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International Philosophical Perspectives

Volume 192 Robert Ginsberg Founding Editor Peter A. Redpath Executive Editor Associate Editors G. John M. Abbarno George Allan Gerhold K. Becker Raymond Angelo Belliotti Kenneth A. Bryson C. Stephen Byrum Harvey Cormier Robert A. Delfino Rem B. Edwards Malcolm D. Evans Daniel B. Gallagher Andrew Fitz-Gibbon Francesc Forn i Argimon William Gay Dane R. Gordon J. Everet Green Heta Aleksandra Gylling Matti Hyry Steven V. Hicks Richard T. Hull Michael Krausz Mark Letteri Vincent L. Luizzi Adrianne McEvoy Alan Milchman Alan Rosenberg Arleen L. F. Salles John R. Shook Eddy Souffrant Tuija Takala Emil Viovsk Anne Waters John R. Welch Thomas Woods

a volume in Studies in Pragmatism and Values SPV John R. Shook and Harvey Cormier, Editor


International Philosophical Perspectives

Edited by

Michael Taylor, Helmut Schreier, and Paulo Ghiraldelli, Jr.

Amsterdam - New York, NY 2008

Cover photo: Maciej Lewandowski Cover Design: Studio Pollmann The paper on which this book is printed meets the requirements of ISO 9706:1994, Information and documentation - Paper for documents Requirements for permanence. ISBN-13: 978-90-420-2342-0 Editions Rodopi B.V., Amsterdam - New York, NY 2008 Printed in the Netherlands

Studies in Pragmatism and Values SPV

John R. Shook and Harvey Cormier Editors Other Titles in SPV
John Shook. Pragmatism: An Annotated Bibliography, 18981940. 1998. VIBS 66 Phyllis Chiasson. Peirces Pragmatism: A Dialogue for Educators. 2001. VIBS 107 Paul C. Bube and Jeffrey L. Geller, eds. Conversations with Pragmatism: A MultiDisciplinary Study. 2002. VIBS 129 Richard Rumana. Richard Rorty: An Annotated Bibliography of Secondary Literature. 2002. VIBS 130 Guy Debrock, ed. Process Pragmatism: Essays on a Quiet Philosophical Revolution. 2003. VIBS 137 John Ryder and Emil Viovsk, eds. Pragmatism and Values: The Central European Pragmatist Forum, Volume One. 2004. VIBS 152 John Ryder and Krystyna Wilkoszewska, eds. Deconstruction and Reconstruction: The Central European Pragmatist Forum, Volume Two. 2004. VIBS 156 Art Efron. Experiencing Tess of the DUrbervilles: A Deweyan Account. 2005. VIBS 162 Beth Singer and Leszek Koczanowicz, eds. Democracy and the Post-Totalitarian Experience. 2005. VIBS 167 Sami Pihlstrom. Pragmatic Moral Realism: A Transcendental Defense. 2005. VIBS 171 John Ryder and Gert-Rdiger Wegmarshaus, eds. Education for a Democratic Society: The Central European Pragmatist Forum, Volume Three. 2006. VIBS 179 Editorial Board of SPV James Bohman Raymond Boisvert Paulo Ghiraldelli Jr. Peter H. Hare Leonard Harris David Hildebrand Kenneth Ketner Leszek Koczanowicz Tomasz Komendzinski Andrew Light Richard Shusterman Jaime Nubiola Sami Pihlstrom Frank Ryan Sandra Rosenthal John Ryder Harvey Sarles Barbara Saunders Charlene Seigfried

Preface by Michael Taylor, Helmut Schreier, and Paulo Ghiraldelli, Jr. LESSONS FROM CLASSICAL PRAGMATISTS ONE Pierces Design for Thinking: A Philosophical Gift for Children Phyllis Chiasson William Jamess Theory of Education Celal Trer Some Historical Notes on George Herbert Meads Theory of Education Jrgen Oelkers LEARNING FROM JOHN DEWEY FOUR Pragmatism, Tragedy, and Hope: Deweyan Growth and Emersonian Perfectionistic Education Naoko Saito Logic, Intelligence, and Education in Dewey and Piaget Marcus Vinicius da Cunha The Sacred in the Everyday: John Dewey on Religion in Public Education Gordon Mitchell ix











In Pursuit of Intellectual Honesty with Children: Childrens Philosophy in Hamburgs Elementary Schools Encouraged by Deweys Ideas 127 Helmut Schreier and Kerstin Michalik PHILOSOPHY FOR CHILDREN


Philosophy for Childrens Debt to Dewey Matthew Lipman Dewey and Lipman Rosalind Ekman Ladd




viii TEN

CONTENTS Dewey, Lipman, and the Tradition of Reflective Education Philip Cam RECENT PRAGMATIST THEORIES



Richard Rorty and Philosophy of Education: Questions and Responses Richard Rorty and Paulo Ghiraldelli, Jr. Acts of Education: Rorty, Derrida, and the Ends of Literature Michael A. Peters The Rhetorical Turn Tarso Mazzotti Neopragmatism and Philosophy of Education Paulo Ghiraldelli, Jr.







225 241 243

About the Editors and Contributors Index

According to the dictum by Karl Popper, there are only two kinds of things that matter, problems and instruments to solve them. Schools of thought are such instruments, and one might conclude that pragmatism is the instrument chosen by many thinkers who deal with contemporary problems. Originally an American view of things that jelled in the late 19th century, pragmatism during the better part of the 20th was subject of criticism and rejection by philosophers representative of various schools, from Marxism to Platonism. Meanwhile, attacks from without have been replaced by arguments among claimants within. (e.g., Has Richard Rorty got it right when he claims to be a Deweyan thinker?) Such has been the shift in favor of the pragmatist view, that today, on an international scale, a majority of thinkers pronounce themselves pragmatist or influenced by pragmatic thought. The concept, that a terms meaning is exhausted by its experiential consequences, and the related idea that intelligence is instrumental for the promotion of social life as a process, with its actual shape emerging from transactions within the process itself such staples of pragmatic thought are closely related to education as modern civilizations main concern. John Dewey circumscribed philosophy as education in its most general form. Along this sequence, childrens philosophy, or, philosophizing with children, appears as an ultimate instrument to be used to liberate the potentials of childrens minds. This book is an attempt at triangulating the focus of three phases, pragmatism, education, and philosophy with children. Each of these phases evolves with a momentum of its own, and yet in relation to and with consequences for each other. The tripod field of study is made more fascinating and more challenging by its international scope. The editors hope that the variety of investigations presented in this volume encourage readers to apply principles of pragmatic thought to their own circumstance and situation. The Editors



Phyllis Chiasson

Our five-year-old grandson has been afraid of ghosts since last year, the first year he spent the entire summer with us due to a newly emerging (and now ongoing) family trauma. He says he needs to keep a light on when he goes to bed at night to keep away the ghosts that are making the many squeaks in our hundred-year-old house. We have had many opportunities to discuss this topic, though last year he was not open to discussion. When the topic first came up again at the beginning of this summers visit however, he and I had an interesting, and productive, dialogue. I was trying to sneak out of his bedroom without turning on a lamp on the first night of his visit when Aaron said: Grandma, ghosts will get me if I dont keep the lights on. How do you know that there are such things as ghosts? Because theyre scary. How do you know that theyre scary? Because they do scary things to people. Like what? Well ... they go woooo. Well, that is pretty scary, I agreed solemnly. Do you know what ghosts look like? Sure, they look just like ghosts. Like the ones on Halloween? Yes! he said, a little exasperated at my inability to grasp the obvious. Then, that means that they must be white-colored, like your sheets. And theyre sort of invisible too, he added. In that case, I said, ghosts must be real. Thats what I said. But maybe ghosts are not real in the way that you think, I suggested. How come? Because everything that can be described is real, I explained. Since you are able to say that ghosts go woooo, and are the color of your sheets, and are sort of invisible you can describe some of the qualities of ghosts. When you can describe the qualities of things it means that they are real but that does not mean that they actually exist.


I dont know what you mean. Well ... even purple turkeys are real, since you can describe turkeys and you can think of what a purple turkey might look like. But theres no such thing as an actual purple turkey that goes gobble-gobble-gobble is there? He thought a moment. I guess not.... So, just because you can describe ghosts and purple turkeys doesnt mean that they actually exist. How come? Because ghosts and purple turkeys are like ideas they are like your imagination, I explained. Everything that you think up in your imagination is real. You can tell people about the things in your imagination. But the things in your imagination do not have to actually exist for them to be real. What about my spaceship? What about it? Well, my spaceship is real because someday Im going to build it and drive it to Mars, he said. My spaceship is in my imagination, but its real. You are exactly right! I agreed. Your spaceship is real but it does not actually exist ... yet. Right now, your spaceship is an idea. But I am going to build it when I grow up and Im going to drive it to Mars! I know you are. But until you do that, your spaceship will be real but it will not actually exist. It will be an idea that is real but does not actually exist yet. I could see he was following, so I continued. How do you feel when you think about your spaceship? Good. And how do you feel when you think about ghosts? Scared. When you think about ghosts and when you think about your spaceship you are thinking about real things about ideas that dont actually exist, I pointed out, adding: Which one would you prefer to think about? My spaceship. Then maybe you would feel better tonight if you think about your spaceship while you are going to sleep. Aaron nodded thoughtfully, then said: Okay, adding quickly: but still leave the light on! For the rest of the summer, Aaron put himself to sleep with apparently pleasant thoughts, although he had many practical and psychological reasons for being fearful of the unknown and for attributing his fears to ghosts. His family had become disrupted a year ago by his mothers mental illness, so he was already feeling fearful. This was his second summer with us in our hundred-year old house, which sporadically creaks and groans for no apparent reason. Moreover, we live in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, on the

Peirces Design for Thinking: A Philosophical Gift for Children

Straits of Juan de Fuca, where unlike his hometown in Southern Arizona the wind blows to one degree or another most of the time. The wind (which is invisible, just like ghosts are and which sometimes causes woooo-like sounds through the trees) causes doors to close unexpectedly and curtains to sashay in the breeze. (At night a swaying curtain can look just like a ghost.) Thus, Aarons psychological state combined with the qualities of our old house (unexplained creaks and groans) and the properties of wind gave him a reasonable set of pre-scientific datum for assuming there must be a scary explanation for all of the ghostly evidence he experienced around him. His perceptions, conclusions, and ensuing fears were not unlike those made by entire human populations in the not too distant past. (And, given the state of the world today, we have to assume that some world leaders might be using the same sort of crude inductive inferences1 concerning world events that Aaron used to draw his conclusions about ghosts.) Another grandparent or parent might have felt it necessary to prove to Aaron that his experience was not real that there are no such things as ghosts and then to demonstrate the scientific phenomena of wind and of the settling of buildings. However, Hal (my husband) and I chose not to do that, and instead, explored the ghost phenomenon philosophically, on Aarons terms, throughout the summer as Peirce might have done. For, Peirce would have considered Aarons experience of ghosts to be a real experience. In 1906, he wrote: By experience must be understood the entire mental product. Some psychologists ... say that, while they admit that experience is more than mere sensation, they cannot extend it to the whole mental product, since that would include hallucinations, delusions, superstitions, imaginations, and fallacies of all kinds; and that they would limit experience to sense perceptions. But I reply that my statement is the logical one. Hallucinations, delusions, superstitious imaginations, and fallacies of all kinds are experiences, but experiences misunderstood.... But you may ask, Dont you admit there are any delusions? Yes: I may think a thing is black, and on close examination it may turn out to be bottle-green. But I cannot think a thing is black if there is no such thing to be seen is black....2 Aarons experience of ghosts was real, but it was an experience misunderstood. Telling him that he was only afraid of the wind would gain him nothing in the long run. Like many children who undergo trauma or loss, he had more going on than a mere fear of ghosts. Like all of us he needed to gain power over his own thoughts and feelings and that is the gift that Peirce gave to all of us in his logic of semiotics, the logic of signs and their meanings. In my experience, when children develop an understanding of Peirces semiotics,


the task of learning to think critically (and thus gaining power over their thoughts) comes more naturally. 1. Qualities, Relations, Signs At the core of Peirces philosophy are three hierarchical states of being: Qualities, Relations, and Signs. All thought, Peirce tells us, is done by means of Signs. Signs result from the selection of qualities based upon relations among things for a purpose. Thus, both Aarons fears about ghosts and his constructive ideas about building a spaceship were thoughts made up of the relations among qualities for purposes, which resulted in signs for him. Now, according to all branches of pragmatism (including John Deweys and William James, as well as Peirces) the meaning of a sign (a word or other concept) in the human realm resides in the effects which that sign has on the conduct of human behavior. So, in Aarons case, the meaning of the sign ghost consisted of a series of fearful behaviors, while the meaning of the sign spaceship consisted of a series of apparently comfortable behaviors. Real, according to Peirce, is that which possess sufficient properties (or qualities) to identify it, regardless of whether anybody thinks so or not. Reality need not ever be expressed as a sign. It may remain forever as an unexpressed idea or potential. This means that a thing is a real even if it is imaginary and regardless of whether it ever occurs or anyone ever knows about it. And if there are sufficient properties to identify it, a thing or idea is real regardless of whether there even exists a word to describe it. Again, according to Peirce, every real thing (including potentials and ideas), known and unknown, has properties (or qualities) sufficient to identify it even if we do not know what those properties are. Those who have the greatest skills at qualification will be the most likely to possess the potential to learn how to think both creatively and analytically, because they will be the ones with the greatest ability to notice and interpret anomalous signs. Anomalous signs often point the way to new discoveries and un-mined potentialities. Such signs are invisible to most people. Parents and educators who understand the importance of children of preschool, elementary, and high school ages learning verbal and non-verbal qualification skills will be several steps ahead of those who do not. Naturally, these skills can be learned at any age but those children who have a head start at qualification learn to love inquiry-based learning early in the game. 2. Qualities Thus, qualification is always the place to begin. Peirce even called the category of quality firstness. Qualities fall into three broad types, which Peirce called

Peirces Design for Thinking: A Philosophical Gift for Children

modes of being. Those types are (1) affective (feeling-based); (2) sensory (having to do with sense perceptions); and (3) logical (having to do reasoning). Learning the language of qualities is essential for learning the language of signs, which is, in turn, necessary for learning to think critically. For example, when Aaron made the bedtime choice to think about the qualities of his hypothetical spaceship instead of worrying about the qualities of hypothetical ghosts, he was engaging in critical thought at a five-year-old level. He thought about how he felt when he concentrated on the qualities of ghosts and he thought about how he felt when he concentrated on the qualities his spaceship. Then he made the conscious choice to think about his spaceship as he was falling asleep (with the light on, please). So, what are qualities? Qualities are the properties, or characteristics, of signs (or things). There can be no thing (nothing) without qualities to define them. Thus, qualities are whatever a thing is (or has) that enables you to identify it in some way. If we say that Seattle is a large city, then we are using the quality of size to sort it into the category of large cities as opposed to medium-sized or small cities. On the other hand, if we say that Seattle is a charming city, we are using the quality of appeal to sort it into charming cities, as opposed to those that are not charming like industrial or polluted cities. Qualities allow us to say that a thing is a kind of (or sort of) something. As mentioned before, Peirce maintained that properties are true of every real thing, whether anyone ever comes to know that something is real. In this sense, the property (or quality) of motion having to do with the earth orbiting the sun instead of the other way around as people used to believe would still be real (or true) even if no one had ever figured this out. As mentioned earlier, Peirce held that for something to be real, it need not actually exist. In this sense, ideas, general categories, and general concepts are real, although they only exist as words or in our minds. Also in this way, dreams and fantasies can be real, because they, too, have qualities (such as when the dream occurred, who dreamed it, and the sorts of mental images the dream contained). Anything for which there are qualities that make it capable of being described is a real thing even if its reality exists only within our minds. Thus, an idea (like Aarons spaceship), or a fantasy (like a ghost) can be real, but never actually exist. At first thought, this concept of reality not needing to exist in actuality might appear foolish. However, the practical worth of Peirces philosophy to education rests upon this concept. Where other philosophers denigrated the role of values, creativity, and imagination in learning and the making of scientific discoveries, Peirce considered these foremost. The thinking that comes before the doing is as vital or even more vital than what comes after. In this same sense, abstract concepts (like justice and love) and general categories (like tools and transportation) are real because they have qualities that make them capable of being described, even though they do not actually


exist (only actual hammers and actual cars exist). Naturally, concrete things like wagons, bricks and balloons, which actually exist, are real as well because of the qualities that they possess. However, unlike for other scientific philosophers of his day, values, concepts, and categories are the fundamentals of Peirces concept of critical thinking. 3. Affective Qualities When children learn to express their feelings, they are learning to express qualities of affect. However, qualities of affect are much more than just learning to express play yard feelings such as anger or joy. Peirce contended that all of scientific discovery depends upon the ability to sense a kind of feeling a hunch,3 and that our beliefs arise from a sense of satisfaction with whatever truths we feel we have arrived at.4 (Both hunches and satisfactions are affective states.) Peirce also held that all of our motives for doing things fall into higher or lower ethical classes depending upon our ability to shape the qualities of our affective mode of being.5 Below are just a few examples of affective states:
happy pleasant, glad loving affection warm tender wanting hoping aiming happy fulfilled content amazing wondrous strange sublime tired vacant gratified delighted thankful devoted liking selfless yearning longing craving gratified completed profound sacred marvelous strange void emptyminded angry mad furious heated sad sorrowful grieving regretful gratitude favorable centered directed beautiful ugly lovely selfish grasping indignant wrathful rage mourning woe regard esteem respect dedicated applied intense offensive attractive aesthetic self-seeking rapacious













By learning to name and play around with qualities of affect, children can begin to develop the skills they need to deliberately discern among affective

Peirces Design for Thinking: A Philosophical Gift for Children

qualities a valuable thing for children to do, since the affective state drives the other states of being. In his short book, Theory of Valuation, John Dewey wrote: Desires and interests are ... themselves causal conditions of results. As such they are potential means and have to be appraised as such.6 Peirce held in high esteem what he called honest sentiment a term which, in his day, meant that a person was of good character, had good intentions, and possessed a general desire for the wellbeing of others. In one of his 1898 Cambridge lectures on logic, Peirce said that: Reason is of its very essence egotistical.... Men many times fancy that they act from reason when, in point of fact, the reasons they attribute to themselves are nothing but excuses which unconscious instinct invents to satisfy the teasing whys of the ego. The extent of this self delusion is such as to render philosophical rationalism a farce. Reason, then appeals to sentiment in the last resort. Sentiment on its side feels itself to be the man. That is my simple apology for philosophical sentimentalism.7 Although Peirce was not one to sacrifice reason to sentimentalism in theoretical matters, he believed that sentiment should reign supreme in human affairs,8 and went so far as to refer to the foundation of his philosophy as selfless, or agapic, love. Love, wrote Peirce in his essay Evolutionary Love, is not directed to abstractions, but to persons; not to persons we do not know, nor to numbers of people, but to our own dear ones, our family and neighbors. Our neighbor, we remember, is one whom we live near, not locally perhaps, but in life and feeling.9 Education in the qualities of affect is the necessary first step in bringing children into the world of aesthetic and ethical inquiry that proceeds learning to think rightly (or critically) in a Peircean sense. Perhaps first step is not the right term to use here, since affective education is a long-term process and does not end, even as introduction into the other sorts of qualities begins. Affective education involves understanding and experiencing the range between good and bad feelings; the range between beautiful and ugly surroundings; the range between good and evil; the range between boredom and intense focus. This is the foundation of Peirces optimistic philosophy. Love, he wrote, recognizing germs of loveliness in the hateful, gradually warms it into life and makes it lovely.10 Every point along the continuum of each of these states is part of the affective state of the human condition and must reside at the foundation of learning in a Peircean-based educational program. For example, boredom is often part of the first stage of making an abductive inference and thus an aspect of creativity or making a new discovery.

PHYLLIS CHIASSON 4. Sensory Qualities

Peirce contended that the aesthetics must inform ethics and ethics must inform reason for right reasoning to occur. The qualities of sensation provide the empirical qualities necessary for informing aesthetic sensibilities, which are in turn mediated by sentiment (affect) for determining personal value. Qualities of sense may be much easier to for children to absorb than qualities of affect. For example, red a quality of vision is indisputable (to anyone who is not colorblind), while compassion takes a lifetime of experience to experience and understand. Qualities of sense fall into the categories of the normal five senses, plus two others relating to skin sense (or touch) balance and muscle sense. Below are examples of qualities that fall within of each of these categories. 11
Color red blue; etc. fragrant fetid aromatic sweet sour salty savory Tone shrill deep brassy Brightness light dim dull stink sweet bouquet bitter delicious delectable Intensity loud; soft piercing Touch tickle itch tingle leaning stable poised dizzy squeeze hug press push Temperature hot cold cozy







heavy strain stretch twist pull


5. Logical Qualities Logical (or rational) qualities have to do with making judgments about things. Something is larger than another. One event occurs before another. Size, time, space (or location), matter and energy, shape, quantity, change are just some of the rational qualities. Others include generality, opposition, elasticity, complexity, simplicity, etc. The following table lists a few examples of the first seven mentioned above.12

Peirces Design for Thinking: A Philosophical Gift for Children

NUMBER a, an, one, three, last, some, all none, few hundred, first, many TIME duration, moment, interval, instant, second, minute direction, orientation, position, location, in, up, down, on, between modify, alter, vary, affect, cause, effect hour, now, future, when, long, during, after far, North, here, out, over, under, right, left


little, tiny, miniature, big, large, huge, mammoth

long, short, high, tall, slim, wide, narrow




contour, form, figure, straight, angular, round, sand, steel, iron, metal, light, electricity

organized, CHANGE interrelated, spherical, square, bent, oval, spiral water, liquid, paint, dirt, alcohol, glass, air

You may notice that the matter and energy items appear to be things instead of qualities or attributes of things. They are qualities when they are used as modifiers, such as a steel beam or a glass jar. When I am holding Engaged Intelligence workshops (adult training programs for which qualification is a part) I begin the workshop by giving everyone in the group a small plastic bag filled with a variety of small, wrapped candies. (Not all bags have exactly the same candies in them). Then I give the group a single instruction: Put these candies into order. What do you mean? someone invariably asks. That is all I am going to say. But how are we supposed to know what to do? I shrug and say: Just do the best you can. Someone in the group will begin sorting, so that those who are stressed at having no instructions can at least copy the lead. But as the sorting and ordering begins, something interesting begins to happen. Some people begin sorting by color; some by shape or size; some by no obvious order that could be immediately discerned. After everyone is finished, I make three columns (marked 1-2-3) on the board or butcher paper and ask each person to tell me the basis for his or her sort. I write these reasons down under the appropriate column (1 is affective; 2, sensory; 3, logical). An affective sort might be Candy I really like. Candy I



sort of like, and candy I dont like. Sensory sorts, which are the most common, have to do with color, texture, smell, taste, hardness, softness, etc. Logical sorts have to do with size, shape, matter/energy (what the candy is made of), time/change (how long it takes to eat it), etc. Following this exercise, everyone gets to eat the candy and we begin our introduction into qualities. Thinking in terms of qualities should not be considered a lesson but instead a philosophical perspective for everyone parent, teacher, and child to use on a regular basis for encountering aspects of the world. Instead of asking: What is this? or What is this for? we can begin to wonder What does this smell like? or Look like or How does this make you feel? For example, one afternoon toward the end of this last summer, when the rain was coming down far too hard for Aaron to play outdoors, I located a box full of arts and crafts materials on the top shelf of the laundry room. I brought it back with me into the kitchen, grabbed a handful of items at random, and plopped them onto the kitchen table near where Aaron was standing. I figured that this might be a good chance to lead him into another experience of qualities. I thought we might play a little game. Just take one of those shriveled up garbanzo beans and hold it in your hand. Aaron obediently followed my instructions. Now, I want you to think about a quality of that shriveled up bean.... Like what? Aaron asked. Like we talked about before, I told him. Remember the refrigerator and the quality of coldness? Would bumpy be a quality? Yes, excellent! Can you think of any others? Hard? Good! Since he had caught on, I handed him a small scrap of fabric and said: What are some qualities of this fabric? Its soft, he began, and its blue. Good! What else? Its wrinkled ... and small. Its little. Yes, Aaron! I said enthusiastically, then asked: Now, how did you know that your first item was bumpy and hard? Because I touched it. And what did you know about your material by touching it? That it was soft ... and ... and, he hesitated then offered: And wrinkled? Did you know it was wrinkled from touching it? I suppose I could have known from looking, he conceded. But, if it had been dark, maybe I could have known from touching. Maybe so, I agreed. Now, lets just think for a minute about how you knew what qualities belonged to your item.

