PHIL 115 Lecture Notes - Progressive Education, Intellectual, John Dewey

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Published on 17 Apr 2013
School
Queen's University
Department
Philosophy
Course
PHIL 115
Professor
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 20th 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
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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
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Document Summary

Philosophy is the confession of the philosopher. Mother was a greater influence on dewey than his father was: are you right with jesus? his mother would always ask. Idea that general philosophy could be incorporated into science. Replacement child was given the name of his older brother who died as a baby. Started publishing in his late 20s and didn"t stop until his death. Particularly interested in the organic nature of any living thing. Philosophy departments at universities were mainly dominated by religion. 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 20th 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. Most philosophically sophisticated advocate of progressive education.

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