John Dewey

John Dewey

Born: 1859. Died: 1952.


- Pragmatism emphasizes the pervasive but often-overlooked role of practical activity in inquiry and experience.

- The history of philosophy is a misguided quest for certain knowledge of an unchanging reality.

- Scientific method, as a method linking the acquisition of knowledge to practical activity, is to be generalized and adopted as the method of all inquiry, including all aspects of philosophical inquiry.

- Knowledge is properly understood as warrantedly assertible belief.

- Art is experience aiming at the production of objects that, as experienced, yield continuously renewed delights.

- Ethics involves relating the desirable to the desired.

- Education is best practiced as the art of inquiry rather than as the mere transference of factual knowledge.


John Dewey was an American psychologist, philosopher, educator, social critic and political activist.

He was born in Burlington, Vermont, on 20 October 1859. Dewey graduated from the University of Vermont in 1879, and received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1884. He started his career at the University of Michigan, teaching there from 1884 to 1888 and 1889-1894, with a one year term at the University of Minnesota in 1888.

In 1894 he became the chairman of the department of philosophy, psychology, and pedagogy at the University of Chicago. In 1899, John Dewey was elected president of the American Psychological Association, and in 1905 he became president of the American Philosophical Association. Dewey taught at Columbia University from 1905 until he retired in 1930, and occasionally taught as professor emeritus until 1939.

During his years at Columbia he traveled the world as a philosopher, social and political theorist, and educational consultant. Among his major journeys are his lectures in Japan and China from 1919 to 1921, his visit to Turkey in 1924 to recommend educational policy, and a tour of schools in the USSR in 1928. Of course, Dewey never ignored American social issues. He was outspoken on education, domestic and international politics, and numerous social movements.

Among the many concerns that attracted Dewey's support were women's suffrage, progressive education, educator's rights, the Humanistic movement, and world peace.

Dewey died in New York City on 1 June 1952.

Major Books of John Dewey

- A Common Faith, 1934
- Am I Getting an Education?, with Sherwood Eddy et. al., 1929
- Applied Psychology: An Introduction To The Principles And Practice Of Education, 1889
- Art as Experience, 1934
- The Authoritarian Attempt To Capture Education, 1945
- The Child and the Curriculum, 1902
- China, Japan, and the U.S.A., 1921
- Conditions Among The Poles In The United States, 1918
- Creative Intelligence: Essays In The Pragmatic Attitude, with Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1917
- David Dubinsky: A Pictorial Biography, 1951
- Democracy and Education, 1916
- Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education, 1916
- Dictionary of Education, with Ralph Bubrich Winn, 1959
- Educational Essays, with Joseph John Findlay, 1910
- The Educational Situation, 1904
- Essays in Experimental Logic, 1916
- Ethical Principles Underlying Education, 1903
- Ethics, with James H. Tufts, 1908
- Experience and Education, 1938
- Experience and Nature, 1929
- Freedom and Culture, 1939
- German Philosophy and Politics, 1915
- How We Think, 1910
- Human Nature and Conduct, 1922
- Individualism, Old and New, 1930
- The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy and Other Essays, 1910
- Interest And Effort In Education, 1913
- Knowing and the Known, 1949
- Leibniz’s New Essays Concerning the Human Understanding, 1886
- Letters From China And Japan, with Harriet Alice Chipman Dewey and Evelyn Dewey, 1920
- Liberalism and Social Action, 1935
- The Living Thoughts of Thomas Jefferson, 1940
- Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, 1938
- Moral Principles In Education, 190
- My Pedagogic Creed, 1897
- Outlines of a Critical Theory of Ethics, 1891
- Philosophy and Civilization, 1931
- Problems of Men, 1946
- Psychology, 1887
- Psychology And Social Practice, 1901
- The Psychology of Habit and Impulse, 1931
- Psychology of Number and Its Applications to Methods of Teaching Arithmetic, 1895
- The Public and Its Problems, 1927
- The Quest for Certainty, 1929
- Reconstruction in Philosophy, 1920
- The School and Society, 1899
- Schools of To-Morrow‎, 1915
- Study of Ethics: A Syllabus, 1897
- The Study Of Ethics And Psychology , 1897
- The Sources of a Science of Education , 1929

