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The Essential Dewey, Volume 2

Ethics, Logic, Psychology

Edited by Larry A. Hickman and Thomas M. Alexander

Publication Year: 2009

In addition to being one of the greatest technical philosophers of the twentieth century, John Dewey (1859-1952) was an educational innovator, a Progressive Era reformer, and one of America's last great public intellectuals. Dewey's insights into the problems of public education, immigration, the prospects for democratic government, and the relation of religious faith to science are as fresh today as when they were first published. His penetrating treatments of the nature and function of philosophy, the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of life, and the role of inquiry in human experience are of increasing relevance at the turn of the 21st century.

Based on the award-winning 37-volume critical edition of Dewey's work, The Essential Dewey presents for the first time a collection of Dewey's writings that is both manageable and comprehensive. The volume includes essays and book chapters that exhibit Dewey's intellectual development over time; the selection represents his mature thinking on every major issue to which he turned his attention. Eleven part divisions cover: Dewey in Context; Reconstructing Philosophy; Evolutionary Naturalism; Pragmatic Metaphysics; Habit, Conduct, and Language; Meaning, Truth, and Inquiry; Valuation and Ethics; The Aims of Education; The Individual, the Community, and Democracy; Pragmatism and Culture: Science and Technology, Art and Religion; and Interpretations and Critiques. Taken as a whole, this collection provides unique access to Dewey's understanding of the problems and prospects of human existence and of the philosophical enterprise.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Cover Page

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii

These volumes were prepared at the Center for Dewey Studies during 1996 and 1997. They were produced from the text of The Collected Works of John Dewey, 1882-1953: The Electronic Edition, edited by Larry A. Hickman (Charlottesville, Virginia: InteLex Corporation, 1996), which is in...

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pp. ix-xii

In addition to being one of the greatest technical philosophers of the twentieth century; John Dewey (1859-1952) was also an educational innovator, a Progressive Era reformer, and one of his country's last great public intellectuals. In Henry Commager's trenchant appraisal, he...


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pp. xiii

Part 1: Habit, Conduct, and Language

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The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology (1896)

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pp. 3-10

That the greater demand for a unifying principle and controlling working hypothesis in psychology should come at just the time when all generalizations and classifications are most questioned and questionable is natural enough. It is the very cumulation of...

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Interpretation of Savage Mind (1902)

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pp. 11-18

The psychical attitudes and traits of the savage are more than stages through which mind has passed, leaving them behind. They are outgrowths which have entered decisively into further evolution, and as such form an integral part of the framework of present...

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Introduction: From Human Nature and Conduct (1922)

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pp. 19-23

"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...

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The Place of Habit in Conduct: From Human Nature and Conduct (1922)

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pp. 24-49

Habits may be profitably compared to physiological functions, like breathing, digesting. The latter are, to be sure, involuntary, while habits are acquired. But important as is this difference for many purposes it should not conceal the fact that habits are like functions...

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Nature, Communication and Meaning: From Experience and Nature (1925)

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pp. 50-66

Of all affairs, communication is the most wonderful. That things should be able to pass from the plane of external pushing and pulling to that of revealing themselves to man, and thereby to themselves; and that the fruit of communication should be participation...

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Conduct and Experience (1930)

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pp. 67-77

"Conduct," as it appears in the title, obviously links itself with the position taken by behaviorists; "experience," with that of the introspectionists. If the result of the analysis herein undertaken turns out to involve a revision of the meaning of both concepts, it will...

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The Existential Matrix of Inquiry: Cultural: From Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938)

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pp. 78-87

The environment in which human beings live, act and inquire, is not simply physical. It is cultural as well. Problems which induce inquiry grow out of the relations of fellow beings to one another, and the organs for dealing with these relations are not only the...

Part 2: Meaning, Truth, and Inquiry

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The Superstition of Necessity (1893)

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pp. 91-100

Lest my title give such offense as to prejudice unduly my contention, I may say that I use the term in the way indicated by its etymology: as a standing-still on the part of thought; a clinging to old ideas after those ideas have lost their use, and hence, like all...

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The Problem of Truth (1911)

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pp. 101-130

To the lay mind it is a perplexing thing that the nature of truth should be a vexed problem. That such is the case seems another illustration of Berkeley's remark about the proneness of philosophers to throw dust in their own eyes and then complain that they...

