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Edited by
Volume 19


First published in 1977
This edition first published in 2010
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John Dewey reconsidered

Edited by


Routledge & Kegan Paul

London, Henley and Boston
First published in 1977
by Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd
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British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

John Dewey reconsidered.—(International
library of the philosophy of education).
1. Dewey, John—Addresses, essays, lectures
I. Peters, Richard Stanley II. Series
191 B945.D44 77–30006

ISBN 0-203-86104-3 Master e-book ISBN

ISBN 0 7100 8623 7 (Print Edition)


General editor’s note   vii
1 Inquiry, thought and action: John Dewey’s theory of knowledge
Anthony Quinton
2 Language and experience
Jerome Bruner, Eileen Caudill and Anat Ninio
3 Dewey’s theory of interest
Alan R.White
4 The self in action
Martin Hollis
5 Democracy and education
Antony Flew
6 John Dewey’s philosophy of education
Index   79
General editor’s note

There is a growing interest in philosophy of education amongst students of philosophy as

well as amongst those who are more specifically and practically concerned with educa-
tional problems. Philosophers, of course, from the time of Plato onwards, have taken an
interest in education and have dealt with education in the context of wider concerns about
knowledge and the good life. But it is only quite recently in this country that philosophy of
education has come to be conceived of as a specific branch of philosophy like the philoso-
phy of science or political philosophy.
To call philosophy of education a specific branch of philosophy is not, however, to
suggest that it is a distinct branch in the sense that it could exist apart from established
branches of philosophy such as epistemology, ethics, and philosophy of mind. It would be
more appropriate to conceive of it as drawing on established branches of philosophy and
bringing them together in ways which are relevant to educational issues. In this respect
the analogy with political philosophy would be a good one. Thus use can often be made of
work that already exists in philosophy. In tackling, for instance, issues such as the rights of
parents and children, punishment in schools, and the authority of the teacher, it is possible
to draw on and develop work already done by philosophers on ‘rights’, ‘punishment’, and
‘authority’. In other cases, however, no systematic work exists in the relevant branches
of philosophy—e.g. on concepts such as ‘education’, ‘teaching’, ‘learning’, ‘indoctrina-
tion’. So philosophers of education have had to break new ground—in these cases in the
philosophy of mind. Work on educational issues can also bring to life and throw new light
on long-standing problems in philosophy. Concentration, for instance, on the particular
predicament of children can throw new light on problems of punishment and responsibility.
G.E.Moore’s old worries about what sorts of things are good in themselves can be brought
to life by urgent questions about the justification of the curriculum in schools.
There is a danger in philosophy of education, as in any other applied field, of polariza-
tion to one of two extremes. The work could be practically relevant but philosophically
feeble, or it could be philosophically sophisticated but remote from practical problems.
The aim of the new International Library of the Philosophy of Education is to build up a
body of fundamental work in this area which is both practically relevant and philosophi-
cally competent. For unless it achieves both types of objective it will fail to satisfy those
for whom it is intended and fall short of the conception of philosophy of education which
the International Library is meant to embody.
John Dewey was a philosopher who pre-eminently tried to relate his philosophy to prac-
tical concerns. He was also best known for his philosophy of education. It is therefore
appropriate that an attempt to reappraise both his general philosophy of man and society
as well as his philosophy of education, which was intimately connected with both, should
appear in the International Library of the Philosophy of Education.
viii  General editor’s note
This collection of papers was made possible by the generosity of the John Dewey Foun-
dation who gave a grant to the University of London Institute of Education to put on a
course of public lectures on John Dewey’s philosophy, in the hope that the reading and
study of the works of John Dewey would thereby be encouraged. After the lectures there
were countless requests that they should be made available in published form to be read
and examined at more leisure. This collection is a response to such requests.