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Introduction to John Dewey "I believe that education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform. All reforms which rest simply upon the law, or the threatening of certain penalties, or upon changes in mechanical or outward arrangements, are transitory and futile.... But through education society can formulate its own purposes, can organize its own means and resources, and thus shape itself with definiteness and economy in the direction in which it wishes to move.... Education thus conceived marks the most perfect and intimate union of science and art conceivable in human experience." --John Dewey, My Pedagogic Creed, 1897 Class April 5, 2010 Agenda Discuss Dewey p1-58 Watch Pollack interview Discuss revised assignment • Read p. 207-239 Dewey handbook • Read Confrey and Maloney on Modeling Introduction to John Dewey Readings: Page 1-58 The Philosophy of John Dewey History Born October 1859 1879: Graduated from University of Vermont Studied Scottish realism and German idealism 1879-81:Taught High School in Pa 1881-- John Hopkins University 1884: U. of Michigan with Mead 1894: U. of Chicago in Philosophy, Psychology and Education Lab School with Alice Chipman 1904--Columbia University 1st President of AAUP Founded the Teachers Union 1952: Died at 92 years old Dewey as a Philosopher Continue asking the question of what is higher thought Continue raising the issue of how consciousness is a part of higher cognitive thought But, with Dewey, we introduce a new theme: Reason in pursuit of what? Piaget and Vygotsky take academic knowledge as given and seek to study genesis Dewey as a Philosopher What is the fundamental purpose of reason? How does genesis and the evolution of thought force one to reconsider an answer to this question? KEY CONCEPTS: Experience Action Education Dewey as a Philosopher We always live at the time we live and not at some other time, and only by extracting at each present time the full meaning of each present experience are we prepared for doing the same thing in the future. Experience and Education Philosophy is a generalized theory of criticism. From Absolutism to Experimentation The setting is the interaction of human organisms with nature or with the environment Nature has its own relatings– through experience Transaction is how we experience Realist, but meaning is our meaning Experience teems with inference, implication, comparison, retrospection, direction and meaning Aesthetics rest in rhythms Dewey as a Philosopher Pedagogy becomes the twin effort to integrate the directions of experience with the total needs of the person and to cultivate the ability of the individual to generate new potentialities in his experience and to make new relationships so as to foster patterns of growth Politics Life “I imagine my development has been controlled largely by a struggle between a native inclination towards the schematic and formally logical and those incidents of personal experience that compelled me to take account of actual material.” (p. 5.) Dewey in search of philosophical foundations Sought to heal separations and divisions Hence he appealed to Hegel– unification of subject and object Views of religion as secondary: “I have not been able to attach much importance to religion as a philosophic problem: for the effect of that attachment seems to be in the end a subordination of candid philosophic thinking to the alleged but factitious needs of some special set of convictions.” p. 7 … in fact they are moved more by partisan interest in a particular religion than by interest in the religious experience. Dewey’s identification of 4 influences on his intellectual development 1. Practice and theory of education are central “that philosophers in general,.., have not taken education with sufficient seriousness for it to occur to them that any rational person could actually think it possible that philosophizing should focus on education as the supreme human interest in which moreover other problems, cosmological, moral, logical, come to a head.” (p. 10.) Dewey’s identification of 4 influences on his intellectual development 2. Rejects dualism between science and morals “I have long felt that the construction of a logic that is, a method of effective inquiry, which would apply without breach of continuity to the fields designated by both of these words, is at once our needed theoretical solvent and the supply of our greatest practical want.” Basis of instrumentalism Dewey’s identification of 4 influences on his intellectual development 3. How to reconcile two strains: subjectivism and objectivism from James Psychology. How to interject psychology and not mathematics into philosophy? Discrimination, abstraction, conception and generalization Consider categories of living vs. mechanical: resulting in “life in action” The newer objective psychology supplies the easiest way, pedagogically if not in the abstract, by which to reach a fruitful conception of thought and its work to better our logical theories– provided thought and logic have anything to do with one another. (p. 12) Dewey’s identification of 4 influences on his intellectual development 4. “Importance of distinctive social categories Especially communication and participation. This “will ultimately result in an integrated synthesis in a philosophy congruous with modern science and related to actual needs in education, morals, and religion.” Link science and social science GO DUKE BEAT BUTLER………. Kant and the Philosophic Method Kant “perceives what all admit, that an individual organized in a certain specific way with certain senses, and external things acting upon these sense are conditions to our knowledge and then proceeds to identify respectively this individual with the subject, and these things with the object, in the process of knowledge.” Dewey recognized the