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Dewey's Logical Theory

New Studies and Interpretations

Edited by Thomas Burke, D. Micah Hester, and Robert B. Talisse

Publication Year: 2002

"The material presented in this volume reflects a kind of sea-change in Dewey studies. It is not so much that these essays are uniformly positive or uncritical, for they are certainly not that. Their importance lies rather in the fact that serious scholarship on Dewey's logic, building on the solid advances won over the years by Thayer, Kennedy, Sleeper, Burke, and others, seems finally to have reached a critical mass. Perhaps even more important, when taken together these essays establish an important way-marker along a road that Dewey hoped his students would follow. They seek to push Dewey's ideas forward: to work out the consequences of his logic--his theory of inquiry--for a living philosophy."--Larry A. Hickman, from the Foreword Despite the resurgence of interest in the philosophy of John Dewey, his work on logical theory has received relatively little attention. Ironically, Dewey's logic was his "first and last love." The essays in this collection pay tribute to that love by addressing Dewey's philosophy of logic, from his work at the beginning of the twentieth century to the culmination of his logical thought in the 1938 volume, Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. All the essays are original to this volume and are written by leading Dewey scholars. Ranging from discussions of propositional theory to logic's social and ethical implications, these essays clarify often misunderstood or misrepresented aspects of Dewey's work, while emphasizing the seminal role of logic to Dewey's philosophical endeavors. This collection breaks new ground in its relevance to contemporary philosophy of logic and epistemology and pays special attention to applications in ethics and moral philosophy.

Published by: Vanderbilt University Press

Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-ix

There is probably no better measure of the resurgence of interest in John Dewey’s version of pragmatism than the book you now hold in your hand.Even as recently as a decade ago, it hardly seemed possible that a volume of thirteen original essays—fourteen, counting the excellent introduction—could be dedicated to his work on logic. The issue of commercial viability...

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Editors' Introduction

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pp. xi-xxiv

In 1938, John Dewey completed the mammoth volume Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, which some would consider the “crowning work” of his career (e.g.,Edman 1938, 5). Although Dewey had published dozens of articles in the philosophy of logic, some of the most important of which were assembledin the 1916 Essays in Experimental Logic, the Logic of 1938 features a unity of...

Part I. Situations, Experience, and Knowing

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pp. 1-

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1. The Aesthetics of Reality: The Development of Dewey's Ecological Theory of Experience

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pp. 3-26

The period between Dewey’s emergence as a major philosophical voice and his becoming the leading figure in the movement that became known as “pragmatism” is not well understood. That it was something of a mystery to Dewey himself is evident by the prominence it has in his intellectual autobiography, “From Absolutism to Experimentalism” (1930). In 1887,...

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2. Logic and Judgments of Practice

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pp. 27-42

”The Logic of Judgments of Practice,” first published in 1915 and then reprinted as the concluding essay of Dewey’s 1916 Essays in Experimental Logic, has been recognized as an important statement of Dewey’s developing naturalistic moral epistemology. It expands upon discussions to be found in earlier texts, such as “The Evolutionary Method as Applied to Morality”...

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3. Experimental Logic: Normative Theory or Natural History?

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pp. 43-71

In 1903 John Dewey and seven of his associates at the University of Chicago brought out eleven essays under the title Studies in Logical Theory. Four of these essays were authored by Dewey himself. If one contrasts these four papers with Charles S. Peirce’s own work in logic at this time—including the work sent by Peirce to Dewey, A Syllabus of Certain Topics of Logic...

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4. The Logical Reconstruction of Experience: Dewey and Lewis

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pp. 72-92

In his review article on Dewey’s logic, C. I. Lewis focuses his “brief comment” on the conception which he considers to be pivotal for Dewey’s“ logic and for his point of view in general,” and which he believes to be both correct and important: “the conception, namely, that meaning and action are essentially connected” (Lewis 1939, 572). As he elaborates on this...

