John Dewey and Daoist Thought: Experiments in Intra-cultural Philosophy, Volume One

SUNY Press
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Proposes an “intra-cultural philosophy” based on John Dewey’s “cultural turn” and promotes Daoist thought as a resource that can help to reconstruct outmoded assumptions that continue to shape how we currently think.


In this timely and original work, Dewey’s late-period “cultural turn” is recovered and “intra-cultural philosophy” proposed as its next logical step—a step beyond what is commonly known as comparative philosophy. The first of two volumes, John Dewey and Daoist Thought argues that early Chinese thought is poised to join forces with Dewey in meeting our most urgent cultural needs: namely, helping us to correct our outdated Greek-medieval assumptions, especially where these result in pre-Darwinian inferences about the world.


Relying on the latest research in both Chinese and American philosophies, Jim Behuniak establishes “specific philosophical relationships” between Dewey’s ideas and early Daoist thought, suggesting how, together, they can assist us in getting our thinking “back in gear” with the world as it is currently known through the biological, physical, and cognitive sciences. Topics covered include the organization of organic form, teleology, cosmology, knowledge, the body, and technology—thus engaging Dewey with themes generally associated with Daoist thought. Volume one works to establish “Chinese natural philosophy” as an empirical framework in which to consider cultural-level phenomena in volume two.


“Moving beyond the limits of comparative philosophy, Behuniak’s intra-cultural approach refuses to separate past and present or to separate various philosophical traditions into self-enclosed compartments. Such an approach has been a long time coming. Like a good Platonic dialogue, these volumes place important traditions into conversations that enhance thinking about today’s issues. In terms of depth and thoroughness, the scope of learning in both American and Chinese philosophies is breathtaking.” — Raymond Boisvert, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Siena College

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About the author

Jim Behuniak is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Colby College. He is the author of John Dewey and Confucian Thought: Experiments in Intra-cultural Philosophy, Volume Two and Mencius on Becoming Human, both also published by SUNY Press.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Jul 24, 2019
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Pages
420
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ISBN
9781438474519
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Assesses John Dewey’s visit to China in 1919–21 as an “intra-cultural” episode and promotes “Chinese natural philosophy” as a philosophical context in which to understand the connections between Dewey’s philosophy and early Confucian thinking.


In this conclusion to his two-volume series, Jim Behuniak builds upon the groundbreaking work begun in John Dewey and Daoist Thought in arguing that “Chinese natural philosophy” is the proper hermeneutical context in which to understand early Confucianism. First, he traces Dewey’s late-period “cultural turn” in more detail and then proceeds to assess Dewey’s visit to China in 1919–21 as a multifaceted “intra-cultural” episode: one that includes not only what Dewey taught his Chinese audiences, but also what he learned in China and what we stand to learn from this encounter today.


“Dewey in China” provides an opportunity to continue establishing “specific philosophical relationships” between Dewey and Confucian thought for the purpose of getting ourselves “back in gear” with contemporary thinking in the social and natural sciences. To this end, Behuniak critically assesses readings of early Chinese thought reliant on outdated Greek-medieval assumptions, paying particular attention to readings of early Confucianism that rely heavily on Western virtue ethics, such as the “Heaven’s plan” reading. Topics covered include education, tradition, ethics, the family, human nature, and religiousness—thus engaging Dewey with themes generally associated with Confucian thought.


“Attacking the distinction of Eastern versus Western philosophical cultures, these volumes create a detailed intra-cultural Deweyan-Chinese thought on many levels at once. Using Dewey to reinterpret the Daoist and Confucian traditions from their sources, Behuniak weaves an intra-cultural philosophical trajectory that stretches from the sixth-century BCE China to Columbia University in New York City. The result is one of the philosophical masterpieces of our time.” — Robert Cummings Neville, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Religion, and Theology, Boston University

One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives. In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life. Using the psychological insights and the practical techniques of the Stoics, Irvine offers a roadmap for anyone seeking to avoid the feelings of chronic dissatisfaction that plague so many of us. Irvine looks at various Stoic techniques for attaining tranquility and shows how to put these techniques to work in our own life. As he does so, he describes his own experiences practicing Stoicism and offers valuable first-hand advice for anyone wishing to live better by following in the footsteps of these ancient philosophers. Readers learn how to minimize worry, how to let go of the past and focus our efforts on the things we can control, and how to deal with insults, grief, old age, and the distracting temptations of fame and fortune. We learn from Marcus Aurelius the importance of prizing only things of true value, and from Epictetus we learn how to be more content with what we have. Finally, A Guide to the Good Life shows readers how to become thoughtful observers of their own lives. If we watch ourselves as we go about our daily business and later reflect on what we saw, we can better identify the sources of distress and eventually avoid that pain in our life. By doing this, the Stoics thought, we can hope to attain a truly joyful life.
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