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Logical Objects (1916)

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pp. 131-136

The exigencies which produced this paper will, I hope, render apologies unnecessary. I am only too conscious that it is not a paper for discussion, but a memorandum of certain positions which might be developed. I would suggest, however, that the following...

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Analysis of Reflective Thinking: From How We Think (1933)

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pp. 137-144

When a situation arises containing a difficulty or perplexity; the person who finds himself in it may take one of a number of courses. He may dodge it, dropping the activity that brought it about, turning to something else. He may indulge in a flight of fancy...

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The Place of Judgment in Reflective Activity: From How We Think (1933)

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pp. 145-150

From one point of view the whole process of thinking consists of making a series of judgments that are so related as to support one another in leading to a final judgment-the conclusion. In spite of this fact, we have treated reflective activity as a whole, first, because...

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General Propositions, Kinds, and Classes (1936)

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pp. 151-156

In an earlier article I called attention to the fact that Mill stated that since abstract terms are sometimes singular and sometimes general, it might be better to put them in a "class apart." I argued that this class apart was that of universal if-then propositions; abstract terms...

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The Problem of Logical Subject-Matter: From Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938)

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pp. 157-168

Contemporary logical theory is marked by an apparent paradox. There is general agreement as to its proximate subject-matter. With respect to this proximate subject-matter no period shows a more confident advance. Its ultimate subject-matter, on the other hand, is...

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The Pattern of Inquiry: From Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938)

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pp. 169-179

The first chapter set forth the fundamental thesis of this volume: Logical forms accrue to subject-matter when the latter is subjected to controlled inquiry. It also set forth some of the implications of this thesis for the nature of logical theory. The second and third...

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Mathematical Discourse: From Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938)

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pp. 180-193

The ability of any logical theory to account for the distinguishing logical characteristics of mathematical conceptions and relations is a stringent test of its claims. A theory such as the one presented in this treatise is especially bound to meet and pass this test. For it has the...

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The Construction of Judgment: From Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938)

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pp. 194-196

In terms of the ideas set forth in the last chapter, judgment may be identified as the settled outcome of inquiry. It is concerned with the concluding objects that emerge from inquiry in their status of being conclusive. Judgment in this sense is distinguished from...

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General Theory of Propositions: From Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938)

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pp. 197-200

Judgment has been analyzed to show that it is a continuous process of resolving an indeterminate, unsettled situation into a determinately unified one, through operations which transform subject-matter originally given. Judgment, in distinction from propositions...

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Propositions, Warranted Assertibility, and Truth (1941)

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pp. 201-212

I propose in what follows to restate some features of the theories I have previously advanced on the topics mentioned above. I shall shape this restatement on the basis of ascriptions and criticisms of my views found in Mr. Russell's An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth. I am...

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Importance, Significance, and Meaning (1949)

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pp. 213-221

This essay marks an attempt to develop a number of considerations which are reasonably fundamental in the theory of knowing and of what it is to be known, which form the substance of a recently published collection of articles by A. F. Bentley and the present writer...

Part 3: Valuation and Ethics

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Evolution and Ethics (1898)

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pp. 225-235

To a strictly logical mind the method of the development of thought must be a perplexing, even irritating matter. Its course is not so much like the simple curve described by a bullet as it speeds its way to a mark, as it is like the devious tacking of a sail boat upon a heavy...

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The Logic of Judgments of Practice (1915)

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pp. 236-271

In introducing the discussion, I shall first say a word to avoid possible misunderstandings. It may be objected that such a term as "practical judgment" is misleading; that the term "practical judgment" is a misnomer, and a dangerous one, since all judgments by their...

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Valuation and Experimental Knowledge (1922)

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pp. 272-286

Plato long ago called notice to the disadvantage of written discussion as compared with oral. The printed page does not respond to questions addressed it. It will not share in conversation. But there is a disadvantage for the writer as well as for the reader. He is never...

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Value, Objective Reference, and Criticism (1925)

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pp. 287-297

In some writings of mine on judgments of value considered as evaluations, there was no attempt to reach or state any conclusion as to the nature of value itself. The position taken was virtually this: No matter what value is or is taken to be, certain traits of evaluative...

