, who died when Leibniz was only six years old, was a professor in the university and a notary of considerable practice. From him the future philosopher seems to have derived his extraordinary industry and love of detail. Such accounts as we have of him show no traces of the wonderful intellectual genius of his son, but only a diligent, plodding, faithful, and religious man, a thoroughly conscientious husband, jurist, and professor. Nor in the lines of physical heredity can we account for the unique career of Leibniz by his mother’s endowments. The fact, however, that she was patient in all trial, living in peace with her neighbors, anxious for unity and concord with all people, even with those not well disposed to her, throws great light upon the fundamental trait of Leibniz’s ethical nature. As in so many cases, it is the inherited moral characteristics which form the basis of the intellectual nature. The love of unity which was a moral trait in Leibniz’s mother became in him the hunger for a harmonious and unified mental world; the father’s devotion to detail showed itself as the desire for knowledge as minute and comprehensive as it was inter-related.
"It was with this book that Dewey fully launched his campaign for experimental philosophy." — The New Republic.
Written shortly after the shattering effects of World War I, John Dewey's Reconstruction in Philosophy offers an insightful introduction to the concept of pragmatic humanism. The eminent philosopher presents persuasive arguments against traditional philosophical constructs, suggesting their basis in self-justification; instead, he proposes an examination of core values in terms of their ultimate effects on the self and others. Dewey's experimental philosophy represented a significant departure from its predecessor, utilitarianism, and it was received with both outrage and acclaim for daring to mingle ethics and science.
Delivered in 1919 as a series of lectures at Tokyo's Imperial University of Japan, Dewey's landmark work appears here in an enlarged edition that features an informative introduction by the author, written more than 25 years after the book's initial publication.
"Give a dog a bad name and hang him." Human nature has been the dog of professional moralists, and consequences accord with the proverb. Man's nature has been regarded with suspicion, with fear, with sour looks, sometimes with enthusiasm for its possibilities but only when these were placed in contrast with its actualities. It has appeared to be so evilly disposed that the business of morality was to prune and curb it; it would be thought better of if it could be replaced by something else. It has been supposed that morality would be quite superfluous were it not for the inherent weakness, bordering on depravity, of human nature. Some writers with a more genial conception have attributed the current blackening to theologians who have thought to honor the divine by disparaging the human. Theologians have doubtless taken a gloomier view of man than have pagans and secularists. But this explanation doesn't take us far. For after all these theologians are themselves human, and they would have been without influence if the human audience had not somehow responded to them.
Morality is largely concerned with controlling human nature. When we are attempting to control anything we are acutely aware of what resists us. So moralists were led, perhaps, to think of human nature as evil ] because of its reluctance to yield to control, its rebelliousness under the yoke. But this explanation only raises another question. Why did morality set up rules so foreign to human nature? The ends it insisted upon, the regulations it imposed, were after all outgrowths of human nature. Why then was human nature so averse to them? Moreover rules can be obeyed and ideals realized only as they appeal to something in human nature and awaken in it an active response. Moral principles that exalt themselves by degrading human nature are in effect committing suicide. Or else they involve human nature in unending civil war, and treat it as a hopeless mess of contradictory forces....
No words are oftener on our lips than thinking and thought. So profuse and varied, indeed, is our use of these words that it is not easy to define just what we mean by them. The aim of this chapter is to find a single consistent meaning. Assistance may be had by considering some typical ways in which the terms are employed. In the first place thought is used broadly, not to say loosely. Everything that comes to mind, that "goes through our heads," is called a thought. To think of a thing is just to be conscious of it in any way whatsoever. Second, the term is restricted by excluding whatever is directly presented; we think (or think of) only such things as we do not directly see, hear, smell, or taste. Then, third, the meaning is further limited to beliefs that rest upon some kind of evidence or testimony. Of this third type, two kinds—or, rather, two degrees—must be discriminated. In some cases, a belief is accepted with slight or almost no attempt to state the grounds that support it. In other cases, the ground or basis for a belief is deliberately sought and its adequacy to support the belief examined. This process is called reflective thought; it alone is truly educative in value, and it forms, accordingly, the principal subject of this volume. We shall now briefly describe each of the four senses.