problem The material which was supposed to confront Reason as foreign to it is but the manifestation of Reason itself. p.19 Organic relation: “The relation between subject and object is not an external one; it is one in a higher unity which is itself constituted by this relation. The only conception adequate to experience as a whole is the idea which we had formerly reached of a Reason which is both analytic and synthetic. P. 20 Dewey recognized the problem A Reason which differentiates itself that it may integrate itself into fuller riches, a Reason that denies itself that it may become itself. Such a Reason which is analytic in itself, and synthetic for something else, is the ultimate criterion of truth, and the theory of this reason is the Philosophic Method. P.20 Dewey draws on Hegel The categories which for the individual determine the nature of the object, and those which state how the object is brought into the subjective form of cognition, must be deduced from reason alone. Self consciousness is the super condition of all categories Dialectic is the construction by reason though its successive differentiations and resumptions of these differences into higher unities of just this system. Ralph Waldo Emerson as Philosopher Poet is a maker rather than a reflector. “We have yet to learn that the thing uttered in words is not therefore affirmed. It must affirm itself or no forms of grammar and no plausibility can give it evidence and no array of arguments. (p. 25.) Ralph Waldo Emerson as Philosopher Perception is more potent than reasoning Deliverance of intercourse more to be desired than the chains of discourse. His affair is to uncover rather than to analyze; to discern rather than to classify. We lie in the lap of immense intelligence which makes us organs of its activity and receives its truth. P. 29 Ralph Waldo Emerson as Philosopher All nature exists for the education of the human soul p. 29 If man is sick, is unable, is mean- spirited and odious, it is because there is so much of his nature which is unlawfully hidden from him. (p. 29.) Darwin on Philosophy The publication of the Origin of the Species marked an epoch in the development of the natural sciences is well known to the layman. That the combination of the very words origin and species embodied an intellectual revolt and introduced a new intellectual temper is easily overlooked by the expert. The conceptions that had reigned in the philosophy of nature and knowledge for two thousand years, the conceptions that had become the familiar furniture of the mind, rested on the assumption of the superiority of the fixed and final; they rested upon treating change and origin as signs of defect and unreality. In laying hands upon the sacred ark of absolute permanency , in treating the forms that had been regarded as types of fixity and perfection as originating and passing away, the Origin of the Species introduced a mode of thinking that in the end was bound to transform the logic of knowledge, and hence the treatment of morals, politics, and religion. Darwin on Philosophy Although the ideas that rose up like armed men against Darwinism owed their intensity to religious associations, their origin and meaning are sought in science and philosophy not religion. P. 32 To understand the intellectual face- about expressed in the phrase “Origin of the Species”, we must then, understand the long dominant idea against which it is a protest. (p. 33) Darwin on Philosophy The conception of eidos, species, a fixed form and final cause, was the central principle of knowledge as well as of nature. Upon it rested the logic of science. Change as change is mere flux and lapse; it insults intelligence. Genuinely to know is to grasp a permanent end that realizes itself through changes, holding them thereby within the metes and bounds of fixed truth. Completely to know is to relate all special forms to their one single end and good; pure contemplative intelligence. Darwin on Philosophy Since, however, the scene of nature which directly confronts us is in change, nature as directly and practically experienced does not satisfy the conditions of knowledge. Human experience is in flux, and hence the instrumentalities of sense-perception and of inference based on observation are condemned in advance. Science is compelled to aim at realities lying behind and beyond the processes of nature, and to carry on its search for these realities by means of rational forms transcending ordinary modes of perception and inference. P. 34 Darwin on Philosophy The human mind, deliberately as it were, exhausted the logic of the changeless, the final, and the transcendent, before it essayed adventure on the pathless wastes of generation and transformation. (p. 34.) Darwin on Philosophy Galileo: “It is my opinion that the earth is very noble and admirable by reason of so many and so different alternations and generations that are incessantly made herein.” Descartes: “ The nature of physical things is much more easily conceived when they are beheld coming gradually into existence, than when they are only considered as produced at once in a finished and perfect state.” Darwin on Philosophy “But prior to Darwin, the impact of the new scientific method upon life, mind, and politics, had been arrested, because between these ideal or moral interests and the inorganic world intervened the kingdom of plants and animals. The gates of the garden of life were barred to new ideas; and only through this garden was there access to mind and politics… When he said of species what Galileo had said of the earth, e pur se mauve, he emancipated, once and for all, genetic and experimental ideas as organon of asking questions and looking for explanations. (p.35.) Darwin on Philosophy Once admit that the sole verifiable or fruitful object of knowledge is the particular set of changes that generate the