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Democracy and Education by John Dewey

This text delves into Dewey's philosophy of education, looking at the complex ways in which human beings come to know things, how education is necessary for the survival of the species. Dewey investigates education as a social reality, and how learning contributes to the growth and direction of cultural progress and the relationship between education and a thriving, free democracy. To see the direction Dewey takes, one might simply look at the chapter names, which include, "Interest and Discipline," "Experience and Thinking," "Thinking in Education." The pragmatic insistence on method, and the aim of integrating the subject matter with the goals of education -- whether the values associated with a free thinking democracy or some other evolving social experiment -- in order to produce a cultural history that is worthy of human and environmental energies.

Dewey then takes a look at what would define the term, education, and rethinks notions associated with classical, usually Greek and Roman models. "Play and Work in the Curriculum," "Labor and Leisure," "The Significance of Geography and History," "Science in the Course of Study" as educational values.

The text then gets somewhat more speculative, with attempts to describe a "Philosophy of Education." Dewey can speak about epistemology or "Theories of Knowledge," but the next breath -- and in this case, the next chapter -- will be about ethical and moral behavior: "Theories of Morals."

Other Online Articles by John Dewey

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Specializing in a name...

Is it a good idea to specialize in a single individual philosopher? Simone de Beauvoir? Merleau-Ponty? Irigaray? Or better to specialize in a particular topic, something obscure enough not to attract thousands of people to the questions? It's good to find a topic that is broad enough to insure interest beyond a series of papers. A good topic will gather together a small group of interesting writers/thinkers bringing all sorts of good questions.

Even a single name will draw together a group of names interested in angles and ideas. It's always good to compile a list of people that write on the topic of interest, gather together a bibliography for research and reference. A single figure will always have an array of topics that were or are of interest.

If you do find a philosopher that especially interests you, search out their personal history. Personal journals, both published and unpublished, can be an excellent source of information. Such ontic accounts help to create a sense of living history. Photographs help, too, not only of the philosopher, but of the landscapes and city locales. Novels that were popular at the time can help.

It's also interesting to search out the political events of a particular time whithin which the topic emerges. From world events to local events, if nothing else, it's fun to speculate on what might have influenced a thinker's thought. Trying to bring it close.

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