The Essential Uncertainty of Thinking: Subject and Education in John Dewey

  • Vasco d’Agnese


In this chapter, d’Agnese analyzes the questions of thinking and subject in Dewey’s oeuvre and discusses the educational consequences that follow from such an analysis. Specifically, d’Agnese argues that Dewey revealed a radical uncertainty at the core of human thinking while dismantling the understanding of the subject as a detached and self-assured center of agency. In Deweyan thinking, inquiry and reflection are to be understood as the power to evolve new ways of acting, creating new points of interaction within experience and thus pushing experience forward. This understanding of thinking, cognition and subject has far-reaching consequences for education, which must be conceived not as the attempt to master and control experience but as the means to create new, unpredictable experience by introducing new points of interaction into our relationship with the environment, changing our being-embedded-in-the-world. Dewey repositions educational, intentional agency away from control and mastery and in the direction of growth and openness.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vasco d’Agnese
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Campania Luigi VanvitelliCasertaItaly

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