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The Weight of Dogmatism: Investigating “Learning” in Dewey’s Pragmatism and Wittgenstein’s Ordinary Language Philosophy

  • Viktor Johansson
Chapter

Abstract

What is it to learn something? This essay is an attempt to give a treatment of our expectations and wants from an answer to that question by placing Dewey’s pragmatism and Wittgenstein’s ordinary language philosophy in conversation with each other. Both Dewey and Wittgenstein introduce philosophical visions and methods that are meant to avoid dogmatic responses to such questions. Dewey presents a vision of learning based on the view of the human organism transacting in its environment and in that way being involved with education without any other end than continual growth. By suggesting possible results of a Wittgensteinian investigation of our use of the word “learning ”, the essay also proposes a twist on Dewey’s theory of learning, which dissolves our need for a theory of learning as an answer to the question. This gives the child a voice in contexts where the word “learn” is used. An investigation of the use of “learn” becomes a method of releasing us from the dogmatic requirements that determine what learning is. Further, Dewey’s terminology comes to comprise examples of possible uses rather than being a statement as to what learning is.

Keywords

Wittgenstein Dewey Learning Ordinary language philosophy Dogmatism 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Humanities, Education and Social SciencesÖrebro UniversityÖrebroSweden
  2. 2.School of Education, Health and Social StudiesDalarna UniversityFalunSweden

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