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February 12, 2013 Phil Note.docx

5 Pages

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PHIL 115

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John Dewey, 1859-1952  Prolific philosopher  Philosophy is the confession of the philosopher  Born in Burlington, Vermont  Dewey was very shy, and modest  Mother was a greater influence on Dewey than his father was o “Are you right with Jesus?” his mother would always ask  Started publishing in his late 20s and didn’t stop until his death  “Replacement child” – was given the name of his older brother who died as a baby  Particularly interested in the organic nature of any living thing  Philosophy departments at universities were mainly dominated by religion  Idea that general philosophy could be incorporated into science  Adamantly opposed to Marxist views  Argued that there is one form of knowledge – inquiry  In his late 20s he was publishing a lot about general philosophical inquiries  Known better as a public intellectual during the first half of the 20 century  Always a moderately left of center political view, early critic of the Soviet Union  Not happy with the state of democracy in the United States, but was an advocate for democracy  Lost his final book  Most philosophically sophisticated advocate of progressive education  Second wife was thoroughly and actively disliked by everyone  Knowledge is the center piece of epistemology  Earlier assumption that the mind is separate from the world  Influenced by Charles Darwin, agreed with his theory of evolution  Objectivity and subjectivity should not be bridged  1929 – quest for certainty should be abandoned  Inquiry is the model that fits knowledge in general  Applies experimental inquiry to all the disciplines o Set of procedures for inquiry that need an interaction between the activity of the knower and the object that is known  Knowing is a two way relation  All intelligent thinking begins with problematic situation, in every discipline  We declare a hypothesis true if the practical consequences that follow…  Knowledge is not self-sufficing, but knowledge belongs to the life of any living organism o Tendency in rationalism is to think of the mind in purely objective terms _____________________________________________________________________________________  Close collaborator and fellow pragmatist with James  Knowledge is experimental inquiry  The object of knowledge is truth  We say a statement or hypothesis is true if it is warranted and assertible (back it up with a rational argument)  The truth is always contingent  What passes for knowledge today will not necessarily pass for knowledge for all time  All truth is always on probation – it works in our experience and passes for true, but a better idea may be thought of in the future  Knowledge, truth, reason and experience need to be understood on an organic model  Mind is standing to the world in a naturalistic way o The relation between mind and world is no different than an organism and its surroundings  P. 90  The merit about the design argument is that it may provide hope for the future – James o Dewey – a solution has to fit the specific problem  P. 52-53  All human experience, even the most elementary experiences, language structures our experiences of the world in general o There is no non-linguistic experience of the world  Language doesn’t appear in experience in the first place, it is an after thought o Dewey noted the idea that language is with us from the beginning  An idea is not warranted until it is accepted and a consensus is reached by the inquirers o Consensus is not a guarantee that we have discovered the truth o There are criteria  The quest for certainty should be abandoned, it does not exist, but there is still knowledge  There is no separation between reason and experience  P. 21, 56  Tendency in the rationalist way of thinking is to get lost in the real world  Philosophy must always be in the service of enhancing our experience of the world and solving social problems  P. 22, 55  Reason is experimental intelligence, it is the social practice of reasoning  He is a process philosopher – dynamic, fluid  All experience is experimental o The intelligent, rational element in our experience is experimental  Experience is more or less a stream of consciousness, reacting to what we perceive  We do not reason about the world in a vacuum  P. 48-49  How does the mind stand to the social world and experiential world?  Reason is not above experience and is not a method  Reason is inseparable from reason  P. 54  Any experience worth having is a learning experience, meaning it makes it possible for us to experience more things in a more intelligent way  Reason arises from experience  We should describe empirically, how we do think  P. 65  There is no realm of pure reason  Our experience grows  Being experienced means that someone has the ability to experience more and solve problems  Thinking is a response to the doubtful  Thinking is the practice of experimental inquiry…  Need to be cautious of the questions asked in philosophy  Our hypothesis is going to anticipate that certain consequences will emerge  Thinking involves making a hypothesis using empirical observation  The knower is not just a passive spectator in the world, thinking is the capacity to do something with reality  “Knowledge is power to transform the world” o Knowledge does not only give us the solution, it is the solution  We often have impatience in our thinking and an intellectual virtue  Government debt is a large p
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