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date: 12 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the relationship of William James (1842–1910) and John Dewey (1859–1952). In particular, it attempts to tease out the ways in which Dewey’s thought drew upon ideas presented earlier by James. Among the Jamesian themes that appear in Dewey’s work are Dewey’s melioristic, pragmatic account of social practice; his emphasis upon the importance of habits in organized human life; his presentation of the role of philosophy as a means of improving daily life; his recognition of the social nature of the self; and his call for a rejection of religious traditions and institutions in favor of an emphasis upon religious experience. Clarifying Dewey’s relationship with James should in no way lessen the value of Dewey’s thought. Rather, it makes clearer the continuities that existed between these two pragmatic thinkers.

Keywords: Dewey, William James, philosophy, meliorism, pragmatism, habit, the social self

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