The Philosophy of John Dewey[1]

THE most illuminating conception that has been found for the interpretation of the history of the American community has been that of Professor Turner, that of the Pioneer. He traveled light, and what he carried with him had to be useful enough to justify its transportation. Most utensils had to serve more than one purpose, and this as true of the institutions which he carried with him as of other tools, and as true of the ideas which lay behind these institutions. He practiced a severe economy in both institutions and ideas. He carried with him the rudiments of government and schools and church. A handful of these pioneers could organize any one of them. They had unspeculatively selected out of the ideas which their Puritan forbears had brought over with them those that were absolutely essential for a moral and political order, and with these they made out astonishingly well. The ideas had the stamp of a Calvinistic theology, but it was a Calvinism that had left behind the traditional ecclesiastical and political order from which it had arisen in revolt. It had no battles to fight. It had only to give coherence of some sort to the straggling line of little communities that pushed farther and farther toward the setting sun. No one felt that he had to justify his ideas in terms of a system of thought. Men did not think their ideas--they lived them. Out of them grew states and churches and schools and colleges, and with them men fought their moral and political and legal battles, and never dreamed of criticizing their fundamental ideas. That is, they, had no

(65) speculative philosophy. They never doubted a moral order of the world that would justify itself in history and in a world to come. That moral order was no problem of theirs. They were perfectly willing to leave that to God. It was a structure of ideas that was frankly dualistic: man versus a hostile nature, the individual over against the consolidating community, the sinner before an angry God, the soul in a body, and a mind that made use of natural law.

A simplified form of Scottish Common Sense philosophy met the needs of their college curricula when colleges arose out of academics and schools. Porter and McCosh formulated the doctrine. It was not a system that was likely to arouse speculative thought on the part of students. It was not taught with that in view. Its background was theological and therefore dogmatic. It recognized the problems of thought and conduct only to settle them magisterially in the form of Common Sense.

Back on the Atlantic seaboard were communities that were in closer touch with European thought. The romantic philosophy of Germany filtered through English media, awakened the genius of Emerson and the lesser lights of the Concord School, and this came to the America beyond the Alleghenies in books and the lyceums, but it came not so much as philosophy as culture. Transcendentalism made no display of the dialectic of Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. It was not a method of thinking. It was a fashion of feeling the universe and one's self, and was more akin to poetry and emotional contemplation than to any attempt to grapple with the function and problems of knowledge and the nature of reality.

The American college had oriented itself with reference to the theological seminary, especially in philosophy, but turned in its growth to European universities for guidance. The prestige of German universities and their hospitality to the foreign student opened that door, and neo-Hegelianism in English thought and publications interpreted the great systems of the Romantic philosophers to students who were seeking to get into the

(66) stream of intellectual life that was flowing through the western  world. The outstanding expression of this was found in the Spirit of Modern Philosophy  and The World and the Individual of Josiah Royce. John Dewey, having graduated at the University, of Vermont, went to Johns Hopkins University for his graduate work and wrote his thesis on Kant and his philosophic method. He was in the same stream of thought. He mastered the Hegelian dialectic and was in sympathetic relations with the Hegelians in St. Louis, Missouri, especially with Harris. Morris, the neo-Hegelian head of the department of philosophy at the University of Michigan, brought him to Ann Arbor, where his professorial career opened. In so far as the philosophy taught in American colleges was anything more than a common sense formulation of a theological pattern of the ideas of which men had to be conscious to work their simplified institutions and direct their conquest of surrounding nature, in so far as philosophy was more than this, it was a part of the culture, the assimilation and dissemination of which was the chief function of the college in the American community, at that period. And culture meant that part of the European heritage of the pioneer which he could not take with him in his advance across the continent. And so culture was no part of his essential conduct. It was an adornment of life rather than an interpretation of life. It came afterwards when the essential structure of the community was laid and erected. Culture was in the way of "interior decoration." It did not arise out of the nature of the structure but was added to it. It was a matter of taste, not of logic. The possessors of this culture did not through its possession become any of the technicians of American society, its politicians, its business men, its preachers, its farmers, its industrial laborers, or its common school teachers. The neo-Hegelianism which Royce presented so brilliantly, and with an originality of his own, was a part of this culture. The Hegelian formulation of Romantic Idealism had grown out of just those phases of European history and civilization which had not been brought

