John Dewey and American Democracy / Edition 1

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Overview

'Far and away the best book on (Dewey) yet. Westbrook's intellectual biography...is scholarship at its finest--a very unusual combination of vast learning, dialectical acuity and literary skill....This book will do a great deal to make Dewey more available and plausible, and to help his writings shape the imagination of a new generation of Americans.'--Richard Rorty, New Leader
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Neither a straight biography nor a narrow work of scholarship, John Dewey and American Democracy offers instead a briskly readable narrative of Dewey's lifework, focusing on his advocacy of democracy. . . . Westbrook's reconstruction of Dewey's evolving thought is detailed, sympathetic, and lucid."—The Nation
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Highly regarded but largely unread today, Dewey is generally considered a pragmatist in the mainstream of American liberalism. This exciting portrait of the philosopher as an advocate of participatory democracy and a political activist presents him as a more radical voice than is generally assumed. Although the anti-Stalinist thinker cared little for Marx and was quick to see the repressive nature of Soviet collectivism, he considered himself a democratic socialist in the 1920s and '30s, and questioned corporate capitalism's capacity to promote democratic values. Dewey often is blamed for ``aimless'' progressive education, but Westbrook, a historian at the University of Rochester, argues that his actual impact on U.S. schools was limited, and examines Dewey's vision of the school as a laboratory fostering social, cooperative impulses instead of competitive, selfish individualism. This study, intellectual biography of the highest order, reevaluates Dewey's thought as a signpost for the revitalization of democracy. Photos. June
Library Journal
Westbrook places the development of Dewey's political and social theory in the context of his metaphysical views as historically developed. For Dewey, the social good is joined to individual development. Thus, democracy is an ethical ideal rather than a mere practical accommodation. To deny the human capacity to judge and act intelligently, given appropriate enabling conditions, while swearing allegiance to democracy, Westbrook notes, was for Dewey a form of treachery. Westbrook claims that contemporary liberal-democratic ideology is treacherous in these terms. So, contrary to the prevailing view, he sees Dewey's as a radical voice, out of the mainstream, for liberalism and democracy. With the so-called ``linguistic turn'' in philosophy fading and philosophy building bridges to other disciplines and doors among the rooms in its own house, Dewey is recently being ``rediscovered.'' This treatment is thorough and instructive. It thus belongs in any library that would consider it.-- Bruce Um baugh, Univ. of Maryland, College Park
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801481116
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/1993
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 803,788
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 9.07 (h) x 1.35 (d)

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