Peirces Design for Thinking: A Philosophical Gift for Children


From touching and seeing. Do you know what touching and seeing are called? No ... what? Theyre called senses, I told him. Senses are what you have for noticing things in the world. Do you know what other senses we have besides touching and seeing? Smelling... ? he offered. Yes, I agreed. Smell is a sense. What is another sense that goes with smelling? I dont know. How about toot, toot, toot, toot I said, imitating a horn as well as I could. Like a horn? How would you know something was a horn? If it looked like a horn. How else? If it sounded like a horn. Hooray! You got it! What? Another one of the senses, I said. You said you would know if something sounded like a horn. How do you know what something sounds like? With my ears? Yes!, I agreed heartily. You hear with your ears and hearing is one of your... Aaron interrupted me excitedly. of my senses! Yes! At that Aaron held his dried garbanzo bean above the tabletop and dropped it: Listen ... I can hear that. Its like a ping. I pushed a pile of fabric scraps towards him: What kind of sound do you think it might make if you dropped it onto this pile of fabric? Maybe none, he said, then dropped his bean on to the pile. See ... I was right! Do you know what you did just now, Aaron? No ... what? You thought up an experiment in your head and then you tested it out, I told him. You thought about what might happen if you dropped the bean onto the pile of fabric scraps and then you checked it out. Now, what kind of sound does your fabric scrap make? It doesnt make any kind of sound. Try waving it in the air, I suggested. He did this. Then, sounding a little surprised, he said: It sort of has a swishing sound.



Good, I said. Now try rubbing it with the garbanzo bean. He did as I asked. Now it sounds like hruss..., he said. But how do you know if the sound is from the bean or from this blue thing? Good question, I acknowledged. How did you know whether the sound you got from the bean was from the bean or the table? It was from the bean hitting the table.... Or ... , I countered, was it from the table interrupting the falling bean? What do you mean? he asked. I mean that the fabric could not have made that sound without the scratching of the bean ... or something else like it. Nor could the bean have made that sound without the help of the fabric ... or something like it. So, it works both ways. When you dropped your bean onto the table, and it made a sound, that sound was a product of the interaction between the bean and the table. There are all kinds of possible qualities locked up in your bean ... and in that scrap of fabric. But those possible qualities come out when things interact. We know the quality of color ... or blueness ... in the fabric because it interacts with other colors. How does it do that? he asked. Well... how would you know what color that fabric is if blue was the only color in the world. What do you mean? I mean, if there were no other color in the world except for blue, how could you tell that the color in your fabric is blue? I asked. The reason you notice what color it is ... is because there are other colors around, which are not blue. Just think how hard it would be for someone, like your other grandpa, who is color-blind to notice that your piece of fabric is blue. You would have to write a sign for me that says blue. Then I could put a sign on it for him. Yes you could, I agreed. Now, even though your other grandpa cannot see the color blue, the color blue still real ... right? Of course it is, Grandma! he said. I can see blue ... so can you. You are right about that, I agreed. The color blue has qualities even though your other grandpa cannot see what they are. The color blue is still real, even though he cannot see it. This is like what we talked about earlier about ghosts and about your spaceship ... about something being real, even if nobody ever came to know it is real. But my spaceship is real because Im going to build my spaceship someday! Aaron insisted again. Im going to build one right now and show you what its going to look like. At that, our conversation about qualities was over and Aaron set to work with great intensity to construct a model of his future spaceship to Mars. He

Peirces Design for Thinking: A Philosophical Gift for Children


did not restrict himself to the craft materials I had provided, but availed himself of kitchen utensils and pots and pans. And he never even noticed when the rain stopped. 6. Relations The second platform of a Peircean-based philosophy for children is inbetweenesses or relational thinking. The tools of relational thinking require at least some ability with qualification. These tools range from simple sorting practices to complex analysis forms. Peirce put great stock in what he called diagrammatic thinking.13 Engaging children in these relational tools provides them with a way to respond deliberately in situations that most adults might think beyond the scope of young people. For example, our daughter Tonya was adopted in 1975, just three months shy of her third birthday. Her early history read like a how-to-book on child abuse: birth mother ingested drugs and alcohol during pregnancy; difficult birth; eleven different foster placements due to maternal abuse and neglect; seven in-patient hospital admissions for a variety of illnesses. Several of the hospital stays were for recurrent ear infections and other illnesses, but at least one was for suspected trauma a medical euphemism for strongly suspected sexual abuse. Quite understandably then, she came to our family with severe behavioral problems and serious delays in speech and language. That is why her behavior was so surprising one afternoon six months after her arrival, when she pointed to a row of three pairs of shoes that she had neatly lined up along a wall in her bedroom. Two pairs were shiny patent leather one of these pair black; the other red. The third pair of shoes was a dark navy blue color, but of a nonshiny type of leather. Tonya picked up one red and one black patent leather shoe and, holding one in each hand, she held them out and said, Mommy, same. Then she rubbed each shoe against a cheek and held them out again, as if demonstrating the nature of their shiny sameness. Then she put down the red patent leather shoe and picked up one of the navy shoes. She held these out and again said: Mommy, same. She did not rub either of these shoes against her cheek. She determinedly held this second set (one black, one dark navy) out as if waiting acknowledgement their joint darkness but I could tell that this was the qualitative category upon which she had based this alternate sameness. In spite of severe language impairments, three-year-old Tonya was discriminating among these shoes based upon complex relations based upon qualitative similarities and differences. She was looking past the literal and functional qualities of shoeness and making higher order connections. In other words, she was spontaneously developing higher order inbetweenesses among categories without even having the language to describe them.



The qualities of darkness and shininess were markers for Tonya. They stood for relationships (or inbetweenesses) among those shoes. Something inside of Tonyas mind connected the qualitative sign of shininess to both pairs of patent leather shoes and the qualitative sign of darkness to second set. During that shoe incident, Tonya was demonstrating that she recognized relationships among the essences of those shoes, in the sense of their shininess and darkness in much the same way as she has continued to do over these many years. And something inside Tonyas mind drove her to think about those characteristics in the first place. The following Venn diagram, showing complex relationships in Tonyas thinking, demonstrates the relationships she was making that afternoon. As you can see, the black patent leather shoes fit within two categories: shininess and darkness a sophisticated relationship for a three-and-a-half year old, let alone one with severe language impairments and brain damage.

7. Types of Diagrammatic Thinking A. Classification Analysis A Venn diagram is a much more complex form of classification than a simple sort or a matching sort, which would ordinarily be used with pre-school and early elementary children or a tree diagram which is another ordinary tool of simple classification. However, do not sell young children short. As Tonya demonstrated, some might be capable of comprehending inbetweenesses well beyond what adults have decided they can (or should) understand. When adults are well prepared in the concepts of qualification and analysis, they will recognize how much some children are ready to learn will be able to bring those who are not so read along at a steady pace. Which of these things is like the others? Which is not? Those questions are verbal forms of classification. But the non-verbal forms are just as vital to learning. Having children sort a variety of physical things into two groups and

Peirces Design for Thinking: A Philosophical Gift for Children


then tell you their reasons for sorting such as Things that I like versus things I dont like. Things that are soft and things that are not soft. Things that are familiar; things that are unfamiliar, etc. All my high school English students, from gifted to learning impaired, made classification sorts from physical objects. The gifted and average students learned to make multiple sorts of the same groups of objects on their own, sorting down several layers. The learning impaired students made these sorts nearly every day using different items. Sometimes each student would make just one sort. Often they would team up and continue the sort down several layers using tree diagrams, like this simple example: Junky Stuff


Medium or partially hard

Not hard (etc)

Metal 3 ballpoints


Not round



When we made such multiple sorts, the learning impaired students worked in small groups one group at a time, often using a list of qualities as a guide. When one group finished, another group resorted the same objects using different sorting factors. (As an added bonus, by the end of a school year, nearly all of my students, regardless of academic skill, understood the concept of categorical consistency a vital aspect of critical thinking.) The more familiar children are with qualitative terms, the more creative their classification sorts can be, as qualities are the sorting factors for analytic thinking tools. Even my two children who are fetal alcohol impaired, learned how to make classification sorts (and the other analysis sorts as well). I used these sorts to help Tonya, who is now thirty-one years old, and the most impaired of the two girls, build upon her innate sorting abilities and learn how to use language creatively. Speaking to her, you would not imagine that she



has a borderline mentally retarded intelligence level. Although her commonsense judgment is quite poor (a normal trait of individuals with fetal alcohol syndrome) her language skills allow her to fit into social situations that would normally be well outside her range. Pre-school children can learn how to make simple sorts by putting away their toys, or the silverware, or helping dad organize the toolbox. Last summer an infestation of tent caterpillars provided our five-year-old grandson with an endless source of fascination about butterflies. (We did not have the heart to tell him that these caterpillars were going to eat up our apple tree and then become not-so-lovely moths.) We checked out books from the library and began an odyssey into caterpillar/ butterfly categories to the point of Aaron knowing which plants each caterpillar prefers, the markings on each, and how the markings unfold onto the caterpillar. (His favorites are the swallowtails.) Naturally, not all children will self-lead into a subject with such interest, but that does not mean that sorting and classifying skills should be ignored. Just sort whatever is available. Parents can sort with children as they are doing laundry, or organizing dresser drawers, or cleaning out the garage. The significant thing is to get the child to do the thinking. Saying Put this here and put that there does nothing for a childs sorting skills. Better to ask: Which pile do you think this should go into? If the childs answer is off base, ask: Why do you think it should go there? She might have a good, or at least interesting, answer. If you decide not to put it there, explain your rationale. Then ask again the next time and always stop when she gets bored. Teachers should also ask that next question: Why do you think that? And if a child cannot answer the question, they should not assume he does not have a good reason for sorting in that way. He just may not have the words to explain his reason. I have assessed the implicit reasoning styles of many children whose teachers were convinced they were either wacky or slow and found that many of these children were highly creative thinkers. Not having the words to explain thoughts is not the same as not having the thoughts. B. Structure Analysis The second type of diagrammatic thinking involves part/whole thinking. Some people are naturally adept at this kind of analysis and can imagine what something will look like when it is put together. Other people (like myself) have a huge deficit in this area. However, everyone can learn how to do structure analysis. A whole is a structure; a part is a unit of a structure. A person is a whole made up of parts such as arms and legs. The earth is a whole made up of parts such as sea, atmosphere, crust, and core. The structure of a football game can be thought of as a whole composed of parts such as grandstands, spectators, gridiron, goal posts, and players. Everything that exists can be thought of as a

Peirces Design for Thinking: A Philosophical Gift for Children


part of the whole that we call the universe. In the case of classification analysis the relationships are types of or sorts of something. In structure analysis the inbetweeness is spatial. Things that are normally considered parts may be thought of, in other situations, as wholes. A hand, for example, may be called a whole instead of a part if we are concerned with its parts. In structure analysis the largest including thing with which we are concerned is called a whole. Its included units are called parts. Thus the United States is a whole country but is also part of North America; California is a whole state but is also part of the United States; and the earth is a whole planet but is also a part of the solar system. Thus, structure analysis is the method of dividing wholes into their parts. Just as for classification analysis, structure analysis is best introduced to children as physical experiences: following directions to put a toy together; figuring out how to build a birdhouse with dad; making potholders; learning to sew; making a fort or a go-cart. The more experiences that children have figuring out how to do things in the physical world, the better their chances at developing skills with structure analysis. For example, despite my poor innate abilities with structure analysis, I developed a degree of skill in this area because I took years of sewing lessons as a young girl. Although I still cannot visualize what something will look like when it is complete, I can make and follow patterns (and alter them when necessary). Because of this skill, I can always make a prototype of something using inexpensive material and then decide whether I want to invest money in good fabric later. One of the unfortunate losses in this modern age has been the demise of childhood down time. By down time I mean unscheduled time for children to play purposelessly with such things as dress-ups, wood scraps, pots and pans, plastic buckets, and other items that are not purchased toys. Many bemoan the loss of childhood imagination but it is not just imagination that is lost. Children are also losing contact with the physical world the world they need to experience if they are to viscerally grasp the concept of structure analysis, of parts and wholes the foundation of art, engineering, and the preliminaries of ecological thinking. This brings us brings us to the third type of analysis, systems analysis which is made up of structures moving through time and space. 8. Systems Analysis One afternoon this summer Hal and I were sitting in the reading chairs in our library and Aaron was playing quietly on the floor when he suddenly said: Watch me! Then he spontaneously (and silently) acted out the entire lifecycle of a butterfly. He rolled himself up into a ball floor (a larva in its egg sac). Then he



exited from the egg sac, turned around, and pretended to eat the sac. Then he became a caterpillar, crawled around, and nibbled at throw pillows (leaves). Then he wrapped himself up into another lap blanket (cocoon) where he rested a bit as a pupa; then slowly emerged as a beautiful yellow (his shirt color that day) butterfly. Then, after flying around the room and sticking his imaginary proboscis into imaginary flowers, he carefully laid a line of eggs on the hall carpet. It was a remarkable performance. When he was finished, he did not even wait around for praise or comments. He was done and went outside to play. His grandfather and I were amazed at the performance. But I was much more amazed than Hal, because I had been reading all of those butterfly books to him and happened to know that his re-enactment was exactly correct. Without uttering a word, Aaron had performed an accurate demonstration of the operation of a systems analysis the life cycle of a butterfly. The operation of a system reflects a structure (in this case, a butterfly) changing in time and space. Just as structures are wholes that have parts as parts, operations are wholes that have stages and phases as parts. When we perform a systems analysis we have a purpose in mind that guides our selection of what we are going to identify as stages of that operation. The words stage, phase, and operation indicate time-based relationships. Thus, learning to deal with systems is a vital aspect of learning to deal with time and time is not just a matter of consequence in its ordinary sense of learning to tell time. Time, in a philosophical sense, is the arena in which everything occurs. Peirce even used time as a metaphor for his multidimensional doctrine of continuity. Without continuity, there can be no thought, no reality, no relationships, no thingness of any sort. Additionally, understanding systems and systems-within-systems provides good preparation understanding the consequential thinking of pragmatism and for later introduction into vital world problems in such systems sciences as ecology, economics, political science, sociology, famine-and war prevention, world population studies and even the personal skill of time-management. Children can understand that things that we consider operations in one context can be thought of as stages in other situations and vice versa. For example, the first half of a football game may be called an operation, instead of a stage if we do not include other events, such as a parade and dance, which may come before and after the game. The operation of a system always has purpose. However, the same operation may have different purposes from different points of view. As a result, a single part may have different functions. For example, a computer may serve the function of a calculator when it is used for monthly bill paying and the function of a musical instrument when it is hooked up to a synthesizer. The stages and phases chosen when analyzing an operation should be those most appropriate to the purpose. Thus, when they are old enough,

Peirces Design for Thinking: A Philosophical Gift for Children


children should be helped to name ordering factors for stages and phases just as they chose sorting factors for classifications and identifying factors for structure analyses with direct reference to their purposes. Any given operation may be analyzed in different ways for different purposes. However, as Aaron demonstrated spontaneously, children can learn from a young age how to analyze how things occur in time well before they are ready to name the stages and phases they are analyzing. In those cases, the grown ups can provide the language or not. For sometimes, as in Aarons case, talking might interrupt the childs ordering process. Parents and teachers should be especially sensitive to the depth of conceptual thinking that can occur in a young child even when language is poorly developed. Aarons language skills fall well below his other abilities. But instead of interrupting his prodigious bouts of non-verbal, engineering-like activities, I reserved language development activities to our reading and walking times. He made great linguistic gains this way and I did not sacrifice one talent to compensate for a weakness. Besides, his verbal skills are now developing nicely. He joyfully learned the alphabet this summer and now he tells me that the best thing about kindergarten is when his teacher reads stories! 9. Signs The purpose of having a basic understanding of different kinds of qualities and different forms of analysis is to arrive at a point where children can learn how to think matters out for themselves in productive ways. As evidenced by Aarons decision to think about his spaceship instead of ghosts at bedtime, even five-year-olds can make rational decisions. But at the beginning of summer, Aaron just made a simple, rational decision. He had not yet reached the point of integrating qualities and analyses into his interpretations of signs. By the end of summer, he was starting to understand a little more about sign theory kindergarten style. By the word sign, Peirce meant something that represents, points to, or stands in place of something else. In general terms, this is what Peirce means when he says that all thought whatsoever is a sign and is mostly of the nature of language.14 All thought is a sign? you might ask. If so, what is it a sign of? The answer is, Whatever is thought about. It might help to know that Peirce does not mean the term sign in just the ordinary ways we might think as say, a billboard or a stop sign. He identifies three types of signs: indications (indicies), representations (icons), and symbols. A. Indications These are the sort of signs that were frightening Aaron so much at the beginning of summer. Indications (which Peirce called indices in the plural



and index in the singular) point to something that is elsewhere in time and/or space. Aaron interpreted qualities of sound (creaks and groans in our old house; wind making whooo sounds in the trees and causing doors to close) and qualities of motion (causing light-weight curtains to blow inward into his bedroom at night) as indications of a ghostly presence somewhere in his time/space continuum. Instead of trying to convince him otherwise, Hal set about to reform the ghosts reputation to change the meaning of the indicators for Aaron. He set up a special ghost phone with which Aaron could personally communicate with the ghosts (grandpa did most of the talking at first) and ask them to stop scaring him. Then the ghosts started leaving Aaron little containers of deliciously flavored ghost juice to take with him to summer camp each day. Soon, Aaron was calling up the ghosts on his own and asking for an extra container of ghost juice for grandpa (which grandpa always gave to Aaron). Before long, the fear was completely gone and he stopped needing to have a light on at night. (But Aaron did keep up the ghost pretense, without the fear. Who can blame him? He wanted to keep that ghost juice coming.) Though indicative signs have probably been (and still are) the basis of much superstition and fear of the unknown, we rely on them for much of our day to day information. When a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out dry, that is an indication that the cake is done (or if coated, not done). Clouds are an indication of rain. A frown on someones face is an indication she is upset or angry. We read these indicative signs in our ordinary lives many times each day. Additionally, indicative signs provide the empirical basis for making scientific discoveries, medical diagnoses, auto-mobile repairs, search and rescue effectiveness, and countless other practical activities. Since indicative signs are so vital and can be so easily misinterpreted, learning to correctly read these signs is a valuable skill, one highly dependent upon the continuous development of good qualification and analysis skills. B. Representations (Icons) Representations are the least ambiguous of signs. They can be either replicas or likenesses. A replica looks like, sounds like, smells like, tastes like, and/or feels like what it is. For example, a video or DVD is a replica of the performance that made the movie, so is a CD a replica of the session that produced the music. A photograph is a replica of the person whose picture was taken, so is a realistic portrait of that person. A scratch and sniff sample in a magazine is a replica of the scent of the perfume that sample represents. A likeness, on the other hand, is a non-realistic representation of something, say a caricature of someone, or a cartoon drawing of a house.

Peirces Design for Thinking: A Philosophical Gift for Children C. Symbols


Symbols stand in place of the thing or concept that they represent. And, unlike representations (which look like what they are), symbols require agreement among minds for people to know what they mean. National and marine flags are symbolic, religious forms are symbolic and, most significant of all words and numbers are symbols. Words are the most ambiguous of all signs, meaning that they are the most easily misinterpreted and misunderstood. Peirce developed his sign theory to remove the ambiguity from language to make language a tool for clear thinking and communication. By helping children to learn the language of qualities, the tools of analysis, and how to use signs effectively adults can prepare them to plunge into the wonderful sea of interpretation and communication. But first, they must be able to develop skill at using the invisible realms of context, value, and purpose for deciphering meaning. 10. Using Signs to Interpret and Communicate Meaning A. Content, Context, Value, and Purpose In Peirces triadic theory of signs, there must be three things for meaning to occur: a thing, another thing, and a relationship between them. Peirce called the first thing the object. The second, he called the ground (this can also be called the context or contrast). And the third, the interpretant. One reason that Peirce used such abstract terms to describe his triad is that he meant for his semiotic theory to apply to much more than just human meaning. For example, an object could be a garden. Its ground (or context) could include where that garden is growing, what has been planted inside the garden, its soil conditions, water availability, etc. The interpretant(s) could be the plants in the garden responding to water and photosynthesizing nutrition from sunlight. Peirce considered aspects of nature interpretants, just as much as he did individual people interpreting words and other signs.15 B. Content and Context I often used a simple content-context exercise for helping my students and my children to understand the concept of multiple meanings of words and concepts. This version can be used as game with young children, as well as a group or a written exercise with high school and college students. Here is an example of a typical conversation using the word band. I would casually ask a question such as, What does the word band mean?



Usually the first answer would be an obvious one, like, People who play music. Then I would follow up that question with, What about the kind of band that is something stretchy? Like a rubber band? Yes, good! And what about the band your dad and I (or if in a class, married people) wear? Do you mean wedding rings? Yes, those rings are also called wedding bands. Then, if I were dealing with my high school students, I would ask, Can you think of any other meaning for the word band? A group or gang, like a band of criminals ... . And a student with a thesaurus in hand might offer, It could be used as a verb and mean to encompass or to encircle something. I used to keep a list of appropriate words in mind to use with my children when they were young. They loved playing this game when they were riding in the car. A sample list of some of the words I used and a few contexts for each is below:

WORD pin run fast bank order ring light point watch

Context 1

Context 2

Context 2

Context 3

jewelry wrestling bowling to adhere to flee a creek to operate a series quick; swift not eating tight; secure loyal a depository a hill to lay away to turn sharply a sequence a system to ask for to be told to as jewelry as in a chime as in boxing a circle of weight color feeling taste/texture to indicate a reason a spot a subject a time piece naval watch for opportunity to observe

Naturally, when I used these words and contexts with my small children I did not immediately introduce use terms like a sequence or a series, as I did when I used the words with high school students. I adapted the contextual terms for them, or had them adapt them for me. What about the meaning of the word order when we think of numbers of the alphabet, I might ask. Can you think about how they might have a kind of order to them? After a discussion about the sort of order that the alphabet and numbers might have, I could then introduce the words series and sequence. My son

Peirces Design for Thinking: A Philosophical Gift for Children


enjoyed playing this game so much that he eventually began contributing words for us to play with. I do not think that the children ever thought of these games as educational, but instead as one of the things we did while driving around in the car. The students in my high school classes also appeared to enjoy these multiple meaning activities. Like my son, some began contributing new words for the class to explore. We eventually graduated from these multiple meaning exercises to word juxtaposition exercises, which helped to prepare my students (and my children) for dealing with analogies and levels of abstraction. An example of one of these exercises follows: Q. How might a brick be like a rose? A-1. They can both be in gardens. A-2. They can both be red-colored. A-3. They both come from the ground. A-4. Both can be picked up. A-5. They can both have smooth textures. A-6. They are both small. A-7. Maybe they are both beautiful. (Notice that this list of synthesized comparisons relies upon comparing qualities. Synthetic comparisons are the basis of analogical and abstract thinking. They are also one of the main activities that occur during the process of making abductive inferences.) C. Content, Context, Purpose & Value The exercises described above have no real point unless they are closely tied into the third level of Peirces triad, that of purpose and value. I became disillusioned with the learning-to-learn movement of the 1970s and early 1980s when the bandwagon appeared to completely miss this point. Purpose, value, and the apprehension of meaning all reside within an interpretant. However, this is not the same thing as saying that whatever someone thinks or believes makes it true, or that one belief or truth is as good as another. Instead, it means that we (as interpretants) interpret meaning based upon what we are focused on (an object) in a situation (a context) for a purpose (which is shaped by what we already think we know, believe, and value). Without the ability to think critically, we cannot know whether our interpretations are correct. Learning to think critically involves learning to integrate these three levels so that they become habitual ways of dealing with everyday situations. Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden used to emphasize to his teams that playing in top form at each practice session was just as vital as playing well in a regular game, because practice is where habits are made good ones



or bad ones. Games are where habits show up bad habits as well as good ones. 14 The same is true of thinking and thinking habits are formed at a young age. Fortunately, even a pre-schooler can learn how to use Peirces three levels of content, context, purpose and value for apprehending meaning. Here is an example of using these three levels with the Dr. Seuss book, Green Eggs and Ham (begin reading this diagram from the bottom up): Level 3: Purpose/Value (Interpretant) What lesson do you think that this book might want us to learn? That we might like things if we try them. Level 2: Context (Ground) How do you know that Sam-I-am wants the boy to do this? Because he tries to get him to eat them on a boat and on a train and... Level 1: Content (Object) What is this story about? Sam-I-am wants to get the boy to eat green eggs and ham. This same format can be used as a guide for reading to children and it can be used as a guide for having all sorts of discussions about all sorts of matters. For example, we used this format with our teenagers (sans the diagram) when the everybody does it conversations arose. Level 1 was the content of what they wanted to do. Level 2 was the context that includes without judgment past experiences, the nature of their friends, where they wanted to go, what adults would be there, who might show up that they do not expect, but who might cause trouble. We also made plans for what they could do to extricate themselves from trouble should it arise. (And we always told them that we would pay for a taxi home at any hour, no questions asked.) Then whenever possible, we went to Level 3 by asking questions for which we required no answers what is going to matter to you in five or ten years? What is your long-range purpose? What are you going to be doing tonight that might affect that purpose? Do you still have know what matters? Considering the nature of our blended family of five children three of them adopted; two with fetal alcohol syndrome something must have worked. All were angry teens (Hals two because their mother had died when they were in grade school; my three because their father had abandoned them around that same age). We did not attend a church, but something must have held the center tight. We had no delinquents, drug or alcohol problems, or teen pregnancies as one might have expected from such a collection. I always used this three level format whenever my classes studied a piece of literature (probably most other English teachers have used this system in

Peirces Design for Thinking: A Philosophical Gift for Children


different formats as well, since Peirces semiotics underlies linguistics and most modern reading systems as well). As with Green Eggs and Ham, begin with the bottom of the diagram below and work up to the top. A Three Level Discussion Of Steinbecks The Chrysanthemums Level Three: Lessons of Purpose and Value 4. What might have been the authors purpose in writing this story? 3. What lessons(s) does this story seem to teach about people in general? 2. What did you come to realize about each of the characters at the very end that you did not know during most of the story? 1. What lessons from this story will you apply to your personal life? Level 2: Inferential Questions A. Why did she give a pot of flowers to the tinker? B. What kind of a man did she think the tinker was? C. What kind of man did she think her husband was? D. How did the farmers wife feel about her chrysanthemums? Inferences 2. The farmers wifes feelings were hurt. 1. The tinker threw away the chrysanthemums given to him by the farmers wife and kept the pot. Level 1: Fact 2. She turned her face away so that her husband could not see her tears. 1. On her way into town that evening, the farmers wife saw the chrysanthemums she had given to the tinker discarded by the side of the road without its pot. This same three level format: fact; inference; purpose (content; context; value) can be used for nearly any subject matter or situation. It can be used as a guide by parents and pre-school teachers who want to begin value discussions with young children. However, remember that qualities come first and value level discussions should not be lectures. They should not begin until the child is ready for them. Some children are ready at three and four; some are much older. All children need to learn to identify qualities and use analysis forms anyway so stick with these and with the content-context games until they are ready to make that next leap. Value concepts can be difficult for some people, even for some grown-ups.