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5. Dewey and Quine on the Logic of What There Is

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pp. 93-118

Standing apart from much of twentieth-century Anglo-American philosophy, both John Dewey and W. V. Quine hold that logic is a disciplinerelevant to the question of what exists. Logic is relevant to questions of existence, they agree, only because it is an integral component of an empirical-scientific understanding of the world, not some sort of...

Part II. Logical Theory and Forms

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pp. 119-

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6. Prospects for Mathematizing Dewey's Logical Theory

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pp. 121-159

This essay discusses ways in which contemporary mathematical logic maybe reconciled with John Dewey’s logical theory. Standard formal techniques drawn from dynamic modal logic, situation theory, fuzzy set theory and fuzzy logic, generative grammar, generalized quantifier theory, category theory, lambda calculi, game theoretic semantics, network exchange theory,...

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7. Designation, Characterization, and Theory in Dewey's Logic

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pp. 160-179

John Dewey’s Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938) provides an elaboration of the theoretical outcome of a rather exhaustive inquiry into inquiry. More specifically, it provides a general theory of inquiry that is proposed as clarifying and justifying three hypotheses regarding logical form.1 Given this aim of providing an exposition and defense of such a theory, it is hardly...

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8. Dewey's Logical Forms

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pp. 180-201

With his 1938 Logic, Dewey presents a theory of directed and controlled experimental inquiry. He claims that the control of inquiry depends on what he calls logical forms. They are the conditions which all inquiry must satisfy. Only knowledge of these general, and as such formal, conditions canfurnish axioms, or guiding principles, required for the control of inquiry,...

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9. The Role of Measurement in Inquiry

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pp. 202-224

Measurement, Dewey argues (1938, LW12:94), marks a fundamental differ-ence between ancient Greek conceptions of science and scientific practices today. In Aristotelian science, measurements hold the status of “accidents,” a technical term that contrasts with “essence.” The essence of an oak is its fully functioning oakness; it is mere accident that it is of a particular height...

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10. Qualities, Universals, Kinds, and the New Riddle of Induction

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pp. 225-235

In Fact, Fiction, and Forecast (1954), Nelson Goodman presented his “new riddle of induction,” illustrated by the famous grue predicate. The traditional problem of induction, viewed as a problem of justifying induction,may be disposed of easily enough, Goodman asserts, by noting that induction is no more justifiable without recourse to inductive arguments than...

Part III. Values and Social Inquiry

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pp. 237-

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11. Achieving Pluralism: Why AIDS Activists Differ from Creationists

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pp. 239-261

I will begin where Dewey ended, with the concluding words of Logic: Theory of Inquiry: Failure to institute a logic based inclusively and exclusively upon the operations of inquiry has enormous cultural consequences. . . . Since scientific methods simply exhibit free intelligence operating in the best manner available...

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12. The Teachers Union Fight and the Scope of Dewey's Logic

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pp. 262-274

During an internal dispute in the New York Teachers Union in 1932–33, John Dewey chaired a grievance committee. The committee’s initial report on the dispute was well received by the general membership. But their recommendation to suspend radical union members was not accepted, in part because of a mistake made by the union president. Dewey’s failure to be...

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13. Power/Inquiry: The Logic of Pragmatism

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pp. 275-285

Charles Peirce wrote that few people care to study logic. This still seems true today. Peirce explained that the reason for this lack of interest is that people already, if mistakenly, consider themselves proficient in logic. This explanation now seems false. People today do not refrain from the study of logic because they believe they already are good at logic. Instead, they don’t...

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About the Authors

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pp. 287-289

Thomas Alexander is professor at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is the author of John Dewey’s Theory of Art, Experience, and Nature: The Horizons of Feeling and coeditor with Larry Hickman of The Essential Dewey. In addition to articles on Dewey, he has published work on Native American philosophy, Santayana, aesthetics, and classical philosophy. He...

Name Index

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pp. 291-292

Subject Index

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pp. 293-318

E-ISBN-13: 9780826591371
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826513687
Print-ISBN-10: 0826513689

Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2002

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Dewey, John, 1859-1952.
  • Logic.
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