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Preface  During the past few decades Pragmatist studies, and especially Dewey scholarship, have begun to enjoy broad international impact. Because of its potential for developing socially oriented versions of constructivism, Pragmatism is increasingly accepted as relevant to many contemporary discourses. More specifically, many contemporary constructivists are particularly attuned to Dewey’s penetrating criticism of traditional epistemology, which offers rich alternatives for understanding processes of learning and education, knowledge and truth, and experience and culture. Dewey insisted that philosophy and science are always embedded in contexts of cultural practice. His version of Pragmatism therefore provides important perspectives on the world of action and interaction, especially as those processes relate to participation in democratic institutions. It is against this background that we present this volume of contributions from American and German Dewey scholars. A result of cooperation between the Center for Dewey Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the Dewey Center at the University of Cologne , Germany, and building on the success of a conference held at the University of Cologne in 2001, it provides an excellent example of the international character of Pragmatist studies. As a part of their exploration of the many points of contact between classical Pragmatism and contemporary constructivism, its contributors turn their attention to theories of interaction and transaction , communication and culture, learning and education, community and democracy, theory and practice, and inquiry and methods. PAGE vii { vii } ................. 17147$ PREF 01-07-09 14:25:02 PS viii preface The volume contains three parts. Part I provides a basic survey of John Dewey’s Pragmatism and its implications for contemporary constructivism. In Chapter 1, Larry A. Hickman presents an overview of Dewey’s life and work. In Chapter 2, Stefan Neubert describes the main themes of Dewey’s approach. In Chapter 3, Kersten Reich outlines some of the most important developments in contemporary constructivism and demonstrates their connections to Pragmatism. Part II provides an elaboration of the essays in Part I by examining the theoretical implications of the connections between Deweyan Pragmatism and contemporary constructivism. In Chapter 4, Kenneth W. Stikkers discusses the problematic reception of Pragmatism in Europe, especially Germany, in the early twentieth century. His focus is Max Scheler’s complex reaction to the works of Charles Sanders Peirce and William James as their versions of Pragmatism relate to Scheler’s own sociology of knowledge. Stikkers discusses some of the reasons German scholars have been slow to engage Dewey’s ideas, and he demonstrates some of the ways in which problems of translation still affect international studies in Pragmatism. In Chapter 5, Jim Garrison introduces his own constructivist reading of Dewey’s work by establishing a line of development between Dewey’s pathbreaking 1896 essay on the reflex arc and the social constructivism explicit in his later works. Garrison demonstrates the relevance of classical Pragmatism to current issues in the philosophy of education, highlighting key theoretical and conceptual components of the cultural construction of meanings, truth claims, and identities. Kersten Reich, in Chapter 6, explicates the distinction among observers , participants, and agents from the perspective of the Cologne program of interactive constructivism. He demonstrates numerous connections between constructivism and Dewey’s Pragmatic theory of inquiry. Dewey, for example, had already distinguished spectators, agents, and participants, even though he did not articulate those distinctions in a systematic way. Reich thus builds upon Dewey’s insights , suggesting ways in which a constructivist theory of observation can enrich contemporary Pragmatist arguments. PAGE viii ................. 17147$ PREF 01-07-09 14:25:03 PS preface ix Larry A. Hickman reminds us in Chapter 7 of some main traits of classical Pragmatism and their potential as critical tools for contemporary discussions about Pragmatism and constructivism. He explores the vitality of Pragmatist thought and the usefulness of its basic tenets as resources for philosophic criticism. He is particularly interested in what he terms the problems of ‘‘cognitive relativism’’ in postmodern and neo-Pragmatist discourses (such as one finds in the work of Richard Rorty and others). From this standpoint he poses critical questions for the Cologne program of interactive constructivism. Hickman argues for a strong rearticulation of Dewey’s instrumentalism and experimentalism and emphasizes its relevancy for our current situation. In Chapter 8 Stefan Neubert discusses some of the central theoretical perspectives on culture and cultural practices implied in Pragmatism and interactive constructivism. He compares basic conceptual tools and interpretive approaches and shows that Dewey’s work continues to provide fundamental resources in this field. In this connection , he provides a...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780823246991
Print ISBN
9780823230181
MARC Record
OCLC
607853761
Pages
288
Launched on MUSE
2012-07-18
Language
English
Open Access
N
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