That Charles Sanders Peirce was a genius is not open to question. That his logic and semiotic will continue to influence researchers and developers in many fields (including computer science, linguistics, mathematics, and philosophy) well into the twenty-first century and perhaps beyond is generally accepted. However, the few of us who have been attempting to demonstrate the value of Peirces philosophy as a system-wide tool for improving education have not had overly receptive audiences, which is understandable. Peirces writings are difficult to read and understand and John Dewey is the pragmatist most people think of as the educational philosopher. As an educator, I cannot find much with which to argue in Deweys philosophy. While I was mastering Peircean semiotics, I counted myself a Deweyan educator. Art as Experience was one of my guiding works when I was teaching, so was his Theory of Valuation. However, so much has been done with Peirces semiotics over this past century that we can now articulate his ideas well enough bring them into the field of educational philosophy and classroom practice as well. His contribution to educational philosophy and practice can now be integrated with Deweys and with those pragmatists who have built upon Deweys work. Where Peirces philosophy was once impenetrable, it is now simple and practical enough to be used at the pre-reading level (as with Green Eggs and Ham). Though there are many fine systems ready to be put together for the development of excellent educational programs, we need the coherent design for thinking, which Peirce developed, as a platform from which these other systems can operate most effectively. This design for thinking, which I briefly described here and also referred to in my 2001 book explaining the basics of Peirces philosophy, provides learners with the underlying skills they need to develop reasoning readiness.17 Reasoning readiness is a term I have coined to mean that children are primed to develop critical thinking skills to learn to reason rightly, with good affective and ethical judgment intact. Such reasoning skills can be developed over time in off moments or embedded into a curriculum, while students are learning basic reading, math, and writing skills. All of the things I have described here are activities parents can do while doing laundry, cleaning a garage, or driving the children to school. They are things a teacher can do while settling the class down before the real lesson begins. Or these activities can be embedded in playtime or lesson plans so that they are natural and seamless parts of a childs experience. The public educational system appears ready for an overhaul. Perhaps this brief introduction to Peirces triadic model of reasoning and its practical applications for even young children will convince parents and educators to

Peirces Design for Thinking: A Philosophical Gift for Children


consider Peirces design for thinking as a basis for developing reasoning readiness skills in young children and older ones as well.

1. Charles S. Peirce, A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God, in Charles S. Peirce: Selected Writings, ed. Philip P. Wiener (New York: Dover, 1958), p. 369. 2. Peirce, The Concept of God, in Philosophical Writings of Peirce, ed. Justus Buchler (New York: Dover, 1955), p. 377. 3. Peirce, Abduction and Induction, in Philosophical Writings of Peirce, ed. Justus Buchler (New York: Dover, 1955), pp. 150156. 4. Peirce, What Pragmatism Is, in Philosophical Writings of Peirce, ed. Justus Buchler (New York: Dover, 1955), p. 257. 5. Peirce, On Motives, in Philosophical Writings of Peirce, ed. Justus Buchler (New York: Dover, 1955), p. 306308. 6. John Dewey, Theory of Valuation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1939). 7. Peirce, Philosophy and the Conduct of Life, in Reasoning and the Logic of Things, ed. Kenneth Laine Ketner (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992), p. 111. 8. Ibid. 9. Peirce, Evolutionary Love, in Philosophical Writings of Peirce, ed. Justus Buchler (New York: Dover, 1955), p. 362. 10. Ibid., p. 363. 11. Albert Upton and Richard Samson, Creative Analysis (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1963), p. 15. 12. Ibid. 13. Peirce, Lessons from the History of Scientific Thought, in Charles S. Peirce: Selected Writings, ed. Philip P. Wiener (New York: Dover, 1958), p. 255. 14. Peirce, What Pragmatism Is, in Philosophical Writings of Peirce, ed. Justus Buchler (New York: Dover, 1955), p.258. 15. Jesper Hoffmeyer, Signs of Meaning in the Universe (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996). 16. Eldon McBride, former team UCLA team member, personal communication. 17. Phyllis Chiasson, Peirces Pragmatism: The Design for Thinking (Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi, 2001).


Celal Trer

Education can be defined according to its subject, aim, method, to whom it is addressed, etc., and from various perspectives.1 The general perspective towards which almost all of these definitions converge is that education is a struggle for maintaining desirable behavior in human actions. When we look at the history of humanity, we see that every society, every religion, and every philosophy, in order to maintain its existence, has had their own concept of education and they educate their followers using some perspective on truth. Human beings are at the axis of these educational and learning processes.2 There must be some type of a definition of the human being that shapes the human type to be achieved at the foundation of all concepts of education. Thus, all philosophies that define the human being have to establish their concepts of education and decide how to make these forms of education fit their definitions of the human.3 In general, philosophy of education is a field of knowledge that investigates the problem of historical, social, and cultural perpetuation, and this field uses its findings to illuminate our understanding of the human being in special and universal perspectives. Then, a concept of education can be fashioned to conform with the understanding gained. We know that many different concepts of education have arisen in the history of human thought; some have been discarded, while a few are still alive through many changes over time.4 We can infer from our comprehension of human history that the concept of education that we seek should be established by our best attempt to understand human beings, and then to define humanity adequately, determining both the nature of humanity and its telos. An adequate concept of education will thus provides guidance and determine the directions, methods, and technical tools for education. At this stage, we see that we cannot ignore how human beings have struggled with great effort to know themselves. Although we have a treasure of knowledge produced by the insight of scientists, philosophers, mystics, and poets, our views about humanity come to us only through the particular aspects of human beings. We cannot thereby know the essence of humanity, because all individuals are manifestations of their original social institutions, that were built by human beings. We believe that this ignorance about humanity has a special meaning. This ignorance does not result from any failure to collect necessary data, nor



does it result from incorrect or scarce data. On the contrary, this ignorance stems from the fact that the available data is extremely abundant and complex. The problem we confront is to first formulate plausible options for defining humanity from this data, and second, to comprehend each definition in its historical roots. From the point of view that we mentioned above, I will try to establish William Jamess theory of education in a way that highlights its special formulation of the concept of humanity as outlined in this essay. To explain Jamess theory of education in detail would require a long and exhausting effort; therefore, this paper will consider his theory of education in a more general manner. Jamess philosophical views have been read by many philosophers and other scholars in various contexts and interpreted in different ways. If such disagreements concern his writings, we can appreciate the difficulties that arise concerning issues not found in Jamess writings. There is no book of Jamess, nor any book about James, concerning the theory of education; there are only a few essays. Indeed, to establish Jamess theory of education is harder than to establish Jamess other views.5 Some of his works are relevant to education: The Principles of Psychology, published in 1890; Psychology, published in 1892; and Talks to Teachers, written in 1892 and published in 1899. I believe that Talks to Teachers may be the most helpful first source of his views on education, but it is not sufficient to establish a complete theory of education. When he wrote that book, he was speaking as a psychologist and had not yet established his mature pragmatism. Many writers agree that Jamess philosophy can be considered as having several stages. For example, Bennett Ramsey suggests the usual scholarly division of Jamess writings into three parts (early philosophical and psychological works; a middle period of tender minded religious investigation; and a late, strictly philosophical period.6 Hence, it is difficult to derive a basis for a whole theory of education from Talks to Teachers. Besides, when one investigates Talks to Teachers, the reader comes across issues about psychology, the workings and abilities of the mind, and general thoughts that descriptively reflect his concept of humanity which are presented in the context of functional psycology; but there is no philosophical background and structure behind it. It is necessary to correctly reconcile the data about psychology derived from that book with his philosophical views, especially his principles of experience, pluralism, and the theory of truth. This will require extraordinary effort. Do these considerations mean that James did not have any views about education, after establishing his philosophy, not to mention his particular views on education exclusively? It is difficult to claim that James has no views on education. He was in education as a popular teacher for 35 years, from 1872 to 1907. Moreover, he produced important scholarly research in psychology and philosophy, both of which are inclusive and extensive fields. One can see that

William Jamess Theory of Education


the claim that James had no concept of education is meaningless, because psychologys issues deal directly with the nature of education or, as E. Boutroux says, because every system of philosophy explicitly or implicitly ends in a doctrine of education.7 Besides, one is reminded of Jamess struggle on philosophical issues. So no one can assert that he neglects the fields which strictly deal with existence of humanity. His writings result from his own existential life, and he tested his thoughts in life. It is implausible to think James did not develop a concept of education, since he believes that philosophy has to have close contact with real life, and he understands philosophy as enriching the possibilities of the human being and as revealing each persons place in life. He was deeply concerned with the problems of education. However if one considers the sophisticated method that he used in his lectures or in his writings, one can obviously see his essential connection with education. He writes not as an instructor but as an educator.8 In this context, we have to consider Jamess philosophy in outline. The implications of his theory of education can be extracted from his general philosophical writings as whole. He was concerned with the problem of effective teaching, and with developing the philosophical and psychological principles of a theory of education which would make such teaching possible. James asserts that one of the crucial features of a worthwhile philosophy is that it makes a real connection with life. So, Jamess philosophy is primarily concerned with life and not with abstractions and polemics that have no influence on human action. He thinks that philosophy is an expression of human interests and ideals, and a reflection of the concrete empirical conditions of our existence. But to hold such a view, ones philosophy must be built around a particular conception of human nature. James conceives of persons as dynamic and vital centers of purposes and goals,9 and he pictures the human being as a striving, goal-positing, interest-fulfilling organism, whose most important characteristic is his volitional appropriation and projection of ends. As Suckiel says, this means that the venerable intellectual functions are not self-sufficing or self-justifying, but are worthwhile only in the context of specific practical ends.10 According to James, human consciousness is thoroughly teleological. This teleological conception of mind is one of the most important principles in Jamess philosophy. The content of this concept was established in The Principles of Psychology which reflects all features of Jamess philosophy. The problem that James addresses with his concept of consciousness is the mind-body problem, which still confronts us as problematic. James tries to solve the mind-body problem by the notion of the stream of consciousness. According to this theory, mind is at every step a theatre of possibilities. Consciousness chooses from possibilities by comparing them to others. Thus, the products of mind are created by the choosing abilities of consciousness.



In this theory of the stream of conciousness, the subject interprets his experience as to his interests and in a manner that he sees as fertile and fulfilling to his aims. In this process, the mind thinks of the properties of objects as essential or incidential. The properties of objects are the result of our perspectives of perception. Individuals focus their attention on one point of experience so as to arrange into order some unorganized complex activites of experience. An individual neglects some of the imput that comes from the stimulant, pays attention to other input, and thus connects the senses in time in order to grasp the experienced world. The interest of the individual serves as a criterion in the process of choosing and interpreting experience. The object that attracted the interest of an individual is determined by common shared categories of interpretation. In the schema that James offers us, there is freedom of action in ordering experience, and the individual may utilize his special interests for determining streams of experience, in order to reach an acceptable structure of world. The theory of the stream of conciousness established by James, which emphasizes the worth of cognitional activity, can be evaluated in terms of success in an individuals life and his contributions in actualising the good. The reflection of these thoughts that James established are very important in his theory of education. His explanations on thought-act relations by streams of experience are revolutionary for the conception of education. He asserts that learning occurs in accord with the teleological nature of mind, and thus the techniques and methods of education must be designed to take this nature into acount. For example, if a human being is a organism acting on his impressions and the reactions are determined by the mind then an aim of education is to develop and perfect these reactions.11 Again, James says that in the last analysis, education consists in the organizing of resources of a persons powers of conduct which shall fit him to his social and physical world.12 According to James, education cannot be more simply described than by calling it the organization of acquired habits of conduct and behavioral tendencies.13 James emphasizes that the stream of experience has two connected functions: it leads to knowledge, and it leads to action14 during the process of education.15 According to James, knowledge and thought in education are for the fulfillment of practical aims. This means that the essential aim of intellectual education is to maintain or modify our behaviors. The central role of the intellect is its functionality for conduct. Jamess pragmatism sees that the whole of human learning is a sensory-motor process.16 James also sees the stream of experience as a flowing stream of the old mixing with the new; as a pattern of continual creation in which novelty plays a significant part. James gives central place to voluntary functions in his conception of the stream of consciousness. For example, problem-solving, according to James, is the most characteristic and most special kind of voluntary thinking. Thus, James believes that human desires and interests are essential to thought and not

William Jamess Theory of Education


repressed: the interested selective mechanisms in the individual are effective in the learning process. In Talks to Teachers he says that teachers have to keep the minds of pupils away from other attention-grabbing objects in the process of learning.17 James implies the importance of influencing the process of selective mechanisms in streams of consciousness. The educational process is a process of gaining ideas and concepts. According to James, ideas and concepts are not creations apart from experience but rather that they originate in experiences, and should be judged practically. So the most educated mind is the person who has most useful ideas and concepts and whose mind is ready for various possible conditions of life. For James all ideas come from percepts. He writes: All conceptual content is borrowed: to know what the concept color means you must have seen red or blue, or green.... You can create new concepts out of old elements, but the elements must have been perceptually given.18 He explains that concepts achieve their universal quality because we attach that quality to them; we give them an intention to refer to a class of objects, as a particular psychic fringe. For example, the concept man stands for men or white for white objects. The fixity of ideas is equally a matter of convention. We attribute a constant meaning to concepts like triangle, genera, red, and so on, to achieve ease in handling the perceptual flux. In reality, ideas and even sensations are never the same twice; they are different by being different brain states and by being part of a new and total object of thought. James says: We think the thing now in one context, now in another; now in a definite image, now in a symbol. Sometimes our sense of its identity pertains to the mere fingre, sometimes it involves the nucleus, of our thought. We never can break the thought and tell just which one of its bits is the part that lets us know which subject is referred to.19 James stresses the importance of the ordering of the individuals experience in this process. Education, according to James, helps to rebuild experience. Jamess pragmatism teaches individuals to overcome varying new situations and conditions successfully. According to James, education should lead to a wide-openness of mind and a more flexible way of thinking. For James, both philosophy and education aim at serving to promote the development of a persons distinct individuality. So, education has to give perspective to a person, teach what is more important, and lead to an understanding of the meaning of life. It is around these values of individuality and meaning that James built his theory of education. As is well known, these values of individuality and meaning also are central to development of Jamess general philosophy. Jamess individualism is rooted both in his own personality and in his philosophical convictions. For James, individuality represents novelty, variation, and difference of individuals, from which life draws its interest and



society draws its progress. So, like philosophy, education must serve to preserve and promote individualism. In Jamess philosophy, this principles of individuality becomes his doctrine of pluralism that the world contains real variety, which makes an absolutely closed metaphysical system impossible. To him, there is no absolutely public and universal point of view, and as a consequence, one must respect the sacredness of individuality.20 He advises us to respect pluralism in individual persons as well as throughout the universe. To him, institutions tend to be based on points of likeness among people, whereas he stresses the constructive value of differences between people. So educators help to enrich the variety and diversity of individual experience. For James, the aim of education and the schools is to prepare the individual for an unpredictable future by developing and enriching their problemsolving ability, knowledge, and techniques. James sees human abilities as a ready resource for the sensory and intellectual augmentation of actual human living. Therefore, education is a social process, since living a human life is a social process. In this process, individual decision-making ability must be nurtured so that persons can gradually learn to take responsibility. In Great Men and Their Enviroment James presents a dialectic of development in which the interaction between individual and society exists in a creative tension. For James, the environment is the most important basis for the development of each individual because it selects what it needs from people, not vice-versa. Here, James rejects the widespread confident challenge to the autonomy of the individual that denies the individual any force for shaping history. James always considers the zone of individuals differences. Therefore, according to James, the teachers task is that of supervising the learning process that develops individuality and pluralism. By his theory of the stream of consciousness, James offers us an important ingredient to help develop available curriculum according to this theory, that involves an evolutionary process in education and learning. Jamess conception of the teleological mind requires a concept that evaluates the human being as attempting to adapt to its own environment. The implications of this concept for education is the very fact that learning is a life process and must deal with our environments. Therefore, James considers philosophy itself to be the most important teleological product, a result of individual creative energies and temperaments, which is to be judged by reference to its adequacy in serving human ends. According to James, the core of philosophy is to clarify the individuals place in the world in order to enrich the possibilities for human fulfillment.21 This conception provides the basis of his philosophical methods and theory of meaning. He belives that philosophy must deal with life and must be useful for life. According to James, philosophy must apply for the concrete experimental properties of actual life. To him, experience is the only ground on which every philosophical situation can be tested practically. The implication

William Jamess Theory of Education


of this argument implies the fact that the only ground of all problem-solving is in human experience. In fact, he sees that philosophy is a limited inquiry into actual and possible experiences. But his empricism is a radical empricism, that he himself labelled.22 Jamess psychology and philosophy widens the meaning of human experience from the more narrow conception of historical philosophies, and redefines experience by seeing it as solving all philosophical problems. When we consider that Jamess philosophy makes real contact with life, it can be said that the views on education aim to make a real connection with the life. Parallel to this view, experience that grounds improvements in his philosophy also grounds improvements to his theory of education. He contends that education is to be advanced on the grounds of experience. James starts the gradual process of education by emphasizing experience and experimental inquiry.23 For James, the test of philosophy and the theory of education are similar: the test is experience. For one who believes only in experience, the only legitimate point of departure is the reality which first strikes our attention. So, the primary element in education is dynamic, relational, and unfinished experience, and he wants us to focus on it.24 In this context, James believes that teachers must help students to improve their experiences in many regions such as religion, employment, and life style. For James, every experience develops certain habits. Man has the faculty of acquiring a mass of habits from the original condition of possessing none. It is useful for human beings to acquire a great variety of habits. James holds that every habit is a power; and the more powers a man has at his disposal, the more capable he is at various activities, and the more fully he will live. So, everything taught to a pupil is to be for him the point of departure of a certain habit. All teaching will determine in his organism a certain display of activity. But these habits should be possiblities, powers at service of mankind, not fatalities which tyrannize over him.25 Jamess account of experience reveals his account of humanity. In general, as explained above, any account of the theory of education can be evaluated according to the account given of humanity. At this point, improving his theory of education would require showing the most important features of his thought by emphasizing experience in education and the account of humanity that he consequently gives. Educators should take care to maintain in the mind the suppleness, the power of adaptation, of change, of acquisition, of experiment, which is its privilige. The very multiplicity and diversity of habits will contribute to render them more tractable. Jamess concept of the teleological nature of human beings and his methodological approach through the principle of experience are the main pillars of his pragmatism. Many things may be said about Jamess pragmatism, but the fact is that he dealt with the practice of pragmatism rather than its definition. Starting with this fact, it is rather meaningful to say that James deals



with the practice of the theory of education rather than with the speaking or writing of it.26 We can say that, like the Socratic life, James identified himself with his theory of education and made everything for the sake of its practice.27 James ascribed special importance to action in his pragmatism. Action is not a spontaneous central notion in his pragmatism. When the practical implications of ideas are emphasized, the most important thing that James took into consideration is not to associate all ideas to practice. Rather the practical act is considered as an aimed act by James and the notion of aim or interest has a central place in his pragmatism. Aims, ideals, goals, success, and striving for human existence are centers from which Jamess world views emanated. His pragmatism, is a philosophy that interprets traditional metaphysics, epistemology and moral issues as to their coherence with human goals.28 Thus, James philosophy stems from concrete situations, from life and at the end it refers to them. This dialectical side of philosophy that stems from concrete situations of life actually overlaps education that can be defined as a process of adjusting to existence. In this sense, doing philosophy means taking part in the education process. In this context, we can say that James views on education come before John Deweys view that philosophy itself is a general theory of education.29 James, who founded his philosophy on the basis human experience, sees also meaning and truth in experience. According to James, meaning is essentially dealing with practical interests of the individual. He does not consider meaning as isolated from experience and behavior. Therefore, according to James, the meaning of anything is the pragmatic meaning of it. His pragmatic meaning theory that he established goes beyond traditional philosophy. The criteria of meaning that James put forth is an essential criteria in his theory of education. First, James encourages us to struggle with concrete issues instead of abstract concepts and problems that do not deal with life. Since meaning is a characteristic that arises in the context of concrete issues. For James, education is essentially the preventive treatment for fogyism; it teaches us to enrich the mind with the greatest possible number of widely useful concepts, and at the same time to maintain intact and pure, so far as possible, the faculty of adapting these concepts, the expression of the past, to new objects which constitute the interests of the future.30 For James, education must cure a sort of congenital malady of human nature; the blindness of every consciousness to that which goes on in the consciousness of others. This is a subject which James had greatly at heart, and which he treated with contagious enthusiasm in his lecture to students: On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings in Talks to Teachers. If we judge others by using ourselves as the standard, then we fail to understand them. We misjudge the motives for their actions, their way of looking at life, the ideal which they honor and dream of incorporating in their lives. We should realize

