John Dewey's (1859–1952) life spanned nearly a full century, and his written work reflects a corresponding breadth of influences and interests. Dewey brought pragmatism to maturity by focusing on the pragmatic method of inquiry as an ever-ongoing, self-correcting, and social process. Dewey used the scientific method as a paradigm of controlled and reflective inquiry, and referred, in various works, to his version of pragmatism as "instrumentalism" and "experimentalism." Dewey combined Peirce's community-sense of inquiry with the affective elements of James's work. Furthermore, Dewey added a historical consciousness he inherited from his study of G. W. F. Hegel (1770–1831). As a result, Dewey's version of pragmatism deemphasized knowledge and belief as the sole ends of inquiry, and instead sought to combine intelligent reflection with intelligent action.
Dewey was born the same year as the publication of On the Origin of Species (1859), and Darwin's evolutionary thought had a profound impact on Dewey's contributions to pragmatism. Dewey's instrumentalism is a theory of the process of the transformation of an inchoate, problematic situation into a coherent unified one where knowledge is the product of inquiry and the means, or instrument, by which further inquiries may be made. Dewey's fallibilism, inherited from Peirce, holds that no belief, view, or claim to knowledge is immune to possible future revision. Whereas Peirce's fallibilism emphasized the revisability of scientific theories, Dewey sought to advocate the ways in which ongoing communication among diverse persons and experiences may inform and refine each other. Knowledge, for Dewey, was the product of inquiry, built out of the raw materials of experience. Knowledge, or "warranted assertability," is not a private affair. Rather, it is the result of intelligent and public interaction between communicating inquirers and their world.
- Pragmatism - Other Key Figures In The History Of Pragmatism
- Pragmatism - William James
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