John Dewey

Overview

“[A] brilliant intellectual biography. . . . Ryan submits incisive, compressed accounts of Dewey’s important works and, with considerable flair, describes the major political debates into which Dewey entered. Ryan has an expert historian’s grasp on the major events of the century and weaves them skillfully through Dewey’s life story.” —Mark Edmundson, Washington Post Book World
When John Dewey died in 1952, he was memorialized as America's most famous philosopher, revered by liberal educators and deplored by ...

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Overview

“[A] brilliant intellectual biography. . . . Ryan submits incisive, compressed accounts of Dewey’s important works and, with considerable flair, describes the major political debates into which Dewey entered. Ryan has an expert historian’s grasp on the major events of the century and weaves them skillfully through Dewey’s life story.” —Mark Edmundson, Washington Post Book World
When John Dewey died in 1952, he was memorialized as America's most famous philosopher, revered by liberal educators and deplored by conservatives, but universally acknowledged as his country's intellectual voice. Many things conspired to give Dewey an extraordinary intellectual eminence: He was immensely long-lived and immensely prolific; he died in his ninety-third year, and his intellectual productivity hardly slackened until his eighties. Professor Alan Ryan offers new insights into Dewey's many achievements, his character, and the era in which his scholarship had a remarkable impact. He investigates the question of what an American audience wanted from a public philosopher - from an intellectual figure whose credentials came from his academic standing as a philosopher, but whose audience was much wider than an academic one. Ran argues that Dewey's "religious" outlook illuminates his politics much more vividly than it does the politics of religion as ordinarily conceived. He examines how Dewey fit into the American radical tradition, how he was and was not like his transatlantic contemporaries, why he could for so long practice a form of philosophical inquiry that became unfashionable in England after 1914 at the latest.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
American pragmatist philosopher John Dewey (1859-1952) was an outspoken anti-Stalinist who viewed with contempt American supporters of Soviet-style communism, yet he also warned against the threat to U.S. democracy posed by right-wing American nationalism and politically reactionary Catholicism. Princeton professor of politics Ryan casts Dewey as the quintessential philosopher of middle-of-the-road liberalism, and in this challenging, meticulously argued intellectual biography, he wrestles with Christopher Lasch, Richard Hofstadter, Robert Westbrook and others who have variously interpreted Dewey as an apologist for corporate capitalism or a leftish harbinger of participatory democracy. Stressing that Dewey disliked the modern corporation's routinized work habits and hierarchical structure, Ryan (Bertrand Russell) credits Dewey with synthesizing a secular faith in reform and education, a search for social connection beyond narrow individualism and a religiously inspired conviction that the world is a meaningful unity. Ryan's take on Dewey as a curious visionary who resists pigeonholing in his addressing of pressing current concerns makes this a rewarding, thought-provoking reassessment. Photos. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393315509
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/1963
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Ryan was warden of New College, Oxford University, and professor of political theory. The author of On Politics, John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism and Bertrand Russell: A Political Life, he currently teaches politics at Princeton University.

Edwin Burrage Child (b. 1868- d.1937) was an American painter primarily known for landscapes, figure subjects, and portraits.

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