object together with the consequences that then flow form it, and no intelligible question can be asked about what, by assumption, lies outside. P. 38 “Interest shifts from the wholesale essence back of special changes to the question of how special changes serve and defeat concrete purposes; shifts from an intelligence that shaped things once and for all to the particular intelligences which things are even now shaping; shifts from an ultimate goal of good to the direct increments of justice and happiness that intelligent adminsitration of existent conditions may beget and that present carelessness or stupidity will destroy or forego. (p.39.) Darwin on Philosophy A focus on experience in the present The habit of derogating from present meanings and uses prevents our looking the facts of experience in the face; it prevents serious acknowledgement of the evils they present and serious concern with the goods they promise but do not as yet fulfil. It turns thought into the business of finding a wholesale transcendent remedy for the one and guarantee for the other. P. 39 Darwin on Philosophy Finally, the new logic introduces responsibility into the intellectual life. To idealize and rationalize the universe at large is after all a confession of inability to master the courses of things that specifically concern us. As long as mankind suffered from this impotency, it naturally shifted a burden of responsibility that it could not carry over to the more competent shoulders of the transcendent cause. But if insight into specific conditions of value and into specific consequences of ideas is possible, philosophy must in time become a method of locating and interpreting the more serious of the conflicts trhat occur in life, and a method of projecting ways for dealing with them: a method of moral and political diagnosis and prognosis. Dewey states pragmatism based in Darwin But a philosophy that humbles its pretensions to the work of projecting hypotheses for education and the conduct of mind, individual and social, is thereby subjected to test by the way in which the ideas it propounds work out in practice. In having modesty forced upon it, philosophy acquires responsibility. (p. 40) The Development of American Pragmatism Charles Pierce and Pragmatism Pragmatism Rules of art and technique based on experience and applicable to experience The art of making concepts clear or of construing adequate and effective definition in accord with the spirit of scientific method. Relation to definite human purpose The Development of American Pragmatism “the rational purport of a word or other expression, lies exclusively in its conceivable bearing on the conduct of life, so that, since obviously nothing that might not result from experiments can have any direct bearing upon conduct, if one can define accurately all the conceivable experimental phenomena which the affirmation or denial of a concept could imply, one will have therein a complete definition of the concept.” (p. 42) The Development of American Pragmatism Avoid two errors Pragmatism = action as the end Pragmatism= subordination of rational thought to ends of interest Action mediates In order to be able to attribute a meaning to concepts, one must be able to apply them to existences [by means of action] (p. 43) The Development of American Pragmatism Beliefs are really rules for action and the whole function of thinking is but one step in the production of habits of action. 1898 James “The ultimate test for us of what a truth means is indeed the conduct it dictates or inspires. But it inspires that conduct because it foretells some particular turn of experience which shall call for just that conduct from us.”(p. 44) Recognizes importance of motive or belief James claimed, “That in order to discover the proofs which will ultimately be the intellectual justification of certain beliefs– it is necessary to act in accordance with this belief.”(p. 48). Pragmatism is empiricism pushed to its legitimate conclusions Empiricism linked to Action Whereas for empiricism, in a world already constructed and determined, reason or general thought has no other meaning than that of summing up individual cases, in a word where the future is not mere word, where theories, general notions, rational ideas have consequences for action, reason necessarily has a constructive function. (P.50) Reference to James “A phrase of James very well summarizes its import: „the popular notion that “Science‟ is forced on the mind ab extra and that our interests have nothing to do with its construction, is utterly absurd‟”(p. 53-4) Empiricism linked to Action “the function of intelligence is therefore not that of copying objects in the environment but rather of taking account of the way in which more effective and more profitable relations with these objects may be established in the future.” (p. 54). Pragmatism Subject portion of environment Response , habit or to which a Concrete act manner reaction must be made Judgment is change in the original situation and own mind in concepts Pragmatism American philosophy has given to the subject, to the individual mind, a practical rather than epistemological function. The individual mind is important because only the individual mind is the organ of modification in traditions and in situations, the vehicle of experimental creation. (p. 57). Pragmatism Indispensible guide of intellectual and social life (p. 57.) Dewey reverses the view of knowledge If knowledge is not an end, and if its meaning comes from its placement in action, then reasoning is itself the basis of education---- and what we learn, the things we come to believe are only knowledge to the extent to which they facilitate future action and experience. He turns the problem on its head Considering this, how does Dewey relate to Piaget and Vygotsky?
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