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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter presents John Dewey’s philosophy in terms of three central commitments: a dynamic ontology of impermanence, change, and temporality; a descriptive logic of experimental inquiry; and a democratic politics of individuals having opportunities to share equally in the direction of communities that, in turn, provide resources needed for individual fulfillment consonant with shared goods. This account makes possible a critical assessment of Dewey’s account of democracy as a way of life. Commitment to Deweyan democracy, this chapter shows, requires faith, new kinds of inquiry and education, and difficult social change. After explaining these demands, the chapter examines three issues that necessitate additions and reconstructions to make Dewey’s thought a “pragmatism for realists”: relations of power embedded in experimental inquiries, practical limits to the effectiveness of democratic means for democratic ends, and the gap between tribal political realities and Deweyan inclusive ideals.

Keywords: Dewey, pragmatism, change, inquiry, democracy, faith, education, power, war, tribalism

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