William Jamess Theory of Education


that truth and good are things too great, too rich in various elements, to be encompassed by a single individual. He says: Hands off: neither the whole truth nor the good is revealed to any single observer, although each observer gains a partial superiority of insight from the peculiar position in which he stands.31 So, for James, real value may be found in feelings and conceptions which differ from our own. The tolerance which we owe our fellow creature is not a form of condescension, a privilege indulgently accorded those who do not think as we do in order that they may correct themselves; it is strict duty and a necessity. Boutroux asserts that tolerance is the wrong term; we ought to say sympathy; it is the opening of the eyes of consciousness; it is recognition of value which belongs to the personalities of others in the very ways in which they differ from our own; it is the communion of consciousness in the common effort to realize an ideal which is beyond the power of any single individual.32 James believes that education should serve to help the individual in order to arrange his meaning so that it maps to his experience. Thus, it is rather meaningful that James selected his essay What Makes a Life Significant as the last lecture in Talks to Teachers.33 He wants us to grasp the meaning of life existentially, both here and in his other writings.34 The aim of philosophy and education is to improve the personality, because the search for meaning requires the evolution of the ground of personality. Like philosophy, the aim of education is to give meaning to life and to improve and deepen its meaning. To accomplish this task, philosophy and education work in practice to increase the range and depth of meaning in our life. Educators should help persons find meaning in life, understand the limits of science and instruction, and to actualize themselves. Thus all curriculums tend to the basic issues of human existence. The problems of philosophy such as freedom, determinism, human rights, democracy, etc, have to have a place as main issues in actual education. Indeed, these issues deal with life directly. On this point, James wants all people to have to struggle with philosophy, that is, to struggle with the problems of life. James, applies his pragmatic meaning theory to the problem of truth. The result is insightful and is different from the theories of truth current at that time. James gives truth a functional characteristic rather than ontological one. According to James, truth is related to aims and interest of human beings and is ultimately a moral category in philosophy. James does not consider the individual as a passive observer of reality and collector of the truths that are independent of and free from values. To James, who holds that reality is not independent and free from experience, this world is, in large part, a human construction; and its character is determined by the aims and goals that the various alternative interpretation of experience serve. Thus reality is a



reflection of pragmatic truth, and physical objects as we know them are embodiments of human values.35 James gives human beings an effective role by reducing truth to experience in general and to the moral in particular. If truth is being built by us in the ultimate sense, then the mistakes and oversights in the building process may produce deep problems in human life. Making a better world in a moral sense may occur by building truth in our experience. Education has to have an effective role in such an important issue that is dealing with human existence. In exploring the process of truths that are built in our experience, education and learning help individuals to explore the truth. In fact, James says that teachers must teach students to build their truths in/from their experience.36 The natural implication of Jamess radical empiricism entails pluralism. Experiences flow in different ways and the plurality of things do not gather in any fixed manner, but only probable paths. The flow of experience necessitates the conception of a pluralistic universe and belief that the links and connections among things are real. Believing in these links and connections is necessary to the achievement of our aims. Jamess pluralism establishes radical modifications to our understanding of the universe. For example, we can have a chance for novelty only in a pluralistic universe. According to James, the novelty that is presented in experience provides us our opportunity for rebuilding the universe. Like biological mutation, cosmological mutation may provide and gather definite directions. If one chooses a correct direction, one can make a better world. If one chooses the wrong direction, results may be worse. The existential issue of building a human universe is of central significance. Accord ng to James, human beings are not passive observers of the universes drama; we are some of the actors. There is a distinct difference between these alternative pictures of humanity: one portrays us as merely observers while the other lets us be actors and authors. For James, the duty of the philosopher as observer is to narrate the drama, whereas his duty as an actor-author is to help create the drama. The actor/author helps to determine the final conclusion through his efforts. His efforts are of worth and they are important. According to James, the distinctive diversity in these two roles is that the former is passive and later is active. James asserts that his pragmatic philosophy reflects this active element. According to pragmatism, philosophers are not only thinkers but also active men. For James, the philosopher has to come down from his ivory tower and struggle with practical issues. This new role for the philosopher should be one of a person who wants to understand the unfinished good, as a student of the moral. Philosophers should investigate the things that appears good in actual human life. He investigates the modes of behavior and tries to determine which of them are good. If the usefulness of the modes that he found have been proven credible and been adopted by human beings, then these modes are refutable. To James, the world

William Jamess Theory of Education


can be made by our efforts; the future is a function of our choices that we have made and will make.37 The reflections of these ideas in the field of education field are very obvious. For example, James would have human beings gain new meaning and value. He views philosophy as a service to human aims and goals, a teleological product that emerges from individual energy and order, so he thinks that the philosophical enterprise may find its deepest account in the moral field. To him, the object of moral perspective requires man and his education. He proposes man not merely as a further participant, but as one of the creators of things. According to James when man gains effectiveness, then he also gains responsibility. Therefore, man is a partner of guilt when something works badly and he is to be commended when something works well. He wants to cultivate one who is reborn everyday to grasp life with joy and delight, to improve himself everyday, to fight evil with his all energy and struggle for increasing good in the world as did James himself. James says: Take, then the yoke upon our shoulder; bend our neck beneath the heavy legality of its weight; regard something else than our feeling as our limit, our master, and our law; be willing to live and die in its service, -and, at a stroke, we have passed from the subjective into objective philosophy of things, much as one awakes from some feverish dream, full of bad lights and noises, to find ones self bathed in the sacred coolness and quite of the air of the night.38 According to James, human life does not come into being accidentally. Human life is essentially the result of critical thinking and the careful use of freedom. By using these functions, he emphasizes that we do need a moral perspective in making correct decisions. In the gaining of this perspective, James wants us to focus on creative feelings and the emotions of life.39 These creative feelings help us to expose new and valuable things. Thus, education provides a human being with an ability to separate that is essential from what it is incidental in his life. This view implies that all we learn will be of value to us in building our worldview and we will have to be careful not to confuse essential and incidental things in our life. Now, all these works can be achieved by education and teachers. James indicates the significance of education and teachers by saying, the teachers of this country have its future in their hands.40 The implication of this view involves the fact that the future can be shaped by education. In fact, James asserted that America will be guided by education in one to two generations.41 Today, this fact is obvious to us; it is not merely a prediction, just because it is result of real philosophy. Therefore everyone has to care about this process that will shape our future, and be a participant in it. On this point, James says that educators must have a



professional spirit in their work.42 For James, teaching is an art.43 The art of teaching grew up in the schoolroom, out of inventiveness and sympathetic concrete obsevation.44 For James, education depends upon science, particularly psychology. Education is neither a simple application of science, nor it is a practice given order in its distinctive part by fantasy and caprice; it is in the true sense of the word an art, using science with intelligence and freedom.45 According to James, all people, as members of a society, should strive to change, modify, improve, and advance himself. James is quite concious of all the effort this requires. Morever, he says all of these efforts have a cost.46 According to James, culture and wealth are not enough for making a worthwhile life. The ideal is that the chemical togetherness/synergy of them in order to lead to a better life. Thus, we have to consider new ideals and chances in life. New ideals emerge when the former ones start to disappers.47 So, this sutiation requires permanent struggle and serious consideration of life. James says: What must we do? Be strong and of a good courage. Act for the best, hope for the best, and take what comes....48 Be not afraid of life. Believe that is life is worth living....49 ... we ourselves may be authors of genuine novelity....50 As Jamess psychology matured, his theory of education, like his philosophy, started from an epistemology, and finally rose to a metaphysical status.

1. Philip G. Smith, Philosophy of Education (New York: Harper and Row, 1965), pp. 2325. 2. H. W. Burns and C. J. Brauner, eds., Philosophy of Education (New York: Ronald Press, 1962), p. 319. 3. See Jacques Maritain, Mans Nature and the Aims of His Education, in Philosophy of Education, ed. William K. Frankena (New York: Macmillan, 1965), pp. 3743. 4. Smith, Philosophy of Education, pp. 1822. 5. Bruce Wilshire, James, William (18421910), in Philosophy of Education: An Encyclopedia, ed. J. J. Chambliss (New York: Garland, 1996), p. 321. 6. Bennett Ramsey, Submitting to Freedom: The Religious Vision of William James (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 4.

William Jamess Theory of Education


7. E. Boutroux, William James, trans. Archibald and Barbara Hendersen (London: Longmans, Green, and Co, 1912), p. 94. 8. Wilshire, James, William (18421910), p. 321. 9. Ellen Kappy Suckiel, The Pragmatic Philosophy of William James (Notre Dame, Ind.: Notre Dame University Press, 1982), p. 1. 10. Ibid., p. 2. 11. William James, Talks to Teachers (New York: Norton, 1958), p. 42. 12. Ibid., p. 36. 13. Ibid., p. 37. 14. Ibid., p. 32. 15. Ibid., p. 28. 16. Hans Joas, The Creativity of Action (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1996), p. 130. 17. James, Talks to Teachers, p. 25. 18. James, Some Problems of Philosophy (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1911), pp. 7980. 19. James, The Principles of Psychology (New York: Dover, 1950), p. 480. 20. James, Talks to Teachers, p. 19. 21. Suckiel, The Pragmatic Philosophy of William James, p. 3. 22. See James, Essays in Radical Empiricism (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1912). 23. Smith, Philosophy of Education, p. 207. 24. James, Talks to Teachers, p. 104105; Bruce Wilshire, William James and Phenomenology (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1968), p. 137; R. J. V. Burgt, The Religious Philosophy of William James (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1981), p. 142; Eugene Fontinell, James: Religion and Individuality, in Contemporary American Philosophy: Its Contemporary Vitality, ed. Douglas Anderson, Carl Hausman, and Sandra Rosenthal (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999). 25. Boutroux, William James, p. 100. 26. Wilshire, James, William (18421910), p. 321. 27. Kenneth H. Hansen, Philosophy for American Education (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1960), p. 28. 28. Suckiel, The Pragmatic Philosophy of William James, pp. 78. 29. Burns and Brauner, Philosophy of Education, p. 318. 30. Boutrox, William James, p. 107. 31. James, Talks to Teachers, p. 169. 32. Boutroux, William James, p. 110. 33. Wilshire, James, William (18421910), p. 322. 34. Wilshire, William James and Phenomenology, p. 142. 35. Suckiel, The Pragmatic Philosophy of William James, p. 11. 36. James, The Principles of Psychology, p. 321. 37. James, A Pluralistic Universe (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1909), pp. 2930. 38. James, The Will to Believe (New York: Dover, 1956), p. 174. 39. Joas, The Creativity of Action, p. 137. 40. James, Talks to Teachers, p. 21. 41. Ibid., p. 22.



42. Ibid. 43. See Boutroux, William James, p. 96. 44. James, Talks to Teachers, p. 24. 45. Boutroux, William James, p. 98. 46. James, Talks to Teachers, p. 191. 47. Ibid., p. 190. 48. James, The Will to Believe, p. 31. 49. Ibid., p. 62. 50. James, Some Problems of Philosophy (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1909), p. 145.


Jrgen Oelkers

Modern science is research science, writes George Herbert Mead in Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century,1 and that raises problems for traditional philosophy, calling its concepts and doctrines into question. Research science is hypothetical learning; concepts must be tested and cannot be assured; theories are not dogmas, but rather temporary working hypotheses in the light of existent, present experiences and facts. This means that every postulate can turn into a problem; all assumptions are valid only from the point of view of the science of the time (Mead 1936, p. 265).2 Scientific inquiry in this sense begins with the Renaissance and finally gains ascendance in the nineteenth century. The consequences for philosophy are grave: truth is now a working truth that is temporal and transitory; the philosophical being becomes history; and society can no longer be understood on the basis of feudal theories. Philosophy can interpret scientific results (ibid., p. 343), but it can neither replace them nor offer alternatives to them. One solution to this situation, says Mead, was the philosophy of Pragmatism as developed by William James and John Dewey (ibid., p. 344f.). One of its central insights relates to the theory of scientific experimental or hypothetical learning, which Mead expands to develop a general model of education. Research science and education are not two separate areas. They both refer to an identical experience. Pragmatism calls upon two sources: The sources of the pragmatic doctrine are these: one is behavioristic psychology, enables one to put intelligence in its proper place within the conduct of form, and to state that intelligence in terms of the activity of the form itself; the other is the research process, the scientific technique, which comes back to the testing of a hypothesis by its working... If we connect these two by recognizing that the testing in its working-out means the setting-free of inhibited acts and processes, we can see that both of them lead up to ... a doctrine ..., and that perhaps the most important phase of it is this: that the process of knowing lies inside of the process of conduct. (ibid., p. 351352) For this reason, writes Mead, pragmatism has been spoken of as a practical sort of philosophy, a sort of bread-and-butter philosophy (ibid., p.



352). It does not distinguish between thought and being or between knowledge and action; it brings the process of thought, of knowledge, inside of conduct (ibid., p. 352). The theory is warranted on the basis of the research process or learning through hypotheses on the one hand, and on the psychology of Behaviorism as understood by John Dewey and William James (ibid., p. 392ff.) on the other.3 This is not John Watsons theory of conditioned learning based on his behaviorist manifesto of 1913,4 but rather a theory of intelligent adaptation that sees experience as a temporal sequence (ibid., p. 392) and consciousness as emerging from public communication, without rigorously rejecting intentionality (ibid., p. 399ff.).5 One of the main influences on the development of Pragmatism was the shift in the nature of work in the rapidly developing industrial society. The growing division of labor was concurrent with the processes of urbanization and the attendant new formation of the public consciousness. It was only in the modern city that the individual could free himself from feudal control, as a day laborer receiving money in return for his services. The wage belonged to him in terms of his own effort, under no feudal conditions at all (ibid., p. 175). With the city, new forms of social control had to be built up (ibid., p. 176) that could be neither feudal nor ecclesiastical. This description had its roots essentially in Georg Simmels Philosophie des Geldes,6 which Mead had reviewed in the 19001901 volume of the Journal of Political Economy. In that work, Simmel (1989, p. 379ff.) had laid out how the historical departure from an agrarian economy and the manorial system brought with it the freeing of the individual (ibid., p. 138) under the conditions of the non-determined existence of the city (ibid., p. 596). For Simmel, fundamental to the public forms of the urban existence is individual and social differentiation (ibid., p. 631). The classical view of society, as a closed entity or body that incorporates individuals in a lasting grip, no longer holds. We can also no longer view individuals as ultimate, indivisible monads that are untouched by the process of their experience. Simmel sees differentiation as both spatial and temporal; it occurs both in coexistence and in succession (ibid., p. 369), which can be observed in the division of labor or the phenomena of fashions. Similarly, Mead holds that the gradual and continuous emergence of capitalistic industrial society fundamentally changed the social situation. Society, and thus education, can no longer be understood according to the pattern of the ancient house (Mead 1936, p. 185), meaning closed experience and static social forms. Social dynamics entered not only with industry, but also with the modern economy oriented towards an unlimited market. The new economic community of the nineteenth century was more universal than any church, and it had no need for metaphysical justifications (ibid., pp. 187188). Also, it brought together people who were separated nationally, in language, in customs (ibid., p. 188).

Some Historical Notes on George Herbert Meads Theory of Education 45 Society, however, is not the same thing as market. In contrast to Malthus, Mead makes it clear that freedom of exchange is not based on natural laws of economy. Work and capital do not follow the simple tendencies of unceasing growth of wealth as well as increasing impoverishment, but instead must be seen upon the background of increasing differentiation and ongoing problem solving (ibid., p. 194ff.). Societies develop ... by adjusting themselves to the problems they find before them (ibid., pp. 365366). Social adaptation is always intelligent adaptation and therefore a process of continuous learning. When we reach the human form with its capacity for indicating what is important in a situation, through the process of analysis; when we get to the position in which a mind can arise in the individual form, that is, where the individual can come back upon himself and stimulate himself just as he stimulates others; where the individual can call out in himself the attitude of the whole group; where he can acquire the knowledge that belongs to the whole community; where he can respond as the whole community responds under certain conditions when they direct this organized intelligence toward particular end; then we have this process which provides solutions for problems working in a self-conscious way. (ibid., p. 366) Mead is trying to connect the entire evolutionary process with social organization (ibid., p. 372) and adaptation with intelligence.7 Modern society requires intelligent forms of social control that must go beyond simple historical habits and patterns. Society is thus cooperation, which is to be understood as a highly complex activity based upon human beings ability to take the attitude of the group to which they belong, and it is not merely based upon gain or loss (ibid., p. 375). Thinking refers to public consideration; it is taking the attitude of others, talking to other people, and then replying in their language. That is what constitutes thinking (ibid., pp. 375376).8 A central focus of this theory, and the subject of the present paper, is the question of how education, democracy, and society are connected. There has been little reception of Mead in the field of education internationally, and practically no investigation of his theory of education.9 The rather indiscriminate linking of Mead with Symbolic Interactionism10 prevented for the most part attention to Meads theory of education or the placing of it in the field occupied by John Dewey, namely the relation between education and democracy. In the following, I attempt to reconstruct the contemporary context of these issues (section 1) and then discuss some aspects of social theory as they were treated in the intellectual context of which Mead was a part (section 2). Finally, I will examine Meads peculiar theory of education, which like many areas of his work exists only in fragments and nevertheless is far more



deserving of attention than has been realized to date (section 3). Mead dealt intensively with pedagogical problems. His first publication relevant to education goes back to the year 1896, and it is not coincidentally devoted to the relation of play to education (Mead 1896).11 1. Society, Democracy, and Education Educational reform has been a public issue in the United States since the midnineteenth century. Charles William Eliot spoke of new education as early as 1869, the year of his inauguration as president of Harvard University.12 He demanded a broadening and deepening of higher education in the United States that would have a place for the natural sciences, foreign languages, and political economy.13 Eliot, president of Harvard for forty years, held to a concept of higher education that would leave behind the European conception of the cultivated man and educating the self and instead focus on efficiency and usefulness for society (Eliot 1903). He criticized the state of the field of education: The history of education if full of still-born theories; the literature of the subject is largely made up of theorizing; whoever reads it much will turn with infinite relief to the lessons of experience (Eliot 1869, p. 204). The speculative science of education was not in a position to deal with the question of how a democratic education could be developed. John Dewey referred to Eliot in his contributions to Paul Monroes14 Cyclopedia of Education,15 the first large summary and lexical organization of the field of American education, and with it, the new education.16 Monroes Cyclopedia (published 1911 to 1914) was the first education encyclopedia to use in print the term philosophy of education and to include the entry democracy and education, which Dewey understood as follows: Democracy and education are connected in two ways. Not only does a democracy require educated citizens for purposes of self-perpetuation, but also democratic ideals themselves shape education, namely the form and methods of the public schools (Dewey 1985, pp. 417418). Democracys prerequisite is respect for the individual, which means that feudal authority must be overcome in the process of societal differentiation. Democracy inevitably carries with it increased respect for the individual as individual, greater opportunity for freedom, independence and initiative in conduct and thought, and correspondingly increased demand for fraternal regard and for self-imposed and voluntarily borne responsibilities. (ibid., p. 418) Eliots influence included outlining the central concerns of the new education. They were intended to highlight the differences between American and British or European pedagogy, such as with regard to freedom in

Some Historical Notes on George Herbert Meads Theory of Education 47 education, the greater individualization of teaching, and particularly the function of education in a democratic society.17 The first two volumes of the Cyclopedia appeared in 1911, one year after the publication of How We Think in which Dewey examined the cognitive psychology basis of the new education. Eliot is one of the sources of the famous formula that states that education is the continuous reconstruction of experience (Dewey 1985, p. 431).18 Dewey describes the basis for this formula, which also derives from Meads hypothetical learning, as follows: So far we have considered education from the standpoint of its place and function in societies that make use of it to secure the conservation and expansion of their own ideals. We may, of course, also regard the process from the standpoint of the immature beings who at a given time are being transformed into social members, to sustain the community type of life. So viewed, education may be defined as a process of the continuous reconstruction of experience with the purpose of widening and deepening its social content, while, at the same time, the individual gains control of the methods involved. (ibid.) Later Mead examines just wherein this reconstructive activity of the individual in a democratic society lies. The single individual cannot oppose society and impose his will upon it; society therefore restricts free will. But there is no problem that has not been defined by individuals, just as there are no research problems that did not originate with individual researchers.19 All problems of relevance are communicated socially, but worked out individually. No project to find a solution emerges simply right out of the middle of society, which exists only in a metaphorical sense. Here is a certain situation. We all agree to that. What can be done about it? The step which can be taken under those circumstances is some project which can meet that particular problem. That, then, becomes a basis for social reaction. It has to be accepted by the community. The individual puts his problem in universal form. The thing he presents is essentially a social affair which arises through his thinking, his idea. (Mead 1938, p. 662f.) Individuality is no longer the inner counter-world to external society, as in the European tradition of personal self-cultivation. The dualism of individual and society itself comes into question, for society is not a thing confronting the individual, but rather complex interactions between individuals and groups. All social institutions or methods are solutions to problems. They can be changed as new problems and new solutions arise. This means that it is impossible to relate education to inner cultivation. This is the essential starting



point of the Pragmatist theory of education: education refers to social interaction, which is not something that can see itself as an unquestioned authority. Eliot criticized the great rift between self-cultivation and usefulness to society. He saw society as the natural setting for all educational concerns (Eliot 1909, p. 39) and urged that the concept must change: namely, there must be an end to the overemphasis on the great texts of cultural history and thus the search for values in the past. New education must include modern languages, specialization,20 and finally, encourage innovative problem-solving or constructive imagination (ibid., pp. 40ff., 45).21 At the same time, education must address the students own self-activity and individuality, he wrote in 1894.22 In school and college alike the really effective teaching ... is what is addressed to each individual pupil (Eliot 1909a, p. 318). Instruction, wrote Dewey in 1900,23 should not merely conserve knowledge, conveying the idea that there are no doubt, no difficulties, and no necessity to think further (Dewey 1916, p. 189ff.). In January 1896 the University Elementary School of the newly founded University of Chicago opened under the direction of Alice and John Dewey. The school was also called the Laboratory School, to indicate the schools character of a laboratory in which the child was to take an active part, teaming through doing and discovering. Although he had not coined the term,24 Eliot had placed the expression laboratory method quite prominently two years previously in an essay on The Unity of Educational Reform in connection with science instruction: The old-fashioned method of teaching science by means of illustrated books and demonstrative lectures has been superseded, from the kindergarten through the university, by the laboratory method, in which each pupil, no matter whether he has been three years old or twenty-three, works with his own hands, and is taught to use his own senses. (Eliot 1909a, pp. 318319) One opponent was Matthew Arnold, whose humanistic theory of the forming of the mind and the cultivation of man developed in Culture and Anarchy (1869)25 was rejected in favor of a concept of education that has room for industrial training and scientific research and technology as well as languages and history, thus departing from the self-understanding of the humanities as the true bearers of culture. The humanities, wrote Dewey (1985, p. 406), were typically blind to the fundamental importance of knowledge of nature as a necessary condition of reaching both all-round individual development and an equable social improvement. Eliot had written in 1894 that effective power in action is the true end of education, rather than the storing up of information, or the mere cultivation of

Some Historical Notes on George Herbert Meads Theory of Education 49 faculties which are mainly receptive, discriminating, or critical, i.e., an education that does not address the practical at all (Eliot 1909a, p. 323). This would require very extensive changes in curricula and teaching methods, changes that made up what was called the new education. Dewey presented a proposal for this change in his article on the course of study for Monroes Cyclopedia.26 According to Dewey, curriculum construction27 must master three main problems: 1. the significance of subject-matter in general 2. its relation to experience 3. its classification (ibid., p. 396) The contents of instruction must be of demonstrated significance and not base merely upon the traditional canon. Curriculum contents must also be able to be connected to the students experience, and they must be based upon a convincing classification that does not simply reproduce traditional curricula. Teaching materials and lesson plans the instruments of instruction and learning should not take on autonomous importance, but must remain linked to the experience context. They are social products, not school media exclusively. Children are also not empty slates with none of their own experience, learning simply what the school offers. The experience of pupils is already more or less socialized. It has been built up through suggestions and interpretations derived from the social groups of which the child is already a member. It is already saturated with social values that are akin to these presented in the studies of the curriculum. (ibid., p. 400) This understanding of the socialized child, who does not enter school as a tabula rasa,28 goes back to Charles Cooleys (1902, 1909)29 theory of the primary group, which was later developed further by William Thomas. Primary groups are all groups or social associations in which and through which the child builds up his first and fundamental experiences. These experiences are essential in forming the social nature, ideals, and worldview of the adult person. A persons first learning does not take place in the school; children are from the start enmeshed in social contexts. Cooley also developed further the idea of the social self which would overcome the Cartesian gap between inner and external world. Children are not, as according to Rousseau, first nature and then society; they are from the start, and always as active learners and society-minded, if society is understood as their primary social relationships. Children thus learn democracy within their primary culture.



