Tag Archives: John Dewey

The Evolutionary Ethics of John Dewey

The American philosopher John Dewey wrote another of my favorite philosophy passages in the last paragraph of his 1898 essay Evolution and Ethics. Dewey articulates in this paragraph what he sees as a monumental leap that occurs when human beings discover the mechanisms through which the evolutionary process unfolds. Dewey must have been feeling the […]

January 26

Everything Exists in Relationship

Things do not exist unless they exist in relationship with something else. In fact, things do not exist at all. Relationships exist. There are no individual things. The existence of anything is always contingent upon something else. When I was an undergraduate student I studied physics, but my favorite course in four years was one […]

November 12

Art and the Evolution of Consciousness

Did you know that American Avant-Garde painters, writers and musicians in the 1950’s were inspired by evolutionary philosophy? I just completed a weekend program with a group that I co-teach called The Evolutionary Collective and the connection between Art and Consciousness was central to our inquiry over the weekend. In the decades following World War […]

Nature Mystics and Scientific Progressives

The European Enlightenment produced two responses; Scientific Rationalism and Romanticism. The Scientific Rationalism represented in the science of Sir Isaac Newton and the philosophy of John Locke. Romanticism produced the writing of Goethe in Germany and the poems of Wordsworth and Coleridge in England. Newton and Locke advocated searching for truth in the empirical reality […]

Everything Exists in Relationship

Things do not exist unless they exist in relationship with something else. In fact, things do not exist at all. Relationships exist. There are no individual things. The existence of anything is always contingent upon something else. When I was an undergraduate student I studied physics, but my favorite course in four years was one […]

American Common Sense – or – How to Change the Truth

The American mind has been constructed on a few obvious attitudes and assumptions about life. One is a pronounced idealistic streak. The Europeans that settled in this land believed that they were creating a new world and – for better or worse – they became infused with an almost unshakeable belief in the assumption that progress […]

Is a Dog Really a Dog?

One of the great philosophical dividing lines has always been the line that separates the particular from the universal – the unique from the general.  We live in a world of both particulars and universals and philosophers have long argued over which is more real. Nominalists say that it is only the particulars that are […]

Into The Human Flow

I am currently completely captivated by the image of a Human Flow. The American Pragmatist philosophers developed a view of humanity as a constant flow of activity and society was a flow of flows. There is always a flow that organizes what people do, say and think. And there are local flows that flow into […]

The Evolving Truth of Pragmatism

In response to my last two posts a number of good points have been raised that I would like to start to address. Catherine has championed the idealism of Plato and Steiner against the Pragmatic vision and Don asked the devastatingly simple question “do I believe this?” In response to Don – I am still […]

The Self and the Social Organism

In my last post I explained that John Dewey believed that our self identity is a learned habit of identification that does not necessarily indicate the existence of any actually existing entity that could be called “a self.” We first learn to act and then we learn to identify those acts with an entity that […]