(67) over on the "Mayflower" or on its fellows and followers. It was an undertaking to transfer to the self what had been embodied in the institutions of a universal church and Holy Roman Empire those ideas which, while they had never been realized, had been so essential a part of the spirit of the western world. The religious schisms and wars, the political heresies and revolutions had all found their nourishment in the ideals of these shadowy institutions. The Universal Church never succeeded in taking up into itself the spiritual life of Europe, and the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor in empire, but they carried the social ideals of the European community, and out of the clash between the ideals and reality had arisen Protestantism and its churches, the modern state, experimental science, the common school, and tile modern university. These revolts against Medievalism had never abandoned the ideas which Medievalism had scholastically and dogmatically, institutionalized. Each revolt professed to embody, the ideas and ideals which made up the structure of that universal society, which Church and Empire had prefigured. And the successes and failures of these realizations made up the wider life of European spirit. The Puritanism which emigrated to America came away to leave its enemies behind it. It would develop its logic in its own community without contact and conflict with ecclesiastical establishment or monarchical imperialism. In a word, America undertook in the essentials of its community life, that is in the religious and political ideas that it actually made use of, to live without Europe. And in doing this America abandoned European culture as a vital part of its living. Culture in Europe was the training of ruling classes, the imaginative salvage of the past in present experience, the sense of that universe of discourse, that aesthetic realm, that community of political ideals, within which competing and warring nations fought, struggled, and communed. It was part of the equipment for the most far-reaching activities in these European communities. But it was to get rid of these European communities that the determining

(68) minds in American society had come to America. America could not have its cake and eat it, or rather it had to take its culture in form of cake, not in the form of daily bread. 

It was then in a philosophy that belonged to interior decoration and not to the criticism of life that John Dewey received his preferred training. He selected the philosophic muse because he had a great speculative mind. He mastered easily and competently the obscure and abstruse dialectic of Hegelianism, and took his technical facility with its cultural background to a professor's chair in an American college that was feeling its way into the function of a university. The training had this advantage for him, that it had freed him from the trammels of the Common Sense philosophy with its dogmatic dualisms. It gave him the assurance that thought and its object were found in the same world, that the function of thinking was not to exhaust itself in building bridges between the mind and its world -- bridges which had to be condemned as non-viable before they could be completed. In other words he came to his life work with the conviction that epistemology was either a false or an unmeaning discipline, that the problem of knowing was a problem of living and not a problem of elaborating the arches of impossible bridges between thought and the world within which it was active. The Hegelian solution of the seeming disjunction of mind and the world that it knows consisted in the transfer of the world to mind. The object of knowledge is itself a structure of thought, and there can be no problem in the connection of thought and its own construct. The formula of Professor Morris, who was the head of the department of philosophy at Ann Arbor, was that, as there could be in knowledge no subject without an object so there could be no object without a subject. But this was not a subjective idealism, in which the objective world was reduced to states of inner experience. It was a so-called objective idealism in which the incompleteness of the self and its experiences are filled out by the merging of the self in the universal self. The universe as object

(69) is the thought construct of the absolute self, of which our selves are finite but organic phases. It was the logic rather than the metaphysics of this system that fascinated Dewey, the function of thought in the structure of the object, the evidence in thinking that thought and its object lie within the same experience. This position Dewey has never abandoned; there never swept for him between our thinking and its world all unplumbed, salt, estranging sea. He did not have with Kant to be waked from dogmatic slumbers by the skepticism of Hume.

Dewey was not only a neo-Hegelian he was also an American. He early recognized and criticized the dominatingly cultural character of the American college, and his interest from the beginning of his career was in conduct. His first considerable work was a psychology. It was written from an idealistic standpoint but with the full output of the recent physiological and experimental psychology before him. In it we find the central interest in the will and the emotions as determined by intelligence. We find a genuine and immediate interest in the analysis of immediate experience and all un-Hegelian assumption that the intelligence that appears in the control of conduct can be trusted for its interpretation and its morality. And it is to morality as intelligence in conduct that he turns concentrated attention. He has carried over from his Hegelian logic the conception of reality as a process, a process in which the object arises. His definition of the one moral reality is the full free play of human life, and his approach to the study of this moral reality is not the logic of Hegel nor the analysis of society based upon this logic. His approach is the analysis of the act in terms of the impulse, the feelings, the idea, and habit. His undertaking is to show that the moral object or end not only arises in the process of the expression of the impulses but that it is constituted by them, as these are informed by experience and organized into the unity of character. Here also his idealistic background gave him conceptions which enabled him to work out his psychological ethics. For Dewey the distinction between the