I. In its loosest sense, thinking signifies everything that, as we say, is "in our heads" or that "goes through our minds." He who offers "a penny for your thoughts" does not expect to drive any great bargain. In calling the objects of his demand thoughts, he does not intend to ascribe to them dignity, consecutiveness, or truth. Any idle fancy, trivial recollection, or flitting impression will satisfy his demand. Daydreaming, building of castles in the air, that loose flux of casual and disconnected material that floats through our minds in relaxed moments are, in this random sense, thinking. More of our waking life than we should care to admit, even to ourselves, is likely to be whiled away in this inconsequential trifling with idle fancy and unsubstantial hope.
Analyzing both "traditional" and "progressive" education, Dr. Dewey here insists that neither the old nor the new education is adequate and that each is miseducative because neither of them applies the principles of a carefully developed philosophy of experience. Many pages of this volume illustrate Dr. Dewey's ideas for a philosophy of experience and its relation to education. He particularly urges that all teachers and educators looking for a new movement in education should think in terms of the deeped and larger issues of education rather than in terms of some divisive "ism" about education, even such an "ism" as "progressivism." His philosophy, here expressed in its most essential, most readable form, predicates an American educational system that respects all sources of experience, on that offers a true learning situation that is both historical and social, both orderly and dynamic.
1. Renewal of Life by Transmission. The most notable distinction between living and inanimate things is that the former maintain themselves by renewal. A stone when struck resists. If its resistance is greater than the force of the blow struck, it remains outwardly unchanged. Otherwise, it is shattered into smaller bits. Never does the stone attempt to react in such a way that it may maintain itself against the blow, much less so as to render the blow a contributing factor to its own continued action. While the living thing may easily be crushed by superior force, it none the less tries to turn the energies which act upon it into means of its own further existence. If it cannot do so, it does not just split into smaller pieces (at least in the higher forms of life), but loses its identity as a living thing.
As long as it endures, it struggles to use surrounding energies in its own behalf. It uses light, air, moisture, and the material of soil. To say that it uses them is to say that it turns them into means of its own conservation. As long as it is growing, the energy it expends in thus turning the environment to account is more than compensated for by the return it gets: it grows. Understanding the word "control" in this sense, it may be said that a living being is one that subjugates and controls for its own continued activity the energies that would otherwise use it up. Life is a self-renewing process through action upon the environment.
In all the higher forms this process cannot be kept up indefinitely. After a while they succumb; they die. The creature is not equal to the task of indefinite self-renewal. But continuity of the life process is not dependent upon the prolongation of the existence of any one individual. Reproduction of other forms of life goes on in continuous sequence. And though, as the geological record shows, not merely individuals but also species die out, the life process continues in increasingly complex forms. As some species die out, forms better adapted to utilize the obstacles against which they struggled in vain come into being. Continuity of life means continual readaptation of the environment to the needs of living organisms.
We have been speaking of life in its lowest terms—as a physical thing. But we use the word "Life" to denote the whole range of experience, individual and racial. When we see a book called the Life of Lincoln we do not expect to find within its covers a treatise on physiology. We look for an account of social antecedents; a description of early surroundings, of the conditions and occupation of the family; of the chief episodes in the development of character; of signal struggles and achievements; of the individual's hopes, tastes, joys and sufferings. In precisely similar fashion we speak of the life of a savage tribe, of the Athenian people, of the American nation. "Life" covers customs, institutions, beliefs, victories and defeats, recreations and occupations.
This critical edition of John Dewey’s 1916 collection of writings on logic, Essays in Experimental Logic—in which Dewey presents his concept of logic as the theory of inquiry and his unique and innovative development of the relationship of inquiry to experience—is the first scholarly reprint of the work in one volume since 1954. Essays in Experimental Logic, edited by D. Micah Hester and Robert B. Talisse, uses the authoritative texts from the Collected Works of John Dewey, 1882–1953 (published by Southern Illinois University Press) and includes as well articles from leading journals representing various contemporary schools of philosophy that criticized Dewey’s experimentalism.
Culling materials from six volumes of the chronologically arranged Collected Works, this single-volume edition of Essays marks a crucial point in Dewey’s intellectual development: one in which Dewey critically engages idealistic and intuitionist theorists and lays the groundwork for his mature theory of inquiry. The text includes a new introduction by renowned Dewey scholar Tom Burke that places Essays in philosophical and historical context. In addition to the original essays, Essays in Experimental Logic also features five critical essays by Dewey’s contemporaries, including Bertrand Russell, Wendell T. Bush, R. F. Alfred Hoernlé, H. T. Costello, and C. S. Peirce.
