Dewey by Steven Fesmire

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By Steven Fesmire

John Dewey (1859 - 1952) was once the dominant voice in American philosophy throughout the global Wars, the good melancholy, and the nascent years of the chilly struggle. With a qualified occupation spanning 3 generations and a profile that no public highbrow has operated on within the U.S. due to the fact, Dewey's biographer Robert Westbrook competently describes him as "the most vital thinker in glossy American history."

In this marvelous and interesting creation, Steven Fesmire starts off with a bankruptcy on Dewey’s existence and works, sooner than discussing and assessing Dewey's key rules around the significant disciplines in philosophy; together with metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, ethics, academic philosophy, social-political philosophy, and spiritual philosophy.

This is a useful advent and advisor to this deeply influential thinker and his legacy, and crucial analyzing for somebody coming to Dewey's paintings for the 1st time.

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A gifted child, he died in Ireland of typhoid fever at age eight, leaving his parents inconsolable. Alice experienced severe bouts of depression for the remainder of her life. Dewey was shaken by these losses. In his ethical and political writings he would come to highlight the need to see beyond confused conditions so that we may eventually construct more desirable circumstances. Yet he and Alice understood, painfully, that some conditions do not yield readily to reconstruction and that wresting meaning from tragic situations does not in all cases better prepare one to deal with similar situations in the future.

Dewey argued that assimilating immigrants to existing conditions is not the problem. 41 In 1917–18 Dewey had a brief relationship with Yezierska. 42 In his poems Dewey lamented “the woes of fresh made hells” that arise when one has to be satisfied not with romantic fulfillment, but with bittersweet memories. ”43 He discarded one batch of poems in the late 1920s, but they were salvaged from his wastebasket by a librarian. Another “mess of loose scraps of poetry” was discovered in 1939 by his colleague Schneider, who had inherited Dewey’s office and roll-top desk.

The worldly pragmatist ensures that some portion of our ideals may be realized, which we presume is better than none at all. Yet Dewey rejected the fixed ideals that are usually presupposed in such machinations. Pragmatism in the colloquial sense, no matter how valuable, could be no more than a small part of an adequate philosophy. A pragmatism whose sole role is to compensate for excesses would lack legs of its own. 8 William James, Pragmatism, in Writings 1902–1910 (New York: Library of America, 1988 [1907]), 508.

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