Tag Archives: John Dewey

The Illusion of Freedom and Thought

Inevitably if we start to talk about social conditioning the topic of human freewill comes into play. When you begin to recognize, as John Dewey did, that so much – if not all – of the ways that we act and think and feel are really an outpouring of socially acquired habits, you begin to […]

The Ego is Not the Cause of Action

The American philosopher John Dewey was against the notion that there is any entity that could be called an ego that is the cause of our choices and actions. Activity happens as a response to the changing environment not as a consequence of decisions made by a willing agent. As I explained in my last […]

The Habits of John Dewey

The American philosopher John Dewey described social institutions, customs and norms as habits that develop in society over time. He is quick to point out that habits are not merely passive boundaries that limit activity to certain well worn grooves. Habits he insists are energetic, they drive us to action. Anyone who has ever struggled […]

Are We All Institutionalized?

We might be. I wanted to share some more thoughts as I read John Searle’s new book “Making the Social World“And one of the things that has struck me profoundly about social reality is the degree to which we are in fact all institutionalized. Think about it – most people in the developed west who […]

Emerson’s Process Philosophy

The American Pragmatists outlined in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a profound evolutionary process philosophy. The view of reality  they explored was one in which all of reality was seen as an unending flow of energy. Human life was part of that flow, even the physical forms of material objects were part of […]

We are the Conscious Part of the Universe

Now that I have got out some of my thoughts about the nature of truth I thought that I would respond directly to some of Chuck R’s earlier comment. (This is how this diversion got started after all.) Chuck in his comment takes a stab at what he believes many people on this blog – […]

The Emergence of John Dewey

As I think more about the way John Dewey was seeing the world I can only think in terms of emergence. Dewey seemed to see the world emerging constantly as an interconnected whole, not as separate pieces. He saw each moment as the eruption of a total affair, a total event. The world is a […]

Dynamic Engagement with the Universe

I had the pleasure to spend last weekend at a conference dedicated to American philosophy. It was the annual conference of SAAP (The Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy.) During the three days I heard some fascinating and illuminating papers read and discussed, all related to topics that we often discuss here on this […]

Cosmos, Consciousness and Culture

It was almost exactly one year ago today that I started this blog so I guess this is my first anniversary post. I started the blog because I wanted to explore the relationship between classical American Philosophy and the teaching of Evolutionary Enlightenment which I have been involved with for 18 years. What I found […]

John Dewey and Cultural Evolution

What I see in John Dewey’s Instrumentalism is a compelling theory of how the evolution of culture can be consciously guided. Dewey’s ideas about directing the further development of culture rest squarely on his understanding of objects as things with meaning and his understanding of meaning as always pointing to some future utility. For Dewey a thing, […]