The facts of this matter demanded a theoretical explanation. In 1916, in Democracy and Education, Dewey accused the theoretical tradition in pedagogy in its entirety, not only the German tradition, of lacking a democratic basis. According to Dewey, it presupposed a feudal society based on paternal and timeless principles, justifying a hierarchical education that was in appropriate for a developing democratic society (Oelkers 2000). Mead (1964, p. 210) called it philosophic servitude that was inappropriate for free communities, which can choose their own philosophies and need not rely upon sacrosanct traditions (ibid., p. 374). Here the peculiarities of the American experience were taken into account:30 Popular education and economic opportunity sprang naturally from its [meaning the American, note by present author] social attitude and its geographical situation. It was the distillation of the democracy inherent in Calvinism and the Industrial Revolution at liberty to expand and proliferate for a century without the social problems which beset it in Europe. The American pioneer was spiritually stripped for the material conquest of a continent and the formation of a democratic community. (ibid., pp. 374375) The examples chosen by Dewey in Democracy and Education are highly pertinent: neither Herbart and Hegel, nor Pestalozzi, nor Froebel present a democratic theory of education. Instead they speak of The Education of Man,31 which can be applied in any type of societal system. The main problem for the authors in the Pragmatist school was the formulation of a democratic theory of education independent of these traditions that would correlate with the experiences of democratic society. Modern in contrast to antique democracy is based upon interchange between groups and individuals (Mead 1934, p. 286ff.). The issue is thus how education can become an interchange of ideas, a conversation, belonging to a universe of discourse (ibid., p. 284), without following an agenda of political propaganda (ibid., p. 287). The American literature as well often overlooks the fact that Deweys Democracy and Education did not mark the beginning of the discussion on democratization. From the time of Eliots plea for the new education, there were continuous references to the necessity to adapt programs and experiences of schools at all levels to democracy and, more specifically, to democratic forms of life. New education (Palmer 1887) was not seen only as a change in methods, but in a much broader sense as a change in the political structure of education. Well-known examples of the political discourse include Booker T. Washingtons32 address (1896) on equality of black pupils as a precondition for democratic development of the school (Washington 1932); Charles Eliots plea (1897) for general and equal school standards that would be necessary if education was to qualify as a function of a democratic society (Eliot 1909a, pp.

Some Historical Notes on George Herbert Meads Theory of Education 51 399418); and Charles Cooleys (1918) utilization of the primary group as a foundation of a democratic school culture. The fundamental idea of public education for all children under republican circumstances goes back to the founding of the United States (Troehler 2001). The idea typically combines equal access to education with strong normative convictions that assume political democracy. Authors like George Herbert Mead (1899, 1910), John Dewey (1903), or Ella Flagg Young (1903) very early related the theory of education to the democratic form of life, that is, to social exchange and interaction. Mead formulated the idea that all social reform can be seen as a political and educational working hypothesis that must stand the test of experience without guarantees on the basis of metaphysics or philosophy of history. The effect of pedagogical reforms becomes evident in the process of experience and not as the result of a plan that laid out the route prior to or independently of experience. Dewey in 1903 saw democracy as a condition for education, and Ella Flagg Young voted for the application of the scientific method, or controlled learning through experience also (and precisely) in education. The demand that education for democracy must itself be democratic can be traced back to reform pedagogy experiments that were conducted not only within the American progressive education movement, but also in the English radical schools between the wars (Blewitt 1934). Democratic procedures, such as voting and public discussions or criticism, were realized in the schools. Closely related is Deweys idea that the school should be an embryonic society, anticipating on a small scale that which would be demanded later on the larger scale, particularly social behavior and a democratic attitude (Tanner 1997). A democratic education must also be based upon a democratic theory of education that is no longer fixated upon traditional authorities, but instead is capable of responding to the open process of democratic experience. Like all experience, therefore, the theory must be correctable and can no longer be formulated independently of the time or context. A theory of education thus requires a social theory. The question of how society is possible brings us back to Georg Simmel.33 Socialization, writes Simmel (1968, p. 24), is processes of interaction; society is nothing more than the interactions arising among individuals (ibid., p. 25). If education is also seen as cooperation, it can no longer be conceived of as influencing, as was the case up to Herbertianism.34 Mead (1938, p. 137) responded to Simmels question and utilized it in order to develop a strictly social theory of education with the following basic tenet: What has made human society possible has been a co-operation through communication and participation. The goals and means of human life must be realized under the condition of social differentiation, and it is the raison dtre of the co-operative process that individual goals cannot simply be transformed into social goals, but instead require negotiation. Otherwise, democracy would have no basis.


JRGEN OELKERS 2. Pragmatism and Social Theory

Mead described in 192335 the ideal that underlies democracy. Democracy implies a highly complex social situation that is not simply given, but instead must be determined again and again. The theory calls for the development of an intelligent public sentiment upon the issues before the community. This is what democratic government means, for the issue does not actually exist as such, until the members of the community realize something of what it means to them individually and collectively. There cannot be self-government until there be an intelligent will ex pressed in the community, growing out if the intelligent attitudes of the individuals and groups in those experience the community exists. Our institutions are insofar democratic that when a public sentiment is definitely formed and expressed it is authoritative. (Mead 1964, pp. 257258) Of course, in practice this is quite rare; democracy cannot be seen as a social situation free from obstacles (ibid., p. 259) and full of harmony. On the contrary, the ideal and reality of democracy must step apart to allow for continuous, cautious attempts to bring them into closer alignment. Mead sees the necessary condition for this as an education problem: The real hope of democracy ... lies in making the issues so immediate and practical that they can appear in the minds of the voter as his own problem. (ibid., p. 263) The complexity of the social situation does not make this impossible; high differentiation does not contradict simplicity insofar as it affects what might be called the didactics of politics and thus the development of the public sentiment. The advance in the practice and theory of democracy depends upon the successful translation of questions of public policy into the immediate problems of the citizens. It is the intensive growth of social interrelations and intercommunications that alone renders possible the recognition by the individual of the import for his social life of the corporate activity of the whole community. The task of intelligence is to use this growing consciousness of interdependence to formulate the problems of all, in terms of the problem of everyone. (ibid., pp. 263264) The weakness of the classical theory of society was that its basic concepts were bound to static elements. Organic or juristic metaphors, such as community or institution, were often used to illustrate these elements. If

Some Historical Notes on George Herbert Meads Theory of Education 53 society is understood, however, as social interchange and thus transitory communication between individuals and groups an idea of Dewey (1985a, p. 92ff.) then continuous learning and the adapting of action to ever-new circumstances becomes the fundamental task, provided that the social world surrounds what is problematic (Mead 1938, p. 55). Inclusion and exclusion, the two basic tasks of drawing social boundaries, are now no longer viewed as static, but rather as continuous problem solving. In this sense, experience and education are no longer different things, and the social is no longer a special condition for education, but is education itself. The fine-tuning of experience to ever-new situations of learning and acting is education. In Pragmatism, three main concepts were definitive for social theory: 1. The theory of society as a learning process. 2. The theory of time as uninterrupted continuation of experience. 3. The theory of evolution as continuous adaptation. Philip Wiener (1949) pointed out early on that social evolution informed the Pragmatist theory of society, in the sense that the Pragmatists related Charles Darwins concept of adaptation to social intelligence. Besides that, it was Mead in particular who developed a theory of time that owes much to Henri Bergson36 and starts out from the problem of continuity. Society is possible only insofar as it can perpetuate itself. If, however, social intelligence is possible only as constant new adaptations, then the fundamental question arises as to how continuity can be reconcilable with change. Society was understood at the end of the nineteenth century as social differentiation a concept to which, in addition to Simmel, mile Durkheim also contributed. For Durkheim, social differentiation arises with the division of labor, growing mobility, and the heightened dynamics of culture. Durkheim wanted this process to be seen as an irrevocable fact, similar to the way that physics describes the laws of nature. Durkheims idea of faits sociaux was challenged by Georg Simmel (1968) in particular, through the concept of social groups and identity-differentiating interfaces and transitions, although he did not connect this to an actual social learning theory. But indeed we can understand processes of social differentiation only when we relate them to learning, and not just view them as facts. The French sociologist Gabriel De Tarde37 developed a fundamental theory of social learning. In 1890 he conceived of social interaction as similitudes, as the construction of similarity through imitation. The key learning process is imitation; innovation requires that there are enough imitations in the culture that society can never begin at ground zero (De Tarde 1993, p. 48ff.). The prerequisite of innovation is always la strilit relative



dimagination (ibid., p. 50), or the impeded power of imitation. This is the only way that the issue of temporal continuity/contingency, which has been a problem not only since Luhmann,38 can be handled. Learning involves association in temporal succession and therefore does not consist simply in enduring internalizations, as predicated for example by psychoanalysis. Association succeeds, says De Tarde, when social imitation39 is directed towards that which is utile, raisonnable ou belle (ibid., p. 53). Useful, rational, and beautiful things invite imitation and in this way determine the social learning process. De Tarde in not known in the field of education, even to experts in the history of pedagogy. However, he was a significant influence on the Pragmatist theory of society, particularly on Dewey and Mead. Mead made various references to De Tarde, in particular to his concept of the social self (Mead 1982, p. 155f.), which Mead took over and developed further. In De Tardes (1999) Logique social (Logic) he describes how reciprocity and the opposition between various imitations creates the social facts, which therefore do not simply exist as facts of a second Nature. Society must be conceived of as fundamentally different than nature; society is namely the effect of social interactions and the condition of differences. Heterogeneity always precedes homogeneity. The relation to De Tardes theory of social learning is less obvious, but for Pragmatism learning is also first that as understood by De Tarde, namely, suivant la nature des habitudes dimitation dej formees (ibid., p. 55). This is the only way to achieve what Mead (1938, p. 26ff.) called in The Philosophy of the Act the limits of the problematic. Sociality cannot be understood as a single field of problems, which also means that the psychology of problem solving has social limitations: Our experience is not simply an experience of, say, color at this moment and color at the next moment. Our experience is of something that is taking place, there is such a thing as passage in experience (ibid., p. 85f.), and therefore experiences are related and thus never only isolated points. It is social interchange that makes determinism impossible (ibid., p. 153). The social world itself cannot become problematic; therefore, we must distinguish between world and the problematic areas of data of observation, both in the research process and in society alike (ibid., p. 31). Social learning is never mere imitation, but it is rather, as Mead says, a meeting of minds (ibid., p. 52) or a universe of discourse, in which the interrelation and thus collective intelligence are determined ever anew. The universe of discourse which deals simply with the highest abstractions opens the door for the interrelationship of the different groups in their different characters. The universe of discourse within which people can express themselves makes possible the bringing-

Some Historical Notes on George Herbert Meads Theory of Education 55 together of those organized attitudes which represent the life of these different communities into such a relationship that they can lead to a higher organization. (Mead 1934, p. 284) In this way, society is relation and interaction, and not inclusion through descent. Ultimately, everyone belongs to the universe of discourse through which the intelligence of social relationships is organized. The prerequisites are reciprocity and feedback: The elaboration, then, of the intelligence of the vertebrate form in human society is dependent upon the development of ... social reaction in which the individual can influence himself as he influences others (Mead 1934, p. 243). In general, experience can be understood as passage in spatiotemporal change (Mead 1938, p. 331).40 The process of experience implies a chain of events that must be linked, or in other words, that do not in themselves provide continuity. Mead understands process generally as follows: What is involved in a process is not simply a continuity. This is given in extension. One event extends over other events. A process involves the past as determining the fixed conditions of that which is taking place, and it involves that which is taking place as maintaining itself by adjustment to the oncoming event the future. Every process can be resolved into a mere series of events which determine one another, if we regard them as past; but at the future edge of experience there is content which reaches out ready to accept the control of that which is taking place, in still maintaining itself. (Mead 1938, pp. 343344) For Mead social life is more than life as it is defined by the chemist and biologist, namely, not maintaining, but rather breaking through the causal chain (ibid., p. 344). Habit is always historical causality that can and must be changed through new events. Social experience is continuous adaptation under the condition that the unknown in the future can be utilized intelligently.41 A loss of time, as in Rousseaus Emile,42 must be rejected, for otherwise the flow of events could not be brought into the fragile stability that makes learning possible. However, duration is not an ultimate dimension: It is only the process that lasts (ibid., p. 345).43 In The Quest for Certainty Dewey pointed out that learning means mastering the indeterminate nature of uncertain situations (Dewey 1988, p. 199). Society is simply the present given sum of problem solutions from which at the future edge of experience new problems arise. The social is thus always at the same time both order and process; what is seen as a datum at a particular point in time can become problematic directly afterwards; it is only that not all social facts can become problems simultaneously. Mead expressed this as follows in 1917:44


JRGEN OELKERS The conception of a world of existence, then, is the result of the determination at the moment of the conditions of the solution of the given problems. These problems constitute the conditions of conduct, and the ends of conduct can only be determined as we realize the possibilities which changing conditions carry with them. (Mead 1964, p. 209)

As conditions change, the problem solutions are called into question, but new conditions are at the same time new opportunities for learning. From the perspective of the individual, learning is thus a process of researching, or discovering: The individual in his experiences is continually creating a world which becomes real through his discovery. Insofar as new conduct arises under the conditions made possible by his experience and his hypothesis the world, which may be made the test of reality, has been modified and enlarged. (ibid.) The future edge of experience is not simply an unknown, but rather an event that is influenced by the given situation. Only in this way is the future more than mere fate, and only in this way can we make a serious assumption that experience can correct itself (Dewey 1988, p. 188). If knowledge is the basis for social interchange, then it must be in a dynamic form (ibid., p. 222); otherwise, democracy would not be possible. Democracy demands continuous adjustment to ever-new situations that must be communicated intelligently and publicly. This already by itself makes learning fundamental especially learning that cannot rely on fundamental principles, dogmas, and the like. This does not mean that ideals are superfluous, but ideals provide aspirations rather than reality. That the political form should be democracy is simply the consequence of accepting the theory of evolution (Mead 1934, pp. 281ff.). In the light of the theory of evolution, society can no longer be seen as a closed entity that is ruled in an authoritarian manner. For social development, there should be a fair exchange among the interests of the various groups; participation in the common good is essential; and there must be provisions for continuous new adjustments of institutions (Dewey 1985a, pp. 102ff.). The best form to these purposes is democracy, understood not simply as a competition of different social groups with each other, but as a universal social form, or what (Mead 1934, p. 282) called universal society. Dewey and Mead attempted to reach an understanding of education that is not pedagogy as an independent world, which had been the case in the pedagogy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. From Rousseau to Froebel, education was not related to society but instead to nature and to a space of experience as determined by nature (Oelkers 1993). This meant that

Some Historical Notes on George Herbert Meads Theory of Education 57 society was seen with a pedagogical reservation, and as a consequence, education was attributed with the ability to give rise to the ultimate or true society. Society was construed in such a way that it accorded with pedagogical purposes. Dewey and Mead start out from the assumption of a democratic society and then relate education to it. The Pragmatist social theory does not point to a world that is external to education. Instead, it includes education in that social world, indeed as one of its conditions. A theory of this kind would not have been possible without a concept of time and process, of situation and intelligent adaptation, of experience and reconstruction, and therefore of learning and acting that does not regard these relations as dualisms. 3. Meads Theory of Education For Mead as for Dewey, we must take into consideration that his ideas on education were gained from practical experience and put into theory parallel to experience. Mead joined Dewey in many of his educational and reform ventures and wrote a number of articles on progressive educational matters between the time he joined Chicagos Philosophy Department and the First World War. He addressed in particular the topics of occupational training and industrial education; it was here that his term industrial democracy originated. It does not overstate the case to say that Meads educational experiences informed his social psychological theory. Theory and practice do not constitute contradictory elements that later must be set in relation to one another. Instead, what can be applied here is what Mead (1938, pp. 50ff.) in general called scientific reflection, or learning by discovery (compare Franzosa 1984). Social or education reform is, for Mead, dependent upon working hypotheses that are tested by experience and thus can succeed or fail. There is neither a general law of reform nor an optimum environment for education; every reform is nothing other than the attempt to reshape experience through working hypotheses. This holds for all of the practical problems that Mead examined, including the following: the social learning of children (Mead 1898) the basis for parents associations (Mead 190304) the teaching of science in college (Mead 1906) the development of industrial education (Mead 190708) the policy of the journal Elementary School Teacher (Mead 190708a)


JRGEN OELKERS the educational situation in the public schools (Mead 190708b) industrial education, the working man and the school (Mead 190809, Mead 1909) moral training in the schools (Mead 190809a)

Shortly after the Public Education Committee of the City Club of Chicago, chaired by Mead, had submitted its Report on Vocational Education in 1912, Mead wrote his major essay on The Social Self (Mead 1913), which sets out clearly the central idea of Mind, Self and Society (Biesta 1996). This idea generalized the educational experiences and linked them with very extensive changes to education theory. One fundamental issue concerns how mind emerges, without as in European pedagogy placing it in opposition to society. Meads thesis starts from the premise that: Mind arises through communication by a conversation of gestures in a social process or context of experience not communication through mind. (Mead 1934, p. 50) Mind is not a given fact, as for Descartes or Leibniz. It also does not develop according to a logical or epistemological schema as for Piaget. Instead, mind is the temporary result of social communication. Only in this way can mind be democratized, removed from all elite theories that understand the mind as an insulated Platonic space where ideas are passed down or revealed, which presumes that there is an ultimate authority. The influence of Wilhelm Wundt, under whom Mead had studied briefly, is most readily apparent in Meads treatment of the notion of the gesture (ibid., p. 42ff.).45 In Meads theory, the gesture, which Wundt defined as a symbol, becomes a significant symbol (ibid., p. 47). Gestures are stimulations for the conduct of other individuals and give rise to communication, for they are irresistible stimuli to which everyone must react. Gestures demand response and learning (ibid.).46 Mead calls this mode of learning internalization: The internalization in our experience of the external conversations of gestures which we carry on with other individuals in the social process is the essence of thinking; and the gestures thus internalized are significant symbols because they have the same meanings for all individual members of the given society of social group, i.e., they respectively arouse the same attitudes in the individuals making them that they arouse in the individuals responding to them: otherwise the individual could not internalize them or be conscious of them and their meanings. (ibid.)

Some Historical Notes on George Herbert Meads Theory of Education 59 Mead refers to Gabriel De Tardes laws of imitation (ibid., p. 53), which assumed on the part of the person merely a tendency to do what other persons do. Also from the perspective of education, sociality for Mead is essentially cooperation; behavior is controlled through social connection and imitation, but not through simply imitating persons or role models or through lasting internalization. Internalization is itself a process, not merely duration. The theory refers to the winks and gestures (ibid., p. 53) that stimulate the conduct of others. The cry of a child, in Meads example (ibid., p. 54) calls out the response of the care of the mother; the one is fear and the other protection, or solicitude. The response is not in any sense identical with the other act, and neither is determined by the physiology of the cry alone. The cry is always at the same time a symbol; without this additional symbolic content, the mothers response of care would be a conditioned reflex. With the symbol care, what occurs is cooperative behavior (ibid., p. 55). The mother has to take on the attitude of the child in order to be able to react to the individual child. The child, on the other side, must learn to take on the attitude of the particular significant other in order to be able to detach itself from itself, get outside itself. In a second stage, the behaviors of others are generalized (ibid., p. 158). Education is the process by which the self reaches its full development by organizing these individual attitudes of others into organized, or generalized, social or group attitudes and learning from them, dependent upon social interaction. The child learns neither alone nor more than the adult; its development is instead functional (ibid., p. 288) for purposes of adaptation to society: In so far as the child does take the attitude of the other and allows that attitude of the other to determine the thing he is going to do with references to a common end, he is becoming an organic member of society. (ibid., p. 59) Organic should not be misunderstood. What is meant is not a kind of fitting into a community that passively allows it; it is instead a process of effective adjustment (ibid., p. 368), without which the child could not develop. Through learning to react to others, the child also learns at the same time to react to the self, in a continuous differentiation of its abilities (ibid., p. 137). The child has become, through his own impulses, a parent to himself (ibid., p. 369). Our modern education, says Mead, does not by coincidence emphasize the central role of the game, or (ibid., pp. 159160), which is social interaction. The game is at the same time the model of social learning, an illustration of the situation out of which an organized personality arises:


JRGEN OELKERS What goes on in the game goes on in the life of the child all the time. He is continually taking the attitudes of those about him, especially the roles of those who in some senses control him and on whom he depends. He gets the function of the process in an abstract sort of a way at first. It goes over from the play into the game in real sense. He has to play the game. The morale of the game takes hold of the child more than the larger morale of the whole community. The child passes into the game and the game expresses a social situation in which he can completely enter; its morale may have a greater hold on him than that of the family to which he belongs or the community in which he lives. (ibid., p. 160)

The notion of games is not specified; Mead explains the logic of the game not according to the cultural difference in childrens games, but rather from the perspective of their socializing effect. Because of this, Mead can reach a general and abstract definition of education: Education is definitely the process of taking over a certain organized set of responses to ones own stimulation; and until one can respond to himself as the community responds to him, he does not genuinely belong to community. (ibid., p. 265) The child must be able to adjust to the group to which it belongs as it is being brought up; its self responds without pause to the social responses the community offers and with which the child handles in the sense of inquiry (ibid.). In other words, the self arises through co-operative activity (ibid., p. 317): it is made possible through the identical reaction of the self and the others (ibid.). At the same time, it is important to clarify the addressee in the process of education, which Mead calls the me or I. For Mead, the self does not consist simply in the bare organization of social attitudes; there is an I which is aware of the social me (ibid., p. 177). The self takes over sociality; the I in this relation of the I and the me is something that, so to speak, responds to a social situation that is within the experience of the individual. Now, the attitudes the individual is taking toward others are present in his own experience, but his response to them will contain a novel element. The I gives the sense of freedom, of initiative (ibid., p. 177). No longer do we see children as little adults (ibid., p. 318), because (and to the extent that) adults can enter into the experience of the child by imaginatively taking on their role. This is valid ubiquitously, meaning independently of culture or mentality. Modern education is thus a fundamentally new and a historically unique mode of interaction and relating. It bases upon the fact that children and adults are distinguished from each other, which necessitates cooperation:

Some Historical Notes on George Herbert Meads Theory of Education 61 Such a distinction ... does lie between the infant and the human society in which he enters. He cannot have the whole self-consciousness of the adult; and the adult finds it difficult, to say the least, to put himself into the attitude of the child. That is not, however, an impossible thing, and our development of modern education rests on this possibility of the adult finding a common basis between himself and the child. (ibid., p. 317) A workable relationship emerges through a social process it is not part of nature. It does not arise out of maternal love or out of duty, but rather is formed through social coordination or cooperation, whereby the child must be a participant having increasing equality. Democracy lies at the basis of this process, and cannot be viewed merely as one goal among others. The pedagogical relationship is negotiated and realigned continuously. It is not characterized by a structural difference in which the authority, slowly and to the child unforeseeably, makes itself superfluous. Again, the child does not internalize authorities, but instead learns to interact with the personalities in his social environment. It is in this way that both the social field and the social self structure themselves, if we assume that for small children, other persons only gradually take on distinctness: As social objects, the others with whom the child plays are uncertain in their outlines and shadowy in their structure. What is clear und definite in the childs attitude is the reaction in either role, that of the self or the other. The childs earliest life is that of social activities, including this reflexive stimulation and response, in a field, in which neither social nor merely physical objects have arisen with definiteness. (ibid., p. 376) The social self is thus not the recipient of education in the sense of a thing that confronts the child from the outside. It is much more a process of the child utilizing the quality of social experience in order to form the self. With regard to experience, and the experience of children in particular, the following holds: The Self exists only in relationship with other selves and cannot be reached except through other selves (Mead 1982, p. 155). We can experience with others only if our selves can not only enter into the experience, but also learn and develop from it. Others must necessarily be a part of childrens learning field, for the self cannot relate to itself directly (ibid.). That would mean that we would have to ascribe to the child a primary recognition of its self, an inner core of identity that exists prior to any experience (ibid., 156). That very assumption, says Mead, is presumed by many education theories, which are so structured that they require a solid addressee that can express itself without yet having the structure of self. However, this would mean that children would have to be able to understand experience from the inside and independently of the social context which is a false assumption.


JRGEN OELKERS The self cannot arise in experience except as there are others there. The other is essential to the appearance of the self. We do not approach the organism from within. There are pains and pleasures within the organism, but the child does not delimit its organism from inside its own skin. The actual process begins at the periphery and goes to the center. The child experiences sound, etc. before it has the experience of its own body; there is nothing in the child that arises as his own experience and then is referred to the outside thing. There are hurt fingers, but they are not referred to the self until the child enters into relationship with others. (ibid., p. 156)

Meads metaphor for education, a meeting of minds (Mead 1938, p. 52), is thus aptly chosen. Education consists in processes of continuous adjustment and intellectual cooperation under the condition that we reject the idea of a one to one correspondence (ibid.). In education, as in social life altogether, the correspondence theory of truth is not valid, because it would exclude the fact that new elements can determine the interaction. But it is from this very fact that the theory must start out. Education, too, and particularly, must work out problematic situations, and do this permanently. In any education that is worthy of the name, what is acquired does go toward the solution of the problems that we all carry with us, and is the subject of reflection, and leads to the fashioning of new hypotheses and appearance of new objects; but this takes place after the communi-cation which is the mutual indication of objects and characters by the use of gestures which are common symbols, that is, symbols with identical references. (ibid.) This holds at any age and for all forms of human behavior. Even the most absurd (from the adults point of view) constructions of small children are attempts at intelligent problem solving (ibid., pp. 9091). Children want to explain things, test ideas and hypotheses by its fitting into their experience so that it can become a part of this world (ibid., p. 91). In this way children research their world, and they must learn to improve their methods (ibid.). The small child learns to maintain balance, control himself and his environment in getting the proper adjustment for his own ultimate response (ibid., p. 109). This mapping of environment (ibid., p. 134) would not be possible without the understanding cooperation of adults, who share the same realm of experience. Education can thus be seen as democratic cooperation that excludes opposition (ibid., p. 656) between children and adults, because opposition would rob it of its basis.