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The Ethics of Animal Experimentation (1926)

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pp. 298-301

Different moralists give different reasons as to why cruelty to animals is wrong. But about the fact of its immorality there is no question, and hence no need for argument. Whether the reason is some inherent right of the animal, or a reflex bad effect upon the...

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Philosophies of Freedom (1928)

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pp. 302-314

A recent book on Sovereignty concludes a survey of various theories on that subject with the following words: "The career of the notion of sovereignty illustrates the general characteristics of political thinking. The various forms of the notion have been apologies...

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Three Independent Factors in Morals (1930)

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pp. 315-320

There is a fact which from all the evidence is an integral part of moral action which has not received the attention it deserves in moral theory: that is the element of uncertainty and of conflict in any situation which can properly be called moral. The conventional...

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The Good of Activity: From Human Nature and Conduct (1922)

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pp. 321-327

Conduct when distributed under heads like habit, impulse and intelligence gets artificially shredded. In discussing each of these topics we have run into the others. We conclude, then, with an attempt to gather together some outstanding considerations about...

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Moral Judgment and Knowledge: From Ethics (1932)

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pp. 328-340

That reflective morality, since it is reflective, involves thought and knowledge is a truism. The truism raises, however, important problems of theory. What is the nature of knowledge in its moral sense? What is its function? How does it originate and operate? To...

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The Moral Self: From Ethics (1932)

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pp. 341-354

The self has occupied a central place in the previous discussions, in which important aspects of the good self have been brought out. The self should be wise or prudent, looking to an inclusive satisfaction and hence subordinating the satisfaction of an immediately urgent...

Part 4: Interpretations and Critiques

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Democracy and America: From Freedom and Culture (1939) (On Thomas Jefferson)

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pp. 357-365

I make no apology for linking what is said in this chapter with the name of Thomas Jefferson. For he was the first modern to state in human terms the principles of democracy: Were I to make an apology, it would be that in the past I have concerned myself unduly if a...

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Emerson—The Philosopher of Democracy (1903) (On Ralph Waldo Emerson)

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pp. 366-370

It is said that Emerson is not a philosopher. I find this denegation false or true according as it is said in blame or praise-according to the reasons proffered. When the critic writes of lack of method, of the absence of continuity, of coherent logic, and, with the old story...

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Peirce's Theory of Quality (1935) (On Charles S. Peirce)

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pp. 371-376

The questions raised in Mr. Goudge's criticism of Peirce on the nature of the "given," are of high importance in the contemporary state of philosophy in which the problems of the given, on one hand, and of universals and essences, on the other, bulk so large...

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What Pragmatism Means by "Practical" (1907) (On William James)

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pp. 377-386

Pragmatism, according to Mr. James, is a temper of mind, an attitude; it is also a theory of the nature of ideas and truth; and, finally, it is a theory about reality. It is pragmatism as method which is emphasized, I take it, in the subtitle, "a new name for some old ways...

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Voluntarism and the Roycean Philosophy (1916) (On Josiah Royce)

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pp. 387-392

I am not about to inflict upon you a belated discovery that voluntarism is an integral factor in the Roycean theory of knowledge. Were it not obvious of itself, we have the emphatic utterances of Professor Royce himself in his address to this Association twelve years ago...

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Perception and Organic Action (1912) (On Henri Bergson)

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pp. 393-407

Every reader of Bergson-and who to-day is not reading Bergson-is aware of a twofold strain in his doctrine. On the one hand, the defining traits of perception, of commonsense knowledge and science are explained on the ground of their intimate connection with...

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The Existence of the World as a Logical Problem (1915) (On Bertrand Russell)

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pp. 408-415

Of the two parts of this paper the first is a study in formal analysis. It attempts to show that there is no problem, logically speaking, of the existence of an external world. Its point is to show that the very attempt to state the problem involves a self-contradiction: that...

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Whitehead's Philosophy (1937) (On Alfred North Whitehead)

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pp. 416-420

Mr. Whitehead's philosophy is so comprehensive that it invites discussion from a number of points of view. One may consider one of the many special topics he has treated with so much illumination or one may choose for discussion his basic method. Since the latter...


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pp. 421-425

About the Author

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pp. 427

E-ISBN-13: 9780253009005
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253211859

Page Count: 448
Publication Year: 2009