(70) organism and its environment is only a distinction in phases of the process, whether this process is called psychological or biological. He criticizes the ethics and the evolutionary doctrines of Herbert Spencer from this standpoint. The organism determines its environment as genuinely as the environment determines the organism. The digestive and assimilative process is as determinative of food as the food is of digestion and assimilation. There is a continuous process through which one can draw no line that separates the organism from its environment. Food and the alimentary organs are objects only as phases in that process. In the same fashion it selects its environment by its sensitivity, and builds up its meaning out of its experiences of successful and defeated expression. The control of the process is intelligence. There is no norm but the fulness of the life of the individual, and the attainment of that norm is possible only through the ideas which arise out of past expressions of our impulses, this control being the will. Here then arise our objects which Dewey presents as our interests. The term is favored by him because it expresses both our impulses and desires and that in which they eventuate. It is both subjective and objective, or rather it is a statement of the process of action at the point at which the distinction between subjective and objective disappears. Dewey has four definitions of the moral end, "the realization of the individuality," "the performance of specific functions," "the satisfaction of interests," and "the realization of a community of individuals." The first might be called distinctively ethical, the second biological, the third psychological, and last sociological; but they are but different aspects of the same. It is important to note the last. The moral end is necessarily social because the individual is social. He can act only in a social environment just as an animal can live only in a certain environment. His ends must be social ends just as an animal's food must be what he can digest. Dewey's ethics has its home in a social habitat as genuinely as Hegel's, but the individual is no thrall of society. He constitutes society as genuinely as society constitutes the individual.


Dewey took over then from his training in Absolute Idealism the conception of intelligence is a process in which subject and object appear as different functions, and the conception of reality is a process; and he carried these conceptions into the psychology of moral conduct, and into the interpretation of evolution. Psychology and biology had developed as autonomous sciences which were studying intelligence. Dewey accepted their findings and in his analysis of conduct used the pregnant conceptions he had acquired in his mastery of Hegelian dialectic. But he never made the Hegelian error of distorting science to fit it into the dialectic. Nor was Dewey minded to follow the cultural lead of Royce. Neo-Hegelianism in England presented an Absolute Idealism which in a period of theological distress and social reform served the purposes of earnest students in Scottish and English universities. The church with its doctrines was bound up with the social order and its ultimate significance in the universe in the minds and emotions of these men in a fashion which was European and not American. Institutions in America have been valued and assessed for what they did, not for what they are, for they have been too notoriously fashioned by American legislatures to be venerated. The doctrines of the church were inextricably bound up with an historical account of the world which had been badly shattered by nineteenth-century science. How to accept the enlightenment of science and still to preserve those chalices into which had been distilled all the values of the past was the problem for which Absolute Idealism offered a solution that appealed to men of the type of Green and the Cairds. From the standpoint of this doctrine no human account of the world can be true in an absolute sense. The truth which any formulation possesses is found in its dialectical relation to what goes before and what succeeds it. As it stands it has all the truth of which human minds are capable. In the identification of experience with the process of reality from the standpoint of the "Idee" one could realize the noumenal in the phenomenal. One could still worship the timeless Absolute in the temporal medium of

(72) doctrine and institution through which he shone. And Green could even find in the organic relation of selves to each other in the absolute self an inspiration toward social and political reform. But this attitude was only, possible for a man who was not only gifted with remarkable speculative ability, but belonged also to that gentleman class which was endowed by her institutions and social feudalism with the privilege of governing England. A higher intelligence could bring out the implications of old customs and loyalties, implications that were unconscious in the lower classes. Even neo-Hegelianism had for a period an interpretative value for social life for the Scottish and Oxford group. Absolute Idealism made no contacts with the institutions of American churches or American politics, and no social worker in American cities could have written a book on "The Faith of a Social Worker" from the standpoint of neo-Hegelianism. The students who gathered around Josiah Royce found in his luminous expositions another cathedral window through which to receive the culture of Europe but no method of living.