Some Historical Notes on George Herbert Meads Theory of Education 63 NOTES

1. Movements of Thought, published after Meads death, is based for the most part on stenographic notes from Meads lectures for undergraduate students at the University of Chicago, which Mead had never prepared for publication. Mead held his standard lecture on Movements of Thought in the 19th Century nineteen times between the summer of 1901 and spring 1930 (Lewis and Smith 1980, App. 1, 2). His keen historical interest found its roots in Wilhelm Diltheys lectures on History of Philosophy, which he attended in Berlin in the summer semester of 1891. In the winter semester of 189091 Mead also attended Friedrich Paulsens lectures on education. Mead studied in Leipzig and Berlin from 1888 to 1891. 2. Science starts with certain postulates, but does not assume they are not to be touched. There is no phase of the world as we know it in which a problem may not arise, and the scientist is anxious to find such a problem. He is interested not merely in giving a systematic view of the world from a science already established but in working out problems that arise. This is the attitude of research science. (Mead 1936, pp. 265 266) 3. Starting with William James: On Some Omissions of Introspective Psychology, Mind 9 (1884), pp. 126 (Wozniak 1993a). 4. John B. Watson, Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It, Psychological Review 20 (1913), pp. 157177 (Wozniak 1993a). Watsons manifesto was based on animal psychology of the nineteenth century as well as on experimental psychology as represented, for example, by the work of Baldwin. 5. The space about us is public, while intentions are private: The intent which the person has is not evident to the other person. He may make a guess at it, but it is only the person ... who knows definitely what he intends to do. (Mead 1936, p. 401) 6. The first edition was published in 1900 by Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig; a second expanded edition appeared in 1907. An English translation was published in 1990, co-translated by David Frisby (The Philosophy of Money, 2nd edn., New York: Routledge 1995). One of the main chapters was published in English as early as 1900 (Simmel 18991900). 7. The basic idea of general intelligence has its roots in animal psychology of the nineteenth century (Lubbock 1882, chap. 9; see also Thorndike 1898). 8. On the construction of the social mind, compare Valsiner and Van Der Veer (2000). 9. In contrast to Dewey, there is astonishingly little research on Mead. No recent dissertations are available on Meads education theory. Only one of four older dissertations, by Paul Renger (University of North Carolina 1977), has been published in part (Renger 1980 and 1980a). There have appeared occasional purely apologetic papers (such as Misumi 1933). Even the relation between the education theories of Mead and Dewey has been little discussed (Wynne 1952, Dennis and Stickel 1981). The work of Biesta (1996) alone meets current standards of research. 10. Ensuing from Anselm Strauss Mead edition (1956); see also Rose (1962), Manis and Melter (1972), and similar readers. 11. This paper was originally presented as an address at the Chicago Commons on 1 May 1896. Meads many works on education were never published separately as such. All of Meads published works, as well as unpublished essays and fragments and



student notes on Meads courses held in collection but not prepared for publication, are available on the internet at Georges Page: A Mead Project Site at Brock University, 12. In Atlantic Monthly (February, March 1869). 13. First outlined in What is a Liberal Education? (The Century, June 1884) (Eliot 1909a, pp. 87122). 14. Paul Monroe (18691947) completed his Ph.D. in 1897 at the University of Chicago. At Teachers College, Columbia University, he was professor of education from 1902 until his retirement in 1938. He also served as director of the School of Education at Teachers College (19151923) and of the International Institute after 1923. In both functions, his work served to disseminate the American new education. 15. Paul Monroe, A Cyclopedia of Education, vols. 15 (New York: Macmillan, 191114). Compare Brickman and Cordasco (1970). 16. The key role in the public campaign for new education was played by the Committee of Ten, appointed in 1892 by the National Education Association to address the question of high school education (Cremin 1961, p. 92ff.). The committee was chaired by Eliot. Between 1893 and 1911, new education became a much-cited catchword, and it was interpreted variously also independently of Eliot or Eliots conceptions. 17. Liberty in Education (a speech before the Nineteenth Century Club of New York 1886); Undesirable and Desirable Uniformity in Schools (an address given to the National Educational Association, Saratoga, 12 July 1892); The Function of Education in Democratic Society (an address delivered before the Brooklyn Institute on 2 October 1897) (Eliot 1909a, pp. 123148, 271300, 399418). 18. Article on Education in the first volume of Monroes Cyclopedia (Dewey 1985, pp. 425434). 19. Observation, hypothesis, and experiment lie ... in the biographies of the individual, and ... so do the emphases of attention which mark analysis and the process of so-called logical thinking. (Mead 1938, p. 67) 20. Culture ... can no longer imply a knowledge of everything not even a little knowledge of everything. It must be content with general knowledge of some things, and a real mastery of some small portions of the human store. (Eliot 1909, p. 45) 21. Constructive imagination is the great power of the poet as well as of the artist; and the nineteenth century has convinced us that it is also the great power of the man of science, the investigator, and the natural philosopher. What gives every great naturalist or physicist his epoch-making results is precisely the imaginative power by which he deduces from masses of facts the guiding hypotheses or principles. (Eliot 1909, p. 48f.) 22. Charles William Eliot, The Unity of Educational Reform, Educational Reform (October 1894). (Eliot 1909a, pp. 313339). 23. Some Stages of Logical Thought, Philosophical Review 9 (1900), pp. 465 489 (Dewey 1916, pp. 183219). 24. Dewey defined laboratory in 1900 in the essay Some Stages of Logical Thought as follows: In the laboratory there is no question of proving that things are just thus and so, or that we must accept or reject a given statement; there is simply an interest in finding out what sort of things we are dealing with. Any quality or change that presents itself may be on object of investigation, or may suggest a conclusion; for it

Some Historical Notes on George Herbert Meads Theory of Education 65

is to be judged, not be reference to pre-existent truths, but by its suggestiveness, by what it may lead to. The mind is open to inquiry in any direction. (Dewey 1916, p. 208) 25. Matthew Arnold: Culture and Anarchy: An Essay in Political and Social Criticism (London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1869). 26. Theory of Course of Study (Dewey 1985, pp. 395404). 27. Discussed at the end of Dewey, The Child and the Curriculum (1902). 28. The tabula rasa doctrine of perception was replaced by Mead (1938, p. 135) with a theory of Symbolic Socialization. 29. Charles Horton Cooley (18641929) studied and taught at the University of Michigan (Ph.D., 1894), which he never left for any significant length of time. His papers include student notebooks from 189394 on lectures given by John Dewey. Dewey had been appointed an instructor in philosophy and psychology and, with the exception of the academic year 188889, when he served as professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota, he spent the next ten years at Michigan. Cooley taught in the sociology department at the University of Michigan from 1892 onwards. 30. The Philosophies of Royce, James, and Dewey in their American Setting, International Journal of Ethics 40 (192930), pp. 211231 (Mead 1930; Mead 1964, pp. 371391). 31. Froebels major theoretical work, Die Menschenerziehung (Education of Man) of 1826, develops a romantic, highly speculative view of the child and the cosmos that is not amenable to empirical testing and, at the same time, takes no reference to social context. Dewey rejected Froebels idealististic and romantic view on development and symbolism. 32. Booker T. Washington (18561915), educator and reformer, was born a slave in Virginia, but after Emancipation he received an education at Hampton Institute in Norfolk, working as a janitor to help pay expenses. In 1881 he was selected to head the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), an industrial institute for rural African Americans. The institute became a monument to Washingtons lifes work in education, and he became the national spokesmen of the black minority. He wrote Character Building: Being Addresses Delivered on Sunday Evenings to the Students of Tuskegee Institute (New York: Doubleday Page & Co., 1902). 33. How is Society Possible? (Simmel 1910). 34. Pedagogical influencing should be understood as one-way process in which the adult influences the child, with no feedback loop (Oelkers 1994). 35. Scientific Method and the Moral Sciences, International Journal of Ethics 33 (1923), pp. 229247 (Mead 1954, pp. 248266). 36. Mead reviewed Bergsons Levolution Creatrice (Mead 1907) and examined his theory of time, which was in opposition to Kant, in many papers, most intensively in The Philosophy of the Present (Mead 1932) and in Movements of Thought in Nineteenth Century (Mead 1936, pp. 292325). At the end of that work he wrote, Bergsons attack upon science represents a misconception of its method and ideal. His flight to irrationalism is unnecessary (ibid., p. 510) (compare here Moran 1996). 37. Gabriel De Tarde (18431904) was schooled at the Jesuit College in Sarlat and studied law in Paris. Up to 1894 he served as juge dInstruction in Sarlat. From 1894, he directed the criminal statistics bureau at the Ministry of Justice in Paris. In 1900 De Tarde was appointed professor of modem philosophy at the College de France,



where he taught until his death. De Tardes scientific work began with a sociological critique of the extreme biological-causation theories of Cesare Lombrosos (18361920) and his school, pointing out the importance of environment in criminal behavior (La Criminalit compare, 1886). De Tarde became known in the United States in 1890, when Les lois de limitation (Laws of Imitation) was published. Robert Parks and Ernest Burgesss Introduction to the Science of Sociology, the definitive work for the first half of the twentieth century, ranks De Tardes influence as equal to that of Emile Durkheim. 38. Niklas Luhmanns (19271998, German sociologist) formula of reduction of complexity relates to De Tarde, for whom evolution means deriving simplicity from complexity rather than the opposite process. 39. Limitation est chose sociale (De Tarde 1993, p. 54). 40. Passage does not involve a content that does not pass. It involves simply happening, a coming into being and going out. Change involves departure from a condition that must continue in some sense to fulfill the sense of change from that condition (Mead 1938, p. 331). 41. Only in this way is social creativity possible (compare here the contributions in Gunter 1990). 42. Oserai-je exposer ici la plus granae, la plus importante, la plus utile rgle de toute leducation? Ce nest pas de gagner de tems, cest den perdre (Rousseau 1969, p. 323). 43. What distinguishes a process from a mere duration is that at the future edge of experience it merges with the emerging events in adjustment or control so that as a whole it is continuous with the future. What introduces the lasting character, as lasting, into experience is the inhibition within the process which exhibits the characters of the field of stimulation that are spatiotemporally distant. They are characters which answer to alternative responses when the individual has reached them. (Mead 1938, p. 345) 44. Scientific Method and Individual Thinker, in Creative Intelligence: Essays in the Pragmatic Attitude (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1917), pp. 176227 (Mead 1964, pp. 171211). 45. Volkerpsychologie, vol. 1 (1900) of ten volumes (19001920). 46. Gestures become significant symbols when they implicitly arouse in an individual making them the same responses which they explicitly arouse, or are supposed to arouse, in other individuals, the individuals to whom they are addressed; and in all conversations of gestures within the social process, whether external (between different individuals) or internal (between a given individual and himself), the individuals consciousness of the content and the flow of meaning involved depends on his taking the attitude of the other toward his own gestures. (Mead 1934, p. 47) REFERENCES A. Primary Literature Blewitt, T., ed. (1934) The Modern Schools Handbook. London: Victor Gollancz. Cooley, Charles H. (1902) Human Nature and the Social Order. New York: Charles Scribners Sons.

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Cooley, Charles H. (1909) Social Organization: A Study of the Larger Mind. New York: Charles Scribners Sons. Cooley, Charles H. (1918) A Primary Culture for Democracy. Publications of the American Sociological Society 13, 110. Dewey, John. (1903) Democracy in Education. Elementary School Teacher 4, 193 204. Dewey, John. (1916) Essays in Experimental Logic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Dewey, John (1985) How We Think and Selected Essays, 19101911. The Middle Works of John Dewey, vol. 6, ed. Jo Ann Boydston. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. Dewey, John (1985a) Democracy and Education. The Middle Works of John Dewey, vol. 9, ed. Jo Ann Boydston. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. Dewey, John (1988) The Later Works of John Dewey, vol. 4, ed. Jo Ann Boydston. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. De Tarde, G. (1993) Les lois de limitation. Paris: Editions Kime. Originally published: De Tarde, G. (1890) Les Lois de lImitation, Paris 3me d. revue et augmente 1900. English translation: Tarde, G. (1903) The Laws of Imitation, translated by E.C. Parsons with introduction by F. Giddings, New York, Henry, Holt and Co. De Tarde, G. (1999) La logique sociale, Paris: Institut synthlabo, Le PlessisRobinson. (First published 1895). Eliot, Charles W. (1869) The New Education. Its Organization. Atlantic Monthly (February, March), 203221, 358367. Eliot, Charles W. (1903) The New Definition of the Cultivated Man. National Education Association: Journal of Proceedings and Addresses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), pp. 4654. Eliot, Charles W. (1909) Education for Efficiency and The New Definition of the Cultivated Man. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Eliot, Charles W. (1909a) Educational Reform. Essays and Addresses (New York: The Century Co.). Lubbock, J. (1882) Ants, Bees, and Wasps. A Record of Observations on the Habits of the Social Hymenopetera (London: Kegan Paul, Tench & Co.)



Mead, G. H. (1896) The Relation of Play to Education. The University of Chicago Record 1, 141145. Mead, G. H. (1898) The Child and His Environment. Transactions of the Illinois Society for Child Study 3, 111. Mead, G. H. (1899) The Working Hypothesis in Social Reform. American Journal of Sociology 5, 367371. Mead, G. H. (190001), Review of G. Simmel, Philosophie des Geldes. Journal of Political Economy 9, 616619. Mead, G. H. (190304), The Basis for a Parents Association. Elementary School Teacher 4, 375391. Mead, G. H. (1906) The Teaching of Science in College. Science 24, 390397. Mead, G. H. (1907) Review of Henri Bergson, Lvolution cratrice. Psychological Bulletin 4, 379384. Mead, G. H. (190708) Industrial Education and Trade Schools. Elementary School Teacher 8, 402406. Mead, G. H. (190708a), Editorial Notes: Policy Statement of the Elementary School Teacher. Elementary School Teacher 8, 281284. Mead, G. H. (190708b), The Educational Situation in the Chicago Public Schools. City Club Bulletin 1, 131138. Mead, G. H. (190809) Industrial Education, the Working-Man and the School. Elementary School Teacher 9, 369383. Mead, G. H. (190809a) Editorial Notes: Moral Training in the Schools. Elementary School Teacher 9, 327328. Mead, G. H. (1909) The Adjustment of Our Industry to Surplus and Unskilled Labor. Proceedings of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections 34, 410408. Mead, G. H. (1910) The Psychology of Social Consciousness Implied in Instruction. Science 7 (15 December), 114122. Mead, G. H. (1912) A Report on Vocational Training in Chicago and in other Cities: an analysis of the need for industrial and commercial training in Chicago, a study of present provisions therefore in comparison with such provisions in twenty-nine other cities, together with recommendations as to the best form in which such training may be given in the public school system of Chicago, coauthored with E. A. Wreidt and W. J. Bogan. Chicago: City Club of Chicago.

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Mead, G. H. (1913) The Social Self. Journal of Philosophy 10, 374380. Mead, G. H. (1930) The Philosophies of Royce, James, and Dewey in their American Setting. John Dewey. The Man and his Philosophy. Addresses Delivered in New York in Celebration of His Seventieth Birthday (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press), pp. 75105. Mead, G. H. (1932) The Philosophy of the Present, ed. A. E. Murphy. La Salle, Ill.: Open Court. Mead, G. H. (1934) Mind, Self and Society from the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist, ed. Charles W. Morris. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Mead, G. H. (1936) Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century, ed. M. H. Moore. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Mead, G. H. (1938) The Philosophy of the Act, ed. Charles W. Morris. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Mead, G. H. (1964) Selected Writings, ed. A. J. Reck. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Mead, G. H. (1982) The Individual and the Social Self, ed. D. L. Miller. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Palmer, G. H. (1887) The New Education. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Rousseau, J.-J. (1969) Oeuvres Completes, vol. 4, ed. B. Gagnebin and M. Raymond. Paris: Editions Gallimard. Simmel, G. (18991900) A Chapter in the Philosophy of Money. American Journal of Sociology 5, 577603. Simmel, G. (1910) How is Society Possible? American Journal of Sociology 16, 372 391. Simmel, G. (1968) Soziologie. Untersuchungen Uber die Formen der Vergesellschaftung, 5th edn. Berlin: Duncker und Humblot. Simmel, G. (1989) Gesamtausgabe, vol. 6, ed. D. P. Frisby and K. C. Kohnke. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Thorndike, E. L. (1898) Animal Intelligence: An Experimental Study of the Associative Processes in Animals. Psychological Review Monograph Supplements vol. 2, 1109.



Washington, B. T. (1932) Democracy and Education. Booker T. Washington, Selected Speeches, ed. E. Davidson. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran & Co. Young, Ella Flagg. (1903) Scientific Method in Education. Decennial Publications of the University of Chicago, First Series, Vol. 3, Part 2 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), pp. 143155. B. Secondary Literature Biesta, G. J. J. (1998) Mead, Intersubjectivity and Education. The Early Writings. Studies in Philosophy and Education 17, 7399. Brickman, W. W. and Cordasco, F. (1970) Paul Monroes Cyclopedia of Education. With Notices of Educational Encyclopedias Past and Present. History of Education Quarterly 10, pp. 324337. Cremin, L. A. (1961) The Transformation of the School. Progressivism in American Education, 18761957 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf). Dennis, L. J. and Stickel, G. W. (1981) Mead and Dewey: Thematic Connections on Educational Topics. Educational Theory 31, 319331. Franzosa, S. D. (1984) The Texture of Educational Inquiry: An Exploration of George Herbert Meads Concept of the Scientific. Journal of Education 166, 254272. Gunter, Pete A. Y., ed. (1990) Creativity in George Herbert Mead, Lanham, Md.: University Press of America. Lewis, J. D. and Smith, R. L. (1980) American Sociology and Pragmatism: Mead, Chicago Sociology and Symbolic Interaction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Manis, J. G. and Meltzer, B. N., eds. (1972) Symbolic Interaction: A Reader in Social Psychology, 2nd edn. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Misumi, I. (1933) Meads Social Philosophy as the Foundation of Progressive Education. Journal of Research for New Education 4, 1222. Moran, J. S. (1996) Bergsonian Sources of Meads Philosophy. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 32, 4163. Oelkers, J. (1993) Erziehungsstaat und padagogischer Raum. Die Funktion des idealen Ortes in der Theorie der Erziehung. Zeitschrift fr Pdagogik 39, 631648. Oelkers, J. (1994) Influence and Development: Two Paradigms of European Educational Theory and the Crisis of the School. The School: Its Crisis. Eduquer aprs la Rpublique, ed. M. Hellemans, J. Masschelein, and P. Smeyers (Leuven/Amersfoort: Acco), pp. 95109.

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Oelkers, J. (2000) John Deweys Philosophie der Erziehung: Eine theoriegeschichtliche Analyse. Philosophie der Demokratie. Beitrge zum Werk von John Dewey, ed. H. Joas (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp). Renger, P., III (1980) George Herbert Meads Contribution to the Philosophy of American Education. Educational Theory 30, 115133. Renger, P., III (1980a) The Historical Significance of Meads Philosophy of Education. Critical Issues in Philosophy of Education, ed. C. Penden (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America), pp. 4253. Rose, A., ed. (1962) Human Behavior and Social Processes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Strauss, A., ed. (1956) The Social Psychology of George Herbert Mead. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Tanner, L. N. (1997) Deweys Laboratory School: Lessons for Today. New York: Teachers College Press. Troehler, D. (2001) Der Republikanismus als historische Quelle und politische Theorie des Kommunitarismus. Zeitschr Padagogik 47, 4565. Valsiner, J. and Van Der Veer, R. (2000) The Social Mind. Construction of the Idea. New York: Cambridge University Press. Wiener, Philip P. (1949) Evolution and the Founders of Pragmatism. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Wozniak, R. H., ed. (1993) Experimental and Comparative Roots of Early Behaviourism. London: Routledge/Thoemmes Press. Wozniak, R. H., ed. (1993a) Theoretical Roots of Early Behaviourism: Functionalism, the Critique of Introspection and the Nature and Evolution of Consciousness. London: Routledge/Thoemmes Press. Wynne, J. P. (1952) Mind and Education: From the Standpoint of John Dewey and George Herbert Mead. Educational Theory 2, 129140.


Naoko Saito

1. Introduction: Has Education Gained or Lost? Education has typically been associated with the tasks of gaining and rising, whether it involves knowledge, understanding, test scores, morality, or even material goods and money. In such postindustrial countries as the U.S., the U.K., and Japan, movements to raise standards are urgently promulgated. Conservative movements to reinforce morality gain ground in resistance to its alleged decline among the young people. In this age of globalization and multiculturalism, an increase in understanding of different cultures, religions, and value systems is another imminent agenda for educators. More and more, we are driven by an urge to gain through education. This drive, however, is accompanied by another invisible, but undeniable sense of anxiety that persistently comes back to us once we think we attain any goal the sense of uncertainty about where we are trying to go, what we hope to gain, and ultimately why we live. The symptoms of this phenomenon manifest themselves in a kind of nihilism.1 In Japan, for example, what Manabu Sato calls an escape from learning, a nihilistic attitude amongst the young people towards learning, lurks behind the recent crisis of the supposed decline in standards of achievement.2 School is not a place where students and teachers can experience the joy of learning, or reconfirm intensively their sense of existence. Where do we find ourselves? the kind of question that Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked concerning the theme of the lost self3 is a pressing question today. As if to combat, or turn away from this invisible sense of loss, however, the quest for certainty in educational reforms is unflagging. Not only in the U.S., but also in Japan and the U.K., there is a strong plea among educational reformers for absolutism. As Richard Rorty critically puts it, unless the youth is raised to believe in moral absolutes, and in objective truth, civilization is doomed.4 We are caught in an impasse: visible and measurable gain cannot be identified any more with real attainment and progress; rather, it paradoxically and ironically accompanies a kind of loss and regress. This paradoxical, but



undeniable sense of loss behind gain, I believe to be one of the most tragic conditions of contemporary education whether it involves the loss of the senses of the self, connection, and purpose, or the loss of the joy of learning. This is the kind of tragedy that must be acknowledged as much as those caused by ethnic tensions around the world, or those caused by what Megan Boler calls the postmodern tragedies of dissensus the loss of the common ground in the wake of difference.5 I shall argue that educational reform today, whichever area it is conducted in, must take into consideration this humble sense of the tragic the loss behind gain, or the double condition of human being. The meanings of learning, knowledge, and intelligence must be reconsidered for the hope of regaining the intense joy of learning. This chapter reexamines the potential of Deweys pragmatism and his philosophy of growth one of the guiding philosophies of education that can serve this purpose in the light of what Stanley Cavell calls Emersonian moral perfectionism.6 Pragmatism in general, especially the pragmatism of Dewey, is notorious for its optimism and lack of a sense of the tragic. Deweys teleological notion of growth, growth without fixed ends, has been continuously attacked from its inception to the present day on the grounds that it has lead education nowhere, if not into chaos. Rortys relativist reconstruction of Dewey between Hegel and Darwin ignites anew this persistent concern over pragmatism.7 Those who criticize Dewey and pragmatism tend to advocate a reactionary turn to absolutism and the quest for certainty in education. Going beyond this typical confrontational pattern of debate, I shall try to show that it is the insight of Deweyan pragmatism that is most needed today to address the peculiar sense of the tragic as contemporary education manifests it. The ateleological concept of growth and the antifoundationalism of Deweyan pragmatism can enable us to transcend the tragic towards hope if the meanings of these terms are salvaged from their typical misunderstanding. To attain this purpose, however, Deweys pragmatism must be reconsidered, or even reconstructed. Dewey, the philosopher of reconstruction, reconstructed his own work many times in the course of his long career, often to fit the context of his times. My attempt to reconstruct Deweys work for a postmodern age is in this Deweyan spirit. And in order to respond to the tragic sense in education as delineated above, I shall reconstruct Deweys pragmatism, not in the direction of Rortys anti-foundationalism, but in that of Ralph Waldo Emersons, whose perfectionist spirit is revived today by Cavell. In conclusion, I hope to present a vision of Emersonian perfectionist education that is geared towards the hope, indeed, the joy of learning beyond the sense of the tragic.