Major Articles of John Dewey

- 1886, The Psychological Standpoint, Mind
- 1886, Psychology as Philosophic Method, Mind
- 1887, Knowledge as Idealisation, Mind
- 1890, On Some Current Conceptions of the Term `Self', Mind
- 1891, Moral Theory and Practice, International Journal of Ethics
- 1893, Self-Realization as the Moral Ideal, PhilRev
- 1894, The Ego as Cause, PhilRev
- 1896, The Influence of the High School upon Educational Methods, The School Review
- 1896, Psychology of Number, Science
- 1896, The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology, Psychological Review
- 1900, Psychology and Social Practice, Science
- 1902, The Evolutionary Method as Applied to Morality, Parts I, II, PhilRev
- 1902, The School as Social Center, ESJ
- 1903, Democracy in Education, ESJ
- 1905, Immediate Empiricism, JPPSM
- 1905, The Knowledge Experience and Its Relationships, JPPSM
- 1906, Beliefs and Realities, PhilRev
- 1906, Reality as Experience, JPPSM
- 1906, Experience and Objective Idealism, PhilRev
- 1907, The Control of Ideas by Facts, Parts I, II, III, JPPSM
- 1907, Reality and the Criterion for the Truth of Ideas, Mind
- 1911, Brief Studies in Realism, Parts I, II, JPPSM
- 1915, The Existence of the World as a Problem, PhilRev
- 1918, The Objects of Valuation, JPPSM
- 1922, Realism without Monism or Dualism, Parts I, II, J of Philosophy
- 1923, Tradition, Metaphysics, and Morals, J of Philosophy
- 1925, The Naturalistic Theory of Perception by the Senses, J of Philosophy
- 1927, The Role of Philosophy in the History of Civilization, PhilRev
- 1928, Meaning and Existence, J of Philosophy
- 1935, The Future of Liberalism, J of Philosophy
- 1936, What are Universals?, J of Philosophy
- 1940, Nature in Experience, PhilRev
- 1941, The Objectivism-Subjectivism of Modern Philosophy, J of Philosophy
- 1942, The Ambiguity of "Intrinsic Good", J of Philosophy
- 1944, By Nature and by Art, J of Philosophy
- 1945, Are Naturalists Materialists?, J of Philosophy
- 1948, Common Sense and Science: Their Respective Frames of Reference, J of Philosophy
- 1954, Evolution and Ethics, Scientific Monthly

Quotes from John Dewey

- "What is sometimes called a benevolent insterest in others may be but an unwitting mask for an attempt to dictate to them what their good shall be, instead of an endeavor to free them so that they may seek and find the good of their own choice." (from "Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy and Education", 1916)

- "Intelligence is not something possessed once for all. It is in constant process of forming, and its retention requires constant alertness in observing consequences, an open-minded will to learn and courage in re-adjustment." (from "Reconstruction in Philosophy", 1920)

- "Blame is most readily averted by beign so much like everybody else that one passes unnoticed." (from "Introduction to Human Nature and Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology", 1922)

- "Conflict is the gadfly of thought. It stirs us to observation and memory. It instigates to invention. It shocks us out of sheep-like passivity." (from "Introduction to Human Nature and Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology", 1922)

- "Economics is the science of phenomena due to one love and once aversion - gain and labor." (from "Introduction to Human Nature and Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology", 1922)

- "If it is better to travel than to arrive, it is because traveling is a constant arriving, while arrival that precludes further traveling is most easily attained by going to sleep or dying." (from "Introduction to Human Nature and Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology", 1922)

- "There are two schools of social reform. One bases itself upon the notion of a morality which springs from an inner freedom, something mysteriously cooped up within personality. It asserts that the only way to change institutions is for men to purify their own hearts, and that when this has been accomplished, change of institutions will follow of itself. The other school denies the existence of any such inner power. ... It says that men are made what they are by the forces of the environment, that human nature is purely malleable, and that till institutions are changed, nothing can be done. ... There is an alternative to being penned in between these two theories. We can recognize that all conduct is interaction between elements of human nature and he envirnment, natural and social." (from "Introduction to Human Nature and Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology", 1922)

- "Thought runs ahead and foresees outcomes, and thereby avoids having to await the instruction of actual failure and disasted." (from "Introduction to Human Nature and Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology", 1922)

- "Any theory and set of practices is dogmatic which is not based upon critical examination of its own underlying princibles." (from "Experience and Education", 1938)

- "Ideas or hypotheses are tested by the consequences which they produce when they are acted upon." (from "Experience and Education", 1938)

- "To reflect is to look back over what has been done so as to extract the net meaning which are the capital stock for intelligent dealing with further experiences." (from "Experience and Education", 1938)


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