It was thought as a method of life that Dewey sought. He wrung it first out of the psychology of the impulse, and prescribed intelligence as the principle of control in moral conduct. The next field within which he applied this principle was that of education. Control of conduct is a problem that is always with us. Education was a problem that came to him with his children and that engrossed not only him but Mrs. Dewey, who had as profound a belief as had Mr. Dewey, in the intelligence of right action. Here the psychological analysis which he had carried through in study of the development of the impulse into ordered character in enlightened conduct served step for step to fashion his educational practice and doctrine. He worked it out in the Experimental School associated with the Department of Philosophy, Psychology, and Education, of which he was the head, in the University of Chicago. Here his conception of the interest as presenting the object as it arises in the act as well as the attitude of the individual, whose act it is, furnished

(73) him with just the tool that he needed. In the place of education is a training that gives children the techniques of number and of language, which they must acquire before they can manipulate them, and pours into their minds information that they must absorb before they can use it, Dewey insisted that the child's experience in education must be what that of the developing impulse has always been, its interpretation through results obtained and sought. There can be no objects in the child's mind which do not arise out of his own experience and it is only with objects in the children's own experience that the educator can operate. Dewey constantly insisted that the intelligence in education must be found in the intelligence of the children, that the child's mind can be trained only in so far as the objects with which they are occupied arise out of their interests and their own problems. Back of educational theory and practice, especially educational practice, has lain the assumption that the objects with which the curricula deal are just what they are, and can be passed over to the child's mind in unbroken packages. Dewey's conception of reality as a process within which the object lies compelled him to state the content of the curriculum in terms of the children's experience, and to force pedagogues to recognize that it is only through following the operation of the child's mind that that mind can be trained. There is only one method of intelligence and it becomes the educator to approach its exercise in children with reverence and not with condescension. The whole of Dewey's educational doctrine flows from the translation of school into the actual life of the child in the exercise of his own intelligence. While his ethics is in the profoundest sense practical it still appeared in a treatise and textbooks and did not immediately reach the community. His educational experiment and the doctrine that he subjected to the test of experience touched a vital problem that is close to the interest of the American and, as it proved, to the European. Dewey became first generally known as an educator much more widely than as a philosopher, and yet his educational

(74) doctrine was the simplest and most immediate application of his philosophy. The next important landmark in the development of his philosophy was the appearance of his Studies in Logical Theory. Upon a background of criticism of Lotze's logic that still recognized sensations as psychical affairs, subjective occurrences, that must in some way be brought into relation with a reality that is external to them, Dewey placed the whole process of knowledge within conduct and conduct within nature. The position that he attacks is one which regards knowing as a mental affair which is extraneous to the object known, which therefore lies outside of the nature which in science and practical conduct we seek to know. Dewey again returns to intelligence in conduct. Undoubtedly knowledge lies within the field of intelligence. It is a particular type of intelligence, one that is reflective and deliberative. It involves the isolation of meanings and the appearance of ideas. But this form of intelligence arises naturally out of situations in conduct and leads up to further conduct which is informed with the values which have been attained in the moment of reflection. Intelligence we can trace back to the conduct of animals and to that of plants. This intelligence is not reflective, but it is Dewey's contention that reflective intelligence is but the further evolution of a natural process. The first striking implication of this position is that our own experience in so far as it is not reflective does not involve knowledge. If we speak of this experience as conscious experience, it is not "consciousness of." Experiences simply are, like other occurrences in nature. Thus, there are great fields of our experience, such as those of having, possessing, enjoying, suffering, which are not knowledge experiences. The current assumption that because we apply the ambiguous term "consciousness" to all our experiences they must involve consciousness of objects, and therefore be knowledge experiences, Dewey abandons. Knowledge for Dewey is not a state of static relationship between a mind and its object, but a knowing, a finding out, a discovery. It is set in operation

(75) always by some sort of  problem. Conduct is estopped. Impulses to action are in conflict with each other and are thus inhibited.

In similar situations animals blunder about and may by fumbling and success, or trial and error, solve their problem -- that is, conduct may go on again. In man intelligence has developed a higher technique of deliberation, by mean of which we learn in what way we may continue our checked activities. The elaborated technique of this process we find in scientific research. An exception to an accepted law or rule of scientific action stops further action in accordance with that law. The scientist gives attention to the relationships in nature which have appeared as this and other laws. This attention to particular relations we call abstraction. He defines the particular exception, and thus abstracts this and gathers other instances of it, that is, his data. In the presence of these selections of relations in nature and of occurrences in nature he looks for other relationships which will give him another rule of scientific conduct, another statement of it law of nature which enable him to continue his scientific activity. That is, he forms a hypothesis, and then sees if it will work, if he can proceed in his scientific activity without encountering exceptions. If he has succeeded he says he now knows what at the appearance of the problem he did not know. Dewey maintains, that all knowledge in the sense in which the logician and the epistemologist has dealt with it is of this sort. The scientist has only worked out the details of the process, and the logicians and the metaphysicians have isolated certain stages in the process. It is never a setting up of a cognitive one to one relation between certain states of mind and certain objects outside of mind. The problem of knowledge then is not to find out how we can get from a state of mind to an object outside of mind, but how an intelligence that lies within nature can so reorganize its experience that the activities of the inhibited individual can proceed. Knowing is then as natural a process as running or eating or bearing children, as living or dying. It follows from

