Dewey on Democracy
John Dewey is not known primarily as a political philosopher, but democracy was a backbone of his thinking and his philosophy of education. It is across his lifetime and his considerable body of work that Dewey articulated the entire scope of his unique democratic theory as it related to education and growth, public life and politics, and aesthetic experiences.
The earliest window into Deweyan democracy is through the now classic 1896 article “The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology” where he dismantled the stimulus-response theory dominating the then-new science of psychology (Dewey 1896/2003). This article does not mention democracy or political life, but its import to Dewey’s emerging democratic concept is now clear. In this article, Dewey is starting to deconstruct the body-mind dualisms and the individualism that has plagued western philosophy and social sciences. Dewey “conceived...
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