Pragmatism, Tragedy, and Hope 2. Pragmatism and Tragedy


As I understand the pragmatic perspective on life, it is an attempt, to make it possible for men to live in a world of inescapable tragedy a tragedy that flows from the conflict of moral ideals, without lamentation, defiance or make-believe. According to this perspective, even in the best of human worlds there will be tragedy tragedy perhaps without bloodshed, but certainly not without tears.8 So argued Sidney Hook in defense of Deweys pragmatism against the claim that it lacks the sense of the tragic. Rather than mourning over the tragic conflict of goods, instead of yielding to despair, let us go forward in action and experiment to find a way to negotiate and resolve, or at least reduce, conflicts. In Hooks view, this is the heart of what Dewey means by the power of intelligent control. Pragmatism is heroic; it is the philosophy of courage. In postmodern times, it continues to be controversial whether Deweys pragmatism has a sense of the tragic and whether such a defense as Hooks is cogent. Steven Rockefeller, though a staunch defender of Deweys spiritual vision of democracy, thinks that Dewey failed to develop a convincing explanation of human evil.9 One of the most powerful criticisms concerning Deweys lack of the tragic sense of life is given by Cornel West. Despite his appreciation of prophetic pragmatism, West is especially critical of Deweys pragmatism for its inadequate recognition of the tragic, the lack that West claims Dewey inherits from Emerson.10 In contemporary democracy, the sense of possibility towards the future narrows, and there still is a need to struggle with the death and disease, that cut-off the joys of democratic citizenship, where the ultimate facts of the human predicament need to be recognized more than ever. In these circumstances, Deweys future-oriented pragmatism and his emphasis on the primacy of human will and action lack something crucial a failure to define the relationship between a democratic way of life and a profound sense of evil. West in his alternative appeal to Royces absolute version of pragmatism undercuts the basis of Deweys pragmatism.11 More recently, Raymond Boisvert presents similar criticism of Deweys lack of the tragic sense, but with a tighter focus on his scientific concept of intelligence than West. In Boisverts view, Deweys pragmatism equates scientific advancement with moral progress, in a manner typical of 19th century modernity. Deweys faith in progress through scientific advancement led him to believe that in the power of intelligence, courage and effort there was the possibility of the indefinite perfectibility of mankind on earth. His progressive view of the universe lacks a sensitivity to the tragic, what Boisvert calls a limitation inherent in the nature of things, the Nemesis of Necessity. The problems afflicting human beings murder, incest, adultery, jealousy, unfettered ambition, and parent-child conflicts are natural limitations put on



us by necessity, limitations that will never be eliminated by the efforts of a planned community.12 Nor will a commitment to scientific progress guarantee moral progress. Dewey is mistaken when he believes that the human mind can eventually dominate necessity. Like West, Boisvert finds Hooks defense inadequate. Hook commits the same mistake as Dewey when he fails to recognize necessity, a failure seen in Hooks optimism about the power of intelligence to resolve the problems of humanity once and for all.13 For a philosophy more adequate to the tragic in human experience, Boisvert himself appeals to the ontology of Anaximander, a philosophy of the all-mixedtogether;14 and the teaching of Nathaniel Hawthorne who has a deep sense of the tragic of the constraints over which we have not control, to burdens for which we did not ask, to the inseparable mixture of good and evil in every reformist program, to the flaws in our condition and limitations in the nature of things which make our improvements temporary and fragmented.15 As we become aware of the ever-increasing, global complexity of our times, with its attendant material affluence, technological development, and the political sophistication of our democracies, on the one hand, and the vicious cycle of retaliation through violence and the inflated rhetoric of good and evil, on the other, the calls made by West and Boisvert for the recognition of evil and necessity confront us in terms too real to be ignored and indeed seductive. In light of their criticism, Deweys progressive notion of growth seems nave, or even oppressively optimistic. Their criticisms have also gained force in the postmodern context of tragedy. Boler sees the postmodern sense of the tragic in terms of groundlessness a sense that the ground is torn from beneath ones feet for there is no shared value, common ground or objective norm that the subject can rely on. And tragedies of dissensus arise in the face of fundamental philosophical and strategic differences.16 She suggests that pragmatism as a philosophy which seeks equilibrium cannot do justice to the postmodern tragic sense of dissonance. Boisverts claim of the tragic metaphysics of Necessity and Wests call for the recognition of absolute evil sound to be in tune with the postmodern sense of groundlessness the absolutism of tragedy. There is something in postmodern culture, however, that reinforces the mood of mourning, which as a result deprives us of energy for commitment, and that lulls us into resignation: worse, it aggravates the prevalent tendency of nihilism. Indeed, it is the concept of hope that those who claim the absolutism of tragedy shun. In line with Jacques Derridas embracement of disappointment, Boler claims: if a fundamental groundlessness must be accepted, perhaps giving up hope is a fruitful directive.17 Pragmatism, however, cannot and should not completely give into criticism centering on the absolutism of tragedy. I believe that it is against the danger of this avenue of criticism that its significance must be appreciated anew. Namely, it is this tragedy of the absolutism of tragedy, the fixation of the state of groundlessness, and its concomitant abrogation of hope that prag-

Pragmatism, Tragedy, and Hope


matism resists; and from which it demonstrates its promising difference as a philosophy of hope. And precisely for the sake of enhancing its potential, the reconstruction of Deweys pragmatism is urgently needed. It must be reconstructed in order to show that a philosophy of hope is distinct from oppressive optimism; that its tragic metaphysics is not one that is based upon necessity or evil but upon possibilities, with the acknowledgment of the double, or transitional nature of human being. 3. Rortys Anti-Foundationalism and Relativism: A Way of Reconstructing Deweyan Pragmatism In resistance to any form of absolutism, one powerful reconstruction of Deweys pragmatism is conducted by Rorty. Rorty attempts to reconcile a tension between Hegel and Darwin evident in Deweys naturalistic view of growth. On the one hand, because of his Hegelian background, Dewey does not give final authority to natural science despite his commitment to the scientific method. On the other hand, he is sufficiently naturalistic to think of human beings in Darwinian terms.18 Dewey is a pragmatist without being a radical empiricist, and a naturalist without being a panpsychist.19 Based upon this interpretation, Rorty supports the implications of Deweys naturalism for his American democratic vision in terms of his anti-moralism, or in his words, the doctrines of moral relativism, which Rorty claims Dewey shares with Nietzsche.20 Dewey carried with him a lifelong distaste for the idea of authority the idea that anything could have authority over the members of a democratic community save the free, collective, decisions of the community.21 This is founded on Deweys naturalism, a metaphysic of the relation of man and his experience in nature.22 Rorty compares Deweys vision of democracy to Whitmans democratic vistas the significance of natural human experience, something that can be loved with all ones heart and soul and mind. Unlike Platos idea of eros, or Kierkegaards concept of the Wholly Other, but not unlike Nietzsches polytheism, Dewey brings the authority of the moral life back to humans on earth, an indefinitely expansible pantheon of transitory temporal accomplishments, both natural and cultural. Thus, Rorty concludes that Deweys God, the symbol of ultimate concern, is sublime diversity seen through human eyes, and created by human experimentation. This supports Deweys vision of a democratic community that treasures the potential of each individual.23 Rorty inherits an aspect of Deweys naturalistic ethic that opposes a hierarchical distinction between morality and nature, and the higher and the lower. With Dewey and Nietzsche, Rorty goes beyond good and evil: Critics of moral relativism think that unless there is something absolute, something which shares Gods implacable refusal to yield to human


NAOKO SAITO weakness, we have no reason to go on resisting evil. If evil is merely absolute, if all moral choice is a compromise between conflicting goods, then, they say, there is no point in moral struggle. The lives of those who have died resisting injustice become pointless. But to us pragmatists moral struggle is continuous with the struggle for existence, and no sharp break divides the unjust from the imprudent, the evil from the inexpedient. What matters for pragmatists is devising ways of diminishing human suffering and increasing human equality, increasing the ability of all human children to start life with an equal chance of happiness.24

Though Rorty does not directly refer to the tragic, his account of the pragmatists approach to moral struggle and human suffering presents an alternative to the absolutism of tragedy. Indeed as the title of his book, Philosophy and Social Hope, suggests, Rorty revives the spirit of Deweyan pragmatism as a philosophy of hope. Citing Deweys remark on growth, growth itself is the moral end, Rorty finds in Dewey Emersons talent for criterion less hope: Hope the ability to believe that the future will be unspecifiably different from, and unspecifiably freer than, the past is the condition of growth.25 Rortys reconstruction of Deweyan pragmatism, however, has certain shortcomings that prevent it from being a persuasive response to the criticism that it lacks the tragic sense. First and foremost, as notoriously known, Rorty turns Deweys naturalistic philosophy of growth in the direction of relativism, and in his own word, anti-foundationalism. By synthesizing his deontologized Hegelian historicism and relativized Darwinian naturalism, Rorty represents Deweys pragmatism as socio-cultural relativism.26 For Rorty, naturalistic growth is merely an expedient activity of an organisms adjustment to environments neither more nor less. For example, in the face of groundlessness, with no shared common ground, he would advise us to give up a misleading way of expressing the hope for creating a global community: [T]he utopian world community envisaged by the Charter of the United Nations and the Helsinki Declaration of Human Rights is no more the destiny of humanity than is an atomic holocaust or the replacement of democratic governments by feuding warlords. If either of the latter is what the future holds, our species will have been unlucky, but it will not have been irrational. It will not have failed to live up to its moral obligations. It will simply have missed a chance to be happy.27 Rortys version of anti-foundationalism risks turning pragmatism into a philosophy of mere luck and contingency in an extreme form. It represents his faith in power and progress the affirmation of human freedom in the image of the infinite expansion that groundlessness allows human beings to attain.

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Rortys relativism aggravates the concern of the critics of pragmatism. Ren Arcilla who is skeptical of Rortys unjustified hope, says: Although [pragmatists] are dedicatedly struggling against misfortune, their concern with winning a better fortune lacks an appreciation of why human suffering is not just a contingent fact, why it is in one of its dimensions a tragic fate.28 Faced with this concern, the kind of remark Rorty makes above will not persuade many of those who confront the need for creating a peaceful global community under the threat of terrorist attack and ethnic and religious conflict. Worse, Rortys relativist position towards different cultures might aggravate the postmodern tragedies of dissensus. Rortys version of anti-foundationalism is most evidently demonstrated in his criticism of Deweys metaphysics as he finds this in Experience and Nature. In this book, Dewey, in Cornel Wests words, scratches a metaphysical itch, an itch that Rorty thinks Dewey should not have scratched.29 This position of Rorty is elaborated in his explicit criticism of Deweys Metaphysics.30 While Rorty acknowledges the contribution of Deweys pragmatism as it serves as a philosophy for social and cultural criticism, he is impatient with what he considers the residue of the old metaphysics of experience, the generic traits of experience, in Deweys Experience and Nature. In Rortys view, naturalistic growth as presented by Dewey must be merely an expedient activity of an organisms adjustment to environments, without any link between experience and nature. Nature is anything but that which gives a deep or spiritual meaning to the activity as in transcendental idealism or panpsychism. Nor does nature give a moral end, a telos in the Greek sense. Rorty brings Deweys naturalism much closer to a mechanical view of nature, a unification of man and nature by means of behaviorism and materialism.31 Rortys Darwinian interpretation of Deweys naturalism, and his complete abrogation of Deweys metaphysics seem to deprive Deweyan pragmatism of its capacity to be adequately deal with the tragic reality of life. I shall argue later that it is within Deweys transformative ontology, as Ralph Sleeper calls it,32 that a key can be found to reconstructing Deweyan pragmatism in response to the criticism that it lacks tragic sensibility. 4. Reconstruction of Deweyan Pragmatism towards Emersonian Anti-foundationalism To address these drawbacks in Rortys anti-foundationalism and be more responsive to the sense of the tragic, Deweyan pragmatism needs to be reoriented. As an alternative way though not completely exclusive of some of the contributions made by Rortys Dewey I propose to reconstruct Deweyan pragmatism in the light of Emersons thought not exactly the Emerson that Rorty presents, but the Emerson whose vital spirit Stanley Cavell revives as Emersonian moral perfectionism (EMP). While sharing the philosophy of hope



with Rortys Emerson, Cavells Emerson is more sensitive to the tragic; and hence, helps Deweys pragmatism to be reconstructed in tune with the concerns of our times. While resisting the absolutism of tragedy like Rorty, Cavells Emerson presents another form of anti-foundationalism inhering Emersons quasi-eastern transitional view of the world; and while sharing with Rorty Nietzsches morality beyond good and evil, Cavells Emersonian moral perfectionism offers a different approach to transcend good and evil without falling into Rortian moral relativism. Although it is still controversial whether Emerson is a pragmatist and whether Dewey is an Emersonian perfectionist,33 Cavells Emerson at least can be a critical conversational partner for Dewey to rediscover and reconstruct the potential of his pragmatism in postmodern times. EMP can offer the possibility of reorienting and reconstructing Deweys pragmatism from within, as it were, its internal structure. Accepting the limitation posed by fate, the Emersonian perfectionism of the attained and unattained self endlessly opens the possibility of freedom.34 This emerges as an increasingly important thread of thought in Deweys later writings, especially in his aesthetic and religious writings. In order to gain some preliminary insight into this it is necessary to recognize a kind of double or paradoxical nature in Deweys conception of democracy as something both attained and unattained. Democracy conceived not as some fixed telos, but rather as something forever to be worked towards, never finally to be achieved. Dewey says in The Public and its Problems, [Democracy] is an ideal in the only intelligible sense of an ideal: namely, the tendency and movement of some thing which exists carried to its final limit, viewed as completed, perfected. Since things do not attain such fulfillment but are in actuality distracted and interfered with, democracy in this sense is not a fact and never will be. The idea or ideal of a community presents, however, actual phases of associated life as they are freed from restrictive and disturbing elements, and are contemplated as having attained their limit of development.35 It is in his emphasis on democracy as an ideal that something of the connection can be seen between his thought and that of Emerson. The unattainability that is essential to Deweys democracy suggests the tragic condition inherent in Emersons perfectionism. To adopt Cavells take on this, it is to be understood in terms of the proximity of the handsome and unhandsome conditions of human being the double condition of human existence.36 Rather than something to be lamented, this sense of the tragic is internal to the perfectionism that Emerson celebrates and that, so I shall argue, Dewey inherits. Emersons perfectionist worldview is best captured by his concepts of the flying Perfect in the metaphor of expanding circles:

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Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens. This fact, as far as it symbolizes the moral fact of the Unattainable, the flying Perfect, around which the hands of man can never meet, at once the inspirer and the condemner of every success, may conveniently serve us to connect many illustrations of human power in every department.37 Perfectionism in Emersons sense is permeated by the sense of unattainability. Cavell elaborates this imagery in terms of ever-widening circles and endless, discontinuous encircling the process of self-overcoming of the unattained and unattainable self.38 Paul Standish describes it as a process of continual destabilizing of the existing condition of the self.39 Dewey, who proposes the progressive concept of growth without fixed ends in its present, participial form, growing, suggests something very similar to Emersonian circles. It is shown in such expressions as the enlarging [of] the horizons,40 an expanded whole in recurrence with difference,41 and the ever-recurring cycles of growth.42 The notion of expanding circles represents the essence of Emersonian perfectionism perfectionism without final perfectibility in its stark contrast to the Greek notion of perfectionism, as this is popularly understood. In Cavells words, each state of the self is final.43 The implication here is of an endless journey of Nietzschean self-overcoming whose central focus is on the here and now in the endless, ongoing process of attaining a further, next self, not the highest self. As Cavell says, in Emersonian ever-widening circles, power is derived from crossing, or rather leaping; it is the result of rising, not the cause.44 The motif of expanding circles does not, however, signify simply a progressive accumulation of power with a stable centre. Boisvert characterizes the notion of perfectionism as one that will always carry the connotation of a major break with the past, an ascent to the status of being a new person who has escaped from a former status as frail and fallen.45 Conversely, EMP suggests a process of continual displacement, or decentering, which brings with it a sense of shame, humility, and even, aversion the Nietzschean spirit that Cavell finds in Emerson (or vice versa, the Emersonian spirit in Nietzsche). The flying Perfect cannot be featured merely by a linear image of an ascent out of the fallen state. As Cavell says: [in EMP] the goal is decided not by anything picturable, as the sun nothing beyond the way of the journey itself.46 At the heart of the goalless nature of Emersonian perfectionism is the poignant sense of imperfection. Emerson expresses this sense as follows: I take this evanescence and lubricity of all objects, which lets them slip through our fingers then when we clutch hardest, to be the most unhandsome part of our



condition47 While showing his keen sense of groundlessness, Emersons response is not the absolutism of tragedy. His focus is rather on the process of transition; the intimacy of human effort and will, with its sense of its own powerlessness and meaninglessness. This is what lies at the root of Emersons sense of the tragic. Attention to Deweys own writing, especially his aesthetic and religious writings from the late 1920s onward, reveals his Emersonian sense of imperfection tied up with his search for the perfection of democracy. There his earlier idea of progressive growth came to be underwritten by a growing, poignant acknowledgement of the tragedy of the lost individual.48 Confronting the crisis of an American society afflicted with the rugged individualism of capitalism and the mass culture of standardization, he laments the tragic condition of human being the state of drifting without sure anchorage49 and the loss of the sense of wholeness.50 Conformity is a debased condition of democracy, a condition that robs human beings of their capacity to be captains of their own souls.51 In a subsequent essay, Construction and Criticism, his concern is with the state of moral subjection in which a human being, in chains, loses the mental freedom which is a condition of creation.52 Compared to his earlier educational writings, the sense of crisis is sharper now. From the standpoint of EMP, a new focus can be found in Deweyan growth that reminds us of a threat that we must keep fighting against in democracy: the extinguishing of the gleam of light. This is an aesthetic and spiritual metaphor for individuality through which Emersons perfectionism reverberates, and which Dewey appropriates in his Emersonian essay, Construction and Criticism: As Emerson says in his essay on Self-Reliance: A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within. ... But it is not easy to detect and watch the gleams of light that flash from within. Education and social surroundings are in a conspiracy to dim these flashes and to attract our watching to other things.53 Dewey associates the gleam of light with impulse as ones own spontaneous, unforced reactions. In his idea of habit reconstruction, the gleam of light suggests a spiritual dimension of impulse. The loss of ones own voice, the courage to think out loud is the moral and spiritual crisis of democracy.54 In I Believe, Dewey reaffirms his conviction that individuals are the finally decisive factors of the nature and movement of associated life.55 There may arise, however, a question concerning a link between perfectionism and tragedy. Being skeptical of the entire notion of perfectionism in connection with the tragic, Boisvert argues:

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[T]he whole point of classical tragedy lies precisely in the recognition of inherent human fallibility, in our vulnerability to events not of our own making, in the frailty and dependence which is our permanent lot. It does not in the least suggest that with concerted effort of our own, supplemented by divine grace, we can overcome the condition of being a flawed sinner.56 The tragic sense of EMP, however, transcends the Greek sense of tragedy described above. It means more than a nostalgic mourning over the absolute loss, or the sense of a dead end caused by fate and limitation. Beyond good and evil, and beyond the concept of a flawed sinner, EMP suggests most clearly another sense of the tragic, the kind that is in need of recognition in postmodern times: in our obliviousness to the gleam of light. We cannot even remember its loss, its unattainability, and we subside into apathy and indifference. As Dewey says, We do not know what we really want and we make no great effort to find out.57 He implicitly criticizes such conditions of oblivion in which human beings still manage to live, without the aching sense of unattainability, in the illusion that democracy has attained its perfection. This is the state of nihilism, the numbing of our humble sense of the human condition with the loss of center and location, a numbing that is so much a part of contemporary lives. The tranquilization that this brings with it desensitizes us to its most insidious effects. It is this urgent sense of crisis that incessantly drives Dewey towards a further state of democracy. The extinguishing of the gleam of light, with this second sense of the tragic, is a hidden theme in Deweyan growth, as the philosophy of the flying Perfect. Filled with the tragic sense involving the duality of the human condition, the gleam of light symbolizes both precariousness and hope. To commit oneself to the life of continuous growing implies ones acknowledgment of the double sense of the tragic inherent in the human condition, and of the endless tension between the attainment and entertainment of democracy. In this sense, as Dewey says, democracy never will be fully perfected. To sustain the gleam of light in the path of growth, progressive growth needs to be reconsidered as a journey that accommodates the sense of resistance and self-overcoming, which Cavell characterizes as Perfectionisms moral urgency.58 Dewey conveys a similar sense of urgency when he declares: Perfection means perfecting, fulfillment, fulfilling, and the good is now or never.59 Then, where shall EMP guide us when we encounter loss, failure or misfortune? It points us to a way of living in a transitional process of finding as founding, what might be called an Emersonian middle way of living beyond the restrictive, fixed choice between no ground and absolute ground. Emersons response to the tragic sense of groundlessness when we lose our way when he lost his own son is not mourning, but the awareness of the futility of grieving: I grieve that grief can teach me nothing, nor carry me one



step into real nature.60 Cavell interprets Emersons response to the tragic here in the following way. To make sense of the life of his lost son, Emerson has to declare himself a philosopher, a founder. Philosophy begins in loss, with the experience of the world falling away, the bottom of things dropping out, ourselves foundered, sunk on a stair. Emersons philosophical task, however, is not the building of the unified foundation of philosophy as a kind of the ground we reach once and for all. There is no such ground. Foundation reaches no farther than each issue of finding. Paradoxically, it is the process of establishing of the founding without a founder.61 Citing Emersons passage, I am ready to die out of nature and be born again into this new yet unapproachable America I have found in the West, Cavell claims that Emersons effort of finding himself again in this world symbolizes finding a new America in the West while being lost. America is unapproachable as the process of founding is the continuous process of being born again rebirth, reattachment, or reawakening through discontinuity.62 Founding ones nation cannot start with the prepared ground of culture. We have no place to be directed or initiated, but in Cavells words, founding is the process of indirection.63 We have to walk away, to go on in order to found, to be reattached.64 This is a process of finding ones location as a newcomer, to be the first philosopher of this new region.65 Emersons philosophical writing is his restatement of the constitution of his nation, founding a nation.66 Contrasting Emersons thinking to that of Derrida, whose focus is to deconstruct the finished edifice of philosophy, Cavell claims that Emersons task as an American philosopher, is to avert foundation, in advance in founding, or deconfounding, American thinking.67 In times when the tragic mode of abrogating hope is prevalent, it is this middle way of living that pragmatism as EMP encourages us to regain. EMP, as Cavell says, is a response to cynicism and disillusion, which he considers to be politically devastating passions in a democracy.68 Dewey, who praises Emerson as the Philosopher of Democracy, endorses Emersons antifoundationalism.69 It offers a different kind of anti-foundationalism than Rortys as a way to transcend the state of groundlessness being more in tune with the metaphysics of Dewey in Experience and Nature, and Art as Experience. There Dewey presents the transitory view of the world. The sense of the attained and unattained perfection that Dewey shares with Emerson suggests loss, limitation, or failure as a part of the human condition70 unlike Rortys Dewey whose thought is characterized by power and progress. The flying Perfect always allows the possibility of its own transcendence, driven by the sense of imperfection. Its focus is on an endless searching for the common with the sense of defeat and pain as much as the hope for advancement; and with the acknowledgment that unity is always beyond our full grasp. This focus on the process of searching as an integral element of hope brings Deweys pragmatism and EMP in a direction different from Rortys moral