(76) this that the test of the knowing is the test of the hypothesis, i.e., does it work? Can the inhibited conduct go on again successfully? If it can the scientist says that he has discovered a new law of nature, that he now knows something that he did not know before. This is the pragmatic test of truth, not in the agreement between in idea and an object external to it, but in the success of a plan of action. Such success is always accompanied with satisfaction, and it has been said that the pragmatist's test of truth is satisfaction. This evidently is putting the cart before the horse.

Thinkers may and indeed do differ as to Dewey's success in bringing all the processes of thinking within his account of a conduct that is itself it part of nature. Final judgment will have to await his system of logic which has been promised, and upon which he is still occupied, but the essential pattern of his treatment has been given, and upon this I do not think that weighty criticisms will lie so much as upon the philosophical formulation of logical doctrine. That is, there is no reason to suppose that Dewey will not be able to find place within his pattern for the whole paraphernalia of implication, of propositions, and of reasoning. The criticisms will rather lie against the metaphysical implications of the doctrine. Thought undoubtedly has an evident and, one may say, an organic place within the conduct which lies within nature, but it also seems to transcend nature. We think about nature. Nature, the universe, is and has been since very distant times the subject of men's most intense thinking. Perhaps the thought of the universe as a whole which we can place over against our contemplation involves some hidden contradiction, but in any case Dewey's own account of conduct expressly makes it an object of thought; that is, the thinking that has its only legitimate place within conduct seems to be able to transcend that conduct, to form a judgment upon it, and yet by Dewey's criterion that judgment can only be tested by the conduct that it judges. Perhaps the underlying difficulty

(77) can be brought out by pointing out that thinking takes place in terms of universals, and a universal is an entity that is distinguishable from the object by means of which we think it. When we think of a spade we are not confined in our thought to any particular spade. Now if we think of the universal spade there must be something that we think about, and that is confessedly not given in the particular occurrence which is the occasion of the thought. The thought transcends all the occurrences. Must we assume a realm of such entities, essences or subsistencies to account for our thinking? This realm is generally assumed by modern realists. Dewey's answer seems to be that we have isolated by our abstracting attention certain features of spades which are irrelevant to the particular different spades, though they have their existence or being in these particular spades. These characters which will occur in any spade that is a spade are therefore irrelevant to any one of them. We may go further and say that these characters are irrelevant to the occurrence of the spades that arise and are worn out. In other words they are irrelevant to time, and may be called eternal objects or entities. But, says Dewey, this irrelevancy of these characters to time in our thought does not abstract their being from the particular spades. And yet as we said a moment ago they are objects of thought and we are thinking about something that certainly has being. The title that Dewey gives to these objects of thought is "meanings"; and by this title and his account of the origin and function of meanings he brings them within the field of conduct, and in doing this adds another category to reality - the category of the social.

For meanings arise only through symbols -- language is of course a system of symbols par excellence. Only because one individual can point out certain characters to other individuals, and can point them out to himself, do these characters get isolated and attain the standing that makes them objects of thought. It is social conduct in its symbolic references to ob-

(78) -jects that endows them with meanings. Because you and I can talk about spades, always indicating by our words certain common characteristics of spades, these organized characters have come in our social experience to belong to spades. Outside of human experience such pieces of steel and wood would not be spades. Within that experience they have the meaning of spades, and they have acquired this meaning through symbols. Dewey quite agrees with the realists aforesaid that the meaning is not lodged in the word itself, that is, he is not a nominalist. He insists, however, that the meaning resides in the spade as a character which has arisen through the social nature of thinking. I suppose we can say in current terminology that meanings have emerged in social experience, just as colors emerged in the experience of organisms with the apparatus of vision. This is perhaps an ultimate illustration of Dewey's method, finding in conduct the natural history of intelligence even in its extremest expression of abstruse speculation. It is the gesture arising in human conduct as a means of controlling co-operative conduct which has become a symbol and thus endowed objects with the meanings by means of which we can think them. Indeed our indication of these characters to ourselves and to others is our thinking of them. Thinking, then, is something more than abstractive attention to certain phases of things. The symbolic pointing out of characters is the condition under which these meanings have arisen in nature. That is, they have arisen in nature in so far as it falls within social experience.

