In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS 541 But the end result is what La Capra terms "a philosophical conservatism," a call to create a morality to counteract the disintegrating forces in modern society. Here too Durkheim joins hands with Weber, Freud, and Malinowski. "Excessive individualism was symptomatic of social disintegration" (p. 145). Its antidote is the formation of cooperative groups. So for Weber the individual, in order to be a genuine man, must always stand in a state of tension between self-interest and selflessness. So too for Freud and Malinowski unbridled individualism, incest and rebellion, are the major threats facing society. In contrast to Weber, who foresaw that "not summer's bloom lies ahead of us, but rather a polar night of icy darkness and hardness.... "Durkheim's work stands in the more benign, less beclouded light of Cartesianism. La Capra stresses the philosopher rather than the sociologist in Durkheim, but in a comparative analysis with his great contemporaries that judgement may well stand. LUCIANC. MARQUIS Pitzer College and Claremont Graduate School The Li/e and Mind o/John Dewey. By George Dykhuizen. Introduction by Harold Taylor; edited by Jo Ann Boydston. (Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, 1973. Pp. xxv + 429. $15.00) This detailed and documented account of the "life and mind" of John Dewey is the fruit of years of careful research by Professor Dykhuizen of the University of Vermont, and it is also the product of cooperation by many institutions and individuals whose records have been made available to the author. The book is a synthesis of biography, history, and philosophy; it is good reading matter as well as an excellent reference work, truly a magnum opus, a worthy record of the inseparability of Dewey's life and mind. The story begins in the obscurities of rural life and schooling in the 1860s, and it culminates in the complicated international affairs of the world since 1914. It is appropriate and inevitable that the public activities of Dewey should dominate the account of the last thirty years of his life. But it is remarkable that a philosopher should be devoted to so many and varied public affairs without being distracted by them. This fact is explained by the character of his philosophy: his philosophical devotion to "inquiry" made almost any public problem grist for his mill. He faced problems professionally as an analyst, not in order to solve them but in order to understand them concretely as obstacles to action. The biography gives abundant evidence of this fact, both in technical philosophical issues and in "the problems of men." Dewey confessed that his science of inquiry was unfortunately entitled "Logic." When he began his inquiries into the process of thinking, the German term logische Studien was still commonly used for any work on the theory of knowledge, and Dewey was not prepared for the revival and reconstruction of formal logic during his mid-career. I am reminded of a remark by his colleague, Professor Woodbridge, who said: "At first I could not figure out what Dewey's logic was about; then it suddenly occurred to me that he was telling us 'How We Think'." For Dewey and Mead the problem of knowledge was almost entirely the problem of thinking, "reflective thinking." At Columbia we tried to make textbooks on reflective thinking, much to Dewey's amusement and scorn: "You should use reflective thinking, not teach it as subject-matter. And as for formal logic, you should save that for graduate school; it corrupts young minds who mistake it for knowledge." Despite his emphasis on "reflective thinking" he disliked the term "reflection"; it had been too much abused by philosophers who engaged in speculation, meditation, and other forms of "day-dreaming." Dewey's preference for "imagination" instead of "consciousness" is related to this circumstance . He regarded "consciousness" as an abstraction; whereas imagining is a cenlxal 542 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY aspect of thinking. It implies not merely getting a suggestion in relation to a problem, but getting a suggestion whose consequences could be anticipated. Unless a suggestion anticipates consequences, it is not an idea; it has no meaning, no means to suggest for the problem or plan. Accordingly, for Dewey "acting consciously...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 541-543
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.