This edition of The Public and Its Problems, meticulously annotated and interpreted with fresh insight by Melvin L. Rogers, radically updates the previous version published by Swallow Press. Rogers’s introduction locates Dewey’s work within its philosophical and historical context and explains its key ideas for a contemporary readership. Biographical information and a detailed bibliography round out this definitive edition, which will be essential to students and scholars both.
Starting with a thorough examination of philosophical method, Dewey examines the interrelationship of experience and nature, and upon the basis of empirical naturalism analyzes experience, the formulation of law, the role of language and social factors in knowledge, the nature of mind, and the final interrelation of mind and matter. Dewey, as in his other mature philosophy, attempts to replace the traditional separation of nature and experience with the idea of continuity, using the traditional separation of nature and experience with the idea of continuity, using the concept of language as the bridge.
Dewey's treatment of central problems in philosophy and philosophy of science is profound, yet extremely easy to follow. His range of subject matter is very wide, from the anthropology of Malinowski to gravity, evolution, and the role of art, and his insights are clear and valuable. Scientists, philosophers of science, philosophers, and students of American history of thought will all find this one of the most profitable works by a great 20th-century thinker.
Dewey’s experiments at the Laboratory School reflected his original social and educational philosophy based on American experience and concepts of democracy, not on European education models then in vogue. This forerunner of the major works shows Dewey’s pervasive concern with the need for a rich, dynamic, and viable society.
In his introduction to this volume, Joe R. Burnett states Dewey’s theme. Industrialization, urbanization, science, and technology have created a revolution the schools cannot ignore. Dewey carries this theme through eight chapters: The School and Social Progress; The School and the Life of the Child; Waste in Education; Three Years of the University Elementary School; The Psychology of Elementary Education; Froebel’s Educational Principles; The Psychology of Occupations; and the Development of Attention.
But Brook isn't going to go down without a fight. Applying his instincts and razor sharp intelligence, he sees a pattern in a series of murders that seem to begin in 1963. How could a killer go undetected for so long? And why are his superiors so keen to drive him down blind alleys?
Brook delves deep into the past of both suspects and colleagues unsure where the hunt will lead him. What he does know for sure is that a significant date is approaching fast and the killer is certain to strike again...
The two books in this volume — both short, but extremely influential — grew out of Dewey's hands-on experience with the laboratory school and represent the earliest authoritative statement of his revolutionary emphasis on education as an experimental, child-centered process, In The School and Society, he declares that we must "make each one of our schools an embryonic community life, active with types of occupations that reflect the life of the larger society and permeated with the spirit of art, history, and science." In The Child and the Curriculum, he stresses the importance of the curriculum as a means of determining the environment of the child, and allowing the teacher to guide children in asserting themselves, exercising their capacities, and fulfilling the destinies of their own nature.
Gathered in this single convenient volume, these thought-provoking contributions by one of America's greatest thinkers in the field of pedagogy will be immense interest to educators, psychologists, parents, and anyone interested in the psychology and philosophy of childhood education.
Rumors of the existence of the poems have circulated among students of Dewey’s life and writings since 1957, when Mrs. Roberta Dewey gained possession of them from the Columbia University Columbiana collection. But except for the few persons who saw copies made by the French scholar Deladelle five years after Dewey’s death, the poems have remained inaccessible until now.
None of the poems has hitherto been published. Mrs. Roberta Dewey and Dewey’s children from his first marriage seem not to have known of Dewey’s experiments in verse during his lifetime. And, as evidence presented here now shows, only two or three acquaintances knew of actual poems written by Dewey, one of them the Polish-American novelist Anzia Yezierska, who had a brief emotional involvement with Dewey in the 1917–18 period. The factual, rather than inferential, evidence of Dewey’s relationship with Anzia Yezierska appears in the poems, which, taken as a whole, provide revealing insights into Dewey’s feelings and illuminate not only aspects of his emotions but of his thought as well.
The fact that Dewey did not publish the poetry himself, together with the circumstances of its discovery and unusual history, has led to the exceptionally careful editorial treatment of the poems given here. Scholars will find all the evidence for the authorship of the manuscripts clearly presented and all the changes and alterations carefully recorded. This edition has received the Modern Language Association of America Center for Editions of American Authors Seal as an “approved text.”