This brings us to a further implication of Dewey's philosophy, an implication which he has only touched upon, that nature has different characters in different experiences, or as we would say in more recent terminology, in different perspectives. For our experience potentially includes all of nature, and yet within our experience nature is other than it was before human beings and their societies arose -- when we bring former geologic and as-

(79) -tronomical periods before us they are full of meaning. The whole universe falls within this perspective and within this perspective is endowed with the meanings which have arisen because men have learned to talk. As I have indicated Dewey has not yet in his published works fully dealt with the perspective, but, in the Socratic phrase, he seems to be following the argument wherever it leads.

What then is Dewey's presentation of reality? His method is in empirical method. By this he means that we can do no more than point out what we find. Thought does not transcend reality as it appears in experience except to isolate those meanings which are irrelevant to particular occurrences, for the sake of more intelligent conduct and more comprehensive appreciation. We find in nature a vast number of things which have all sorts of relations with each other; and we are among those things. Dewey is a pluralist. In this sense he is at the farthest remove from his Hegelian beginnings. But he is not a mechanist. He notes that there are histories in nature. Things begin, have a certain history, and end; and something else starts from this ending. In other words there are processes in nature. Intelligence, when it arises, seizes upon the direction of such episodes and utilizes them for its purposes. Living forms reach certain ends which preserve them and their species, and human animals have a prevision from past experience of ends desired, and they become not simply ends but ends-in-view. And so values arise and intelligence conserves and advances them. But Dewey finds no supreme value in nature which is tile end-in-view of its reality. On the contrary he finds defeats and losses as well as successes and achievements. There is no indication of any great event toward which all creation moves. We are a part of a world with all sorts of possibilities in it. We have a principle of intelligence in our make-up, and we are members of organized communities whose significant linguistic intercourse in great co-operative doings has indefinitely increased the scope

(80) of that intelligence, has endowed nature with meanings and has made possible beings free to select their ends, and in possession of a method by which they can test their means of reaching them. The responsibility of human affairs lies with Humanity, or better, with human society. Our universals, our eternal objects, our values are all located in the objects of our experience. There is no city not built with hands eternal in the heavens that can give us the pattern of our society and all its values. We must find them and by our intelligence grasp them in terms of the means of their accomplishment. The stars in their courses are not fighting for us, but we know their courses and can profit by them. We are in nature but we can use nature and in so far nature can become more valuable. The responsibility lies with us. Intelligence has brought this responsibility upon us, and it has also gifted us and our undertakings with the zest of adventure.

It is a philosophy which comes with something of the effect of a cold shower, and it depends somewhat upon the vitality of the man who becomes acquainted with it whether it leaves him with a chill or a glow. We have for so long a period in our human history got our sense of belonging together in one society by conceiving of that society in terms of another world; human conduct and human interests in this world have seemed so devisive, so internecine, so hopelessly stupid that only from the viewpoint of a New Jerusalem could we think of humanity as a whole and bound to a common end. We have not felt able to assume the responsibility for our own common ends and purposes. We have not even been willing to lodge those values within human experience. It has seemed far too frail a structure to carry such precious goods. We have lodged them where moth and rust do not corrupt and there our speculative hearts have been with them. Can we realize and conserve them if they are recognized as with us in our own world? And yet if we have the method of our own intelligence, if by that intelligence we

(81) can identify our goods and take all the steps possible to reach them, why should we hesitate to assume the responsibility which our own endowment carries with it?

For finally if we do not accept that responsibility we cannot rise to the full measure of our intelligence -- we have refused to apply the method of science to the most exigent problems that face us. What Dewey asked of the intelligent individual when he faced his moral problem in his earliest creative work he is now asking of society, that it should find its morality in its intelligence. Dewey's philosophy is no philosophy of otherworldliness.


  1. This article was found among the unpublished papers of Professor Mead. It is rough hewn, and may have been a study preliminary to the article "The Philosophies of Royce James, and Dewey, in their American Setting," which appeared in this Journal, XL (1930), 211-31. It was felt that the close relation which existed between Professor Mead and Professor Dewey would make its publication of interest. -- C. W. MORRIS.

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