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relativism. The life of human perfection is tested, and indeed, starts in the very moment when we face limitation whether it involves the impossibility of full understanding of different values, or the imperfectability of democratic ideals. The question is how one can convert negative energy into a driving source for further perfection. The idea of circles does not abrogate a hope for unity, but accepts the dissonance, disequalibrium, and imperfection that consistently drive us to depart again. As Cavell says: [Emersons] perception of the moment is taken in hope, as something to be proven only on the way, by the way. This departure, such setting out, is, in our poverty, what hope consists in, all there is to hope for; it is the abandoning of despair, which is otherwise our condition.71 In EMP, a key to continuing the search and converting the negative force of limitation to the positive power of affirmation lies in the prophetic power of impulse, the Emersonian gleam of light. Dewey says that impulse plays a significant role as impetus to a passionate hope for something different72 to a kind of prophetic vision.73 James calls it personal faith or willingness.74 Creation of hope requires a courageous trust in impulse and the patient nurturing of the gleam of light as, in Deweys words, the living source of a new and better future75 despite and because of the limitations and the obstacles that we face. This, I believe, is the most precious asset of prophetic pragmatism, to borrow Wests words a feature that distinguishes pragmatism from oppressive optimism. Trust in impulse does not mean the abrogation of reason, but the reconstruction of its very meaning. In the light of EMP, Deweys concept of intelligence, whose limitation is identified in the scientific method of problem solving, can be reconstructed. Without negating human intelligence, but broadening and deepening its meaning by integrating the aesthetic and spiritual force of impulse, it is the kind of wisdom that later Dewey calls creative intelligence76 intelligence is to be understood in terms of arts of living77 in affirmative energy despite the tragic human condition. This resonates with Emersons onward thinking, as Cavell calls it.78 Such intelligence precedes and indeed enriches intelligence as the scientific method of problem solving. Creative intelligence offers the hope of reconstructing the tragic metaphysics of Deweys pragmatism as EMP. 5. Conclusion: Towards Perfectionist Education How can Deweys pragmatism and its concomitant notion of growth contribute to contemporary education, especially in response to its peculiarly tragic condition the paradoxical conditions of gain and loss, and that of progress and regress? At the beginning of this discussion I drew attention to gaining and raising, notions that have been transmuted from their ordinary reasonable use



to become part of the inflated slogans that characterize so much contemporary education policy. Let us recall the problem. On the one hand, the clamor of urgency about the raising of standards and levels of achievement has expressed itself in part in a new obsession with assessment. This has arisen in a context where the purpose of education is largely taken for granted: it is to equip learners with the skills and competencies to enable them to function in the new competitive knowledge economy. The lifelong learning agenda sadly becomes nothing other than a further expression of this. The learner herself is seen less as a person than as the bearer of a portfolio of skills, so categorized and classified as to be instantly transparent to employers and other stakeholders, in what amounts to a new credentialism. On the other hand, the busy, apparently rosy, forward-looking tone of this way of thinking couples ironically with a conservative call for a return to moral standards. While economic change is embraced, the signs of unrest and disturbance amongst the young are viewed with fear, and even covered over, and in various quarters the solution is seen in a return to clear perhaps absolute standards of right and wrong. Such indeed is the demand of the efficient economy of the future. Any talk of globalization simply exacerbates this trend, while multiculturalism is either resisted because of its apparent endorsement of relativism, a relativism that is the route to moral confusion, or tolerated as a token recognition of difference that can become incorporated into larger, inexorably economic change (witness the infamous united colors of Benetton). These problems aggravate nihilism in education the sense of an ethical thinning, of a deprivation of energy, and indeed of a flattening of life as a whole. Under these circumstances, Deweyan pragmatism and its related tradition of progressive education (typically characterized as child-centered education) continue to be the target of conservative attack as allegedly the very cause of the decline of knowledge and morality among young people and, more generally, in society today. Pragmatism and progressive education continue to be stigmatized as oppressive forms of optimism. Against this background, Deweyan pragmatism, if it is understood in the new light of EMP, can regain its hidden potential as a philosophy of education as hope the kind of hope that is continuously searched for in defiance of, and even created out of, uncertainty and disappointment. This requires the acknowledgment of the double condition of human existence. It gives us an occasion to reconsider indeed, to remember the meanings of learning, growth, and human intelligence, and the nature of this tragic state of which we must be keenly aware. The account of EMP provides a powerful antidote to the nihilism that not only prevails among young people, but that also underlies contemporary policy and its rhetoric, and hence a penetrating negative critique. It shows us surely what we should not be doing. But can it provide us also with some more

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positive guidance when it comes to what we should teach and how? It should be clear that any approach to these educational concerns based on EMP will not separate them as discrete components in education. EMP goes beyond the dichotomies of absolutism and relativism; so too the what and the how of our teaching and learning. It is an entire reorientation in our ways of living that is at stake. Much of this paper has been concerned with its significance in terms of democracy and education, and it is on the strength of this that an initial attempt at exploring its curricular and pedagogical implications might be attempted. Deweyan pragmatism can present us with the guiding philosophy of Emersonian perfectionist education. Unlike the conventional sense of perfectionism that currently dominates the mind of absolutists whether it involves moral education, the measurement of academic achievement, or the goal of education in general Deweyan growth reconstructed as Emersonain perfectionist education enables us to live in idealism without dogmatism, learning to live in the mode of transition without any final settlement. The meaning of moral life lies in the release of our best possible energy, or say, the intensity of living in the here and now. In place of the fear towards uncertainty and chaos that lurks behind the absolutist mode of education whether it takes the form of prohibition, restriction, blaming, or molding the fundamental mode of Deweys Emersonian perfectionist education is trust. It is trust in prophetic impulse and the creative energy of life. Looking back upon the typical scene in schools, it is the courage to trust that is missing from the minds of teachers and students. This is trust not only in personal relationships but in experience itself. Deweys exploration of the absorption, ecstasy, and communion involved in this turns significantly towards the aesthetic. In Art as Experience Dewey writes of the moment when the negative state of life is transformed into affirmative energy. As to absorption of the esthetic in nature, I cite a case duplicated in some measure in thousands of persons, but notable because expressed by an artist of the first order, W. H. Hudson. I feel when I am out of sight of living, growing grass, and out of the sound of birds voices and all rural sounds, that I am not properly alive. He goes on to say, ... when I hear people say that they have not found the world and life so agreeable and interesting as to be in love with it, or that they look with equanimity to its end, I am apt to think that they have never been properly alive, nor seen with clear vision the world they think so meanly of or anything in it not even a blade of glass. The mystic aspect of acute esthetic, that renders it so akin as an experience to what religionists term ecstatic communion, is recalled by Hudson from his boyhood life. He is speaking of the effect the sight of acacia trees had upon him. The loose feathery foliage on moonlight nights had a peculiar hoary aspect that made this tree seem


NAOKO SAITO more intensely alive than others, more conscious of me and of my presence.... Similar to a feeling a person would have if visited by a supernatural being if he was perfectly convinced that it was there in his presence, albeit silent and unseen, intently regarding him and divining every thought in his mind. Emerson as an adult said, quite in the spirit of the passage quoted from Hudson: Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thought any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear.79

If there is some intimation of a Wordsworthian pantheism here, not least in the adjacency of exhilaration and fear, there is also at times in this text the suggestion of emotion recollected in tranquility. Dewey makes clear that the immediacy of experience initially suggested by Hudsons words is something recalled from boyhood life. Art is the province not of an exuberant, animal absorption in the world but of its recollection, and that recollection is necessary perhaps is made possible because of an intermediate loss. We lose our early vitality when we live in the mode of abandoning the present to the past and future in apprehensions.80 We subside in apathy, torpor, and indifference, and then the shell is built around us and within us: we have mouths, but cannot express; we have eyes, but cannot see; we have ears, but cannot hear.81 It is blindness to or forgetfulness of these unhandsome conditions that we must keep resisting. The enemies of a union of form and matter spring from our own limitations, which acquiesce too easily in the extinguishing of the gleam of light: They spring from apathy, conceit, self-pity, tepidity, fear, convention, routine, from the factors that obstruct, deflect and prevent vital interaction of the live creature with the environment in which he exists.82 This learned apathy, the blindness in which we persist, then (wrongly) seeks from art either transient excitement or medicinal solace. In contrast, the clarification and concentration effected through art is an intensification that constitutes new experience. As Dewey puts this, Art celebrates with particular intensity the moments in which the past reinforces the present and in which the future is a quickening of what now is.83 This is an intensification that involves sometimes a newfound sense of the ordinary and sometimes rare adventure. Someone who experiences such moments of intensity certainly centers on herself, but at the same, decenters herself, by releasing it beyond the self.84 It has acquired a new source of energy, which was impossible in the narrowly constricted ego, within the autonomous self, but which is released through a transcending of the self towards otherness (of the other and of the self itself). Intensification revivifies the sense of being fully alive in the here and now, the power to experience the common world in its fullness.85 The self is now living in a receptive mode sufficient truly to appreciate life. Indeed, at the heart of creative intelligence is

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this receptive mode of thinking, as Cavell finds in Emersons thinking. The burden that the past can inflict on us in regret, and the weight of the future felt in apprehension, can then be transformed into a storehouse of resources by which to move confidently forward. Thus, [e]very living experience owes its richness to what Santayana called hushed reverberations.86 This justifies the emphasized prefix that has marked the language of this essay: Dewey calls for a continuing re-education87 in the name of a re-awakening of the intensity of impulse that we have lost, a remembering of the light that is always under threat of being extinguished. This is the re-education not only perhaps not primarily of the young but of adults, in order that they should transcend their existing circles, in order that they should, as John McDermott says with Dewey, experience the world in all of its potential intensity.88 Its central task is how to remember and regain intensity out of its lost condition. In the re-education of intensity, we can say that the classroom must in some sense become the forum for the finding of a mutual voice. But this needs to be characterized in such a way as to prevent it becoming a merely verbal formula. Against an overly sentimental interpretation of this, Emersonian perfectionist education will not take the typical form of narrative education that tends to mourn and look back upon past miseries, often ending up with a romanticizing of ones tragic sense whether it takes place in a history class or a literature course. The focus of Emersonian perfectionist education will be on the conversion of the negative experience that eats into ones present life into the affirmative energy for life, to create the future and transcend the tragic, and to do this without forgetting it. Furthermore, the resistance to nihilism and the inspiration of perfectionism comes not so much with the reassuring inclusion of community as with singularisation. The individual learner must be challenged by what she learns in a way that allows her to recognize and to face up to the uniqueness of her experience. This has a bearing on learning in at least two ways. First, the substance of the curriculum, in whatever the subject, must be demanding. In this way the opportunities for growth do not translate merely into the familiar priorities of child-centered progressivism (of self-expression and freedom in the arts and in play). The math class offers this possibility, this challenge, as much. And it should be clear here that morality itself comes to be understood, not as tidily confined to good behavior and the consideration of moral issues, but as pervasive of what we think and do, pervasive of how we live. Moral education should not be restricted in a limited curriculum that merely transmits an understanding of right and wrong. In resistance to the kind of perfectionism that moulds children into clearly marked virtues and rules, Emersonian moral education will permeate the whole range of human interaction and the process of learning. Against the kind of moral absolutism that inculcates the attitude of combating evil in the name of good, and mourning the tragic in revenge, retaliation, or resignation, the voices of Dewey



and Emerson will encourage teachers and students to live up to their singularity but thereby to be engaged in patient dialogue; they will take the ongoing middle way, critically transforming mutual habits of thinking and ways of living as the most practical, intelligent means to live with and to transcend the tragic. Rather than teaching a relativistic attitude towards the different, but without inculcating the facile optimism of understanding others, Emersonian and Deweyan education for democracy will drive us into an endless search for the common ground, always acknowledging the impossibility of any full understanding of the different. But, second, and maybe more prosaically, there is a clear implication here regarding the practicalities of assessment and the extensive effects this has on teaching and learning. Since growth as perfection is an endless, ongoing process, a careful attention to the visible and invisible process of growth is required for a teacher in observing students. The measurement of academic achievement is to be continuously evaluated anew and revised, ideally through dialogue between parents, teachers, students, and people in a community. The challenge and engagement that must be at the heart of the curriculum mean that any organization of that curriculum in terms of the clear definition of objectives and the most efficient means for their achievement must be strongly resisted. Emersonian perfectionism, no less than Deweyan growth, requires an openness to unforeseen possibilities and the aspiration towards further perfections of the self with hope. And this is not to be understood, still less to be realized, in any self-conscious self-aggrandizement, still less in any narcissism. Rather it is realized in self-transcendence through an immersion in those challenges that confrontation with the other presents confrontations with the demands of other people but also with those difficulties in what is taught; it is realized in the sense of infinite possibility that education should offer indeed that should characterize academic subjects themselves.89

1. Nigel Blake, Paul Smeyers, Richard Smith and Paul Standish, Education in an Age of Nihilism (London: Routledge/Falmer, 2000); Tadashi Nishihira and Ren Vincent Arcilla, Nihilism and Education, a symposium held at University of Tokyo, 21 July 1999. 2. Manabu Sato, Why are Children Escaping from Learning? Cultural Crisis of Japanese Society indicated by a Decline of Knowledge Level, The World 674 (May 2000), pp. 7785 (Japanese). 3. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Experience, in Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Richard Poirier (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 217. 4. Richard Rorty, Philosophy and Social Hope (London: Penguin, 1999), p. xxviii. A similar criticism is made by Paul Standish for moral education in the U.K. in his

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essay Fabulously Absolute, in Teaching Right and Wrong: Moral Education in the Balance, ed. Richard Smith and Paul Standish (London: Trentham Books, 1997). 5. Megan Boler, An Epoch of Difference: Hearing Voices in the Nineties, Educational Theory 50 (2000), p. 359. 6. Stanley Cavell, Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome: The Constitution of Emersonian Perfectionism (La Salle, Ill.: Open Court, 1990). 7. Richard Rorty, Dewey between Hegel and Darwin, in Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers, Volume 3 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 115. 8. Sidney Hook, Pragmatism and the Tragic Sense of Life (New York: Basic Books, 1974), p. 22. 9. Steven C. Rockefeller, John Dewey: Religious Faith and Democratic Humanism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), pp. 486487. 10. Cornel West, The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989). 11. Cornel West, The Cornel West Reader (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 1999). 12. Raymond D. Boisvert, The Nemesis of Necessity: Tragedys Challenge to Deweyan Pragmatism, in Dewey Reconfigured: Essays on Deweyan Pragmatism, ed. Casey Haskins and David I. Seiple (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999), pp. 151168. In response to a paper by Donald Morse, Boisvert reiterates this position in Updating Dewey: A Reply to Morse, Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 37 (2001), pp. 573583. 13. In fact, in his contributions to The Educational Frontier, Deweys preference is for the phrase a planning community. I thank Jim Garrison for drawing this to my attention. This phrase occurs in The Later Works of John Dewey, vol. 8, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University, 1986), p. 70. Hereafter references to the Collected Works of John Dewey are indicated by MW (The Middle Works), or LW (The Later Works), followed by volume and page numbers. 14. Raymond D. Boisvert, Forget Emerson, Forget Growth, Embrace Anaximander: Pragmatism and the Tragic Sense, a response to Naoko Saito, Pragmatism and the Tragic Sense: Deweyan Growth in an Age of Nihilism, paper read at the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, 8 March 2002, in Portland, Maine. 15. Raymond D. Boisvert, Toward a Programmatic Pragmatism: A Response to Naoko Saito Journal of Philosophy of Education 36 (2002), pp. 621628, as a response to Naoko Saito, Pragmatism and the Tragic Sense: Deweyan Growth in an Age of Nihilism, Journal of Philosophy of Education 36 (2002), pp. 247264. 16. Megan Boler, An Epoch of Difference: Hearing Voices in the Nineties, Educational Theory 50 (2000), pp. 359, 370, 375. 17. Ibid., p. 380. 18. Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979), p. 362. 19. Ibid., p. 292. 20. Rorty, Philosophy and Social Hope, p. xxviii. 21. Richard Rorty, Pragmatism as Romantic Polytheism, in The Revival of Pragmatism: New Essays on Social Thought, Law, and Culture, ed. Morris Dickstein (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1998), p. 31.



22. John Dewey, Maeterlincks Philosophy of Life, MW 6: 135, cited in Rorty, Romantic Polytheism, p. 32. 23. Rorty, Romantic Polytheism, pp. 3234. 24. Rorty, Philosophy and Social Hope, p. xxix. 25. Rorty, Philosophy and Social Hope, p. 120. 26. Rorty, Dewey between Hegel and Darwin, p. 292. 27. Rorty, Philosophy and Social Hope, p. xxxii. 28. Ren Vincente Arcilla, Tragic Absolutism in Education, Educational Theory 42 (1992), p. 474. 29. West, American Evasion of Philosophy, p. 96. 30. Richard Rorty, Deweys Metaphysics, in Consequences of Pragmatism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), pp. 7289. 31. Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, p. 379. 32. Ralph Sleeper, The Necessity of Pragmatism: John Deweys Conception of Philosophy (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1986), p. 119. 33. Naoko Saito, Reconstructing Deweyan Pragmatism in Dialogue with Emerson and Cavell, Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 37 (2001), pp. 389 406. 34. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fate, in Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Richard Poirier (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990). 35. LW 2: 328. 36. Cavell, Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome. 37. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles, in Ralph Waldo Emerson, p. 166. 38. Stanley Cavell, The Senses of Walden (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), p. 128; Cavell, Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome, p. xxxiv. 39. Paul Standish, Postmodernism and the Education of the Whole Person, Journal of Philosophy of Education 29 (1995), pp. 128129. 40. LW 1: 162, 274. 41. LW 10: 171, 173. 42. LW 10: 152. 43. Cavell, Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome, p. 12. 44. Cavell, The Senses of Walden, p. 136. 45. Boisvert, Toward a Programmatic Pragmatism. 46. Cavell, Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome, p. 10. 47. Emerson, Experience, p. 218. 48. LW 5: 81. 49. LW 5: 67. 50. LW 5: 62. 51. LW 5: 67. 52. LW 5: 133, 136. 53. LW 5: 139. 54. LW 5: 136. 55. LW 14: 91. 56. Boisvert, Toward a Programmatic Pragmatism. 57. LW 5: 133. 58. Stanley Cavell, Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome, p. 55. 59. MW 14: 200.

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60. Emerson, Experience, p. 218. 61. Stanley Cavell, This New Yet Unapproachable America: Lectures after Emerson after Wittgenstein (Albuquerque, N.M.: Living Batch Press, 1989), pp. 109, 114, 117. 62. Ibid., pp. 82, 9091. 63. Ibid., p. 109. 64. Ibid., p. 115. 65. Ibid., pp. 106. 66. Ibid., p. 93. 67. Stanley Cavell, Contesting Tears: The Hollywood Melodrama of the Unknown Woman (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996). 68. Cavell, This New Yet Unapproachable America, p. 113. 69. MW 3: 184192. 70. LW 1: 57. 71. Cavell, The Senses of Walden, p. 137. 72. MW 14: 161. 73. LW 14: 113. 74. William James, Pragmatism and The Meaning of Truth (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1975) p. 142. 75. LW 14: 113. 76. LW 10: 351. 77. LW 10: 339. 78. Cavell, The Senses of Walden, p. 136. 79. LW 10: 35. 80. LW 10: 2425. 81. LW 10: 119110. 82. LW 10: 138. 83. LW 10: 24. 84. Paul Standish, Beyond the Self: Wittgenstein, Heidegger and the limits of language (Aldershot, UK: Avebury, 1992). 85. LW 10: 137138. 86. LW 10: 2324. 87. LW 10: 328. 88. John McDermott, From Cynicism to Amelioration: Strategies for a Cultural Pedagogy, in Pragmatism: Its Sources and Prospects, ed. R. J. Mulvaney and P. M. Zeltner (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1981), p. 91. 89. The arguments advanced in this paper are elaborated in greater detail and depth in my book The Gleam of Light: Moral Perfectionism and Education in Dewey and Emerson (New York: Fordham University Press, 2005).


Marcus Vinicius da Cunha

The movement named New School, whose aim was to promote the renewal of educational ideas and practices, intensified in Brazil in the 1930s. One of the discussions at that time was about the definition of the new school purposes. Should the renewed school be oriented by a respect for each pupils individuality, the psychological development of the individual being, and the childs desires and impulses? Or, on the contrary, should it adjust students to the demands of the adult social environment, to the pre-established social order? This discussion, which arose in Brazil in the 1930s, is another example of one of the essential conflicts within modern education at least since the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and continues today after re-emerging within the contemporary movement of constructivism. The question is whether education should be devoted to assisting the inborn tendencies of each person as if these tendencies were natural and independent of the social environment or whether education should impose on children the moral values and patterns of behavior which are socially considered as necessary for social progress. The New School movement reflected this fundamental antinomy of the pedagogical thinking of all times1 by means of the formula of the school centered in the child versus the school centered in the community. In Brazil, some followers of the New School believed that the dichotomy between the individual and society could be overcome, and that it is necessary to reach a position of balance between respect for each persons individuality and the imposition of social demands. In an article published some years ago,2 I tried to show that this search sought support in authors such as John Dewey and Jean Piaget, whose works were translated into Portuguese and published in Brazil in the 1930s: Deweys The Child and the Curriculum, and Piagets Remarques Psychologiques sur le Travail par quipes. Although I was not primarily interested in establishing wider comparisons between the two authors ideas, I noticed some similarities between both of them on the basis of these two works. Both Dewey and Piaget, each of them in his own way, approached this antinomy of modern education when presenting proposals to develop the individuals autonomy in a school situation which is, par excellence, marked by heteronomy. Both authors agreed that the child and the adult represent two



moments of the same continuum. Childhood is the initial stage of a process that culminates in adulthood, and that childhood already potentially contains the elements that will later on exhibit their full form, which will depend on the pedagogical work that will be developed with the child. That is the reason for the importance and value given to the school subjects content by the teacher. The schools knowledge must be transmitted so as to respect the characteristics of each pupil, so that the development of autonomy is assured, but they should also make the students journey towards adulthood feasible. Adulthood, for both authors, means life in common, socialization of points of view, interaction with the social environment, and cooperation. Dewey and Piaget were both opposed to traditional teaching methods, but they were also opposed to the absence of guidance provided to the student. In Dewey, this idea is consolidated in the concept of experience, which does not refer to a process that is lived by a lonely self, far away from environmental conditionings. Real educational development enlarges experience and places the individual in a position to share the experience acquired by the others. It is in others experience that the egocentric self according to the Piagetian vocabulary of that time finds its limit, having the possibility of becoming a really socialized self. That is the reason for the relevance of teamwork at school, according to what was proposed by Piaget in the 1930s. At that time, bringing Deweys and Piagets ideas to the Brazilian reader was intended to propose an alternative path to the educational aims dichotomy between individual freedom on one side and social demands on the other side. In this chapter, I intend to give continuity to this reflection, in the search for similarities between the American thinker and the thinker from Geneva. My purpose is not to comprehend Deweys and Piagets entire theoretical production, but just to indicate some possibilities of analysis and to suggest an agenda of research on this educational subject. In relation to Dewey, I shall analyze his Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938). As for Piaget, I shall approach Le Jugement Moral chez lEnfant and La Naissance de lInteligence chez lEnfant, published in 1932 and 1936 respectively. These books represent relevant milestones in the development of their authors ideas. Logic expresses the maturing of Deweys theses in the strict field of philosophy. It is a study which deepens conceptions previously formulated in Studies in Logical Theory and in Essay in Experimental Logic, which were summarized in How We Think (1910) in relation to educational themes. While Logic is practically a synthesis of Deweys intellectual production, Le Jugement Moral chez lEnfant is the last book from the young Piaget phase. La Naissance de lInteligence chez lEnfant is considered the work which starts a new phase, which together with La Construction du Rel chez lEnfant (1937), and La Formation du Symbole chez lEnfant (1946), forms a trilogy about the origin of the intelligence development.3

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I do not intend to thoroughly analyze each of these books or even to establish point-to-point comparisons between them. My purpose is to extract some elements from them in order to pursue a discussion about the directions of renewed education. As for Logic, I shall give special attention to the first three chapters, since the foundations of the theoretical positions exposed in the book are found there. In relation to La Naissance and Le Jugement Moral, I shall analyze Piagets statements, according to the way they were elaborated at that time, to search for parallels between them and Deweys formulations, without going into further unfolding of Piagets theory. I hope that this chapter may motivate other researchers to attempt to discover new agreements and discrepancies between Dewey and Piaget, particularly concerning education. 1. Biological and Cultural Character of Inquiry In Logic, Dewey intends to show that logical forms are not a priori forms, but instead emerge through inquiry. Inquiry is the process which is unleashed by a problematic situation, which begins with doubt, a feeling of bewilderment. In order to overcome this initial undetermined situation, whose parts are not related among themselves, it is necessary that actions are taken upon on the environment. Specifically, controlled actions are needed which involve collecting data and reflecting upon them, establishing explanatory hypotheses that can be tested, listing possibilities of solutions for the problem, with the aim of arriving at a finished situation in which the doubt is solved. The end of inquiry results in warranted assertions. Dewey prefers this expression warranted assertions instead of the terms belief or knowledge because he intends to emphasize the provisional character of investigation results. To say that all knowledge is provisional means that the conclusions of investigations are always stated in the form of hypotheses which serve to initiate new investigations. All knowledge is instrumental and never final, conclusive, or finished; knowledge can be corrected or corroborated by new inquiries. Logical forms are instruments which, when elaborated in the process of continuous research, serve the continuity of research itself, in accordance with what occurs in the context of modern science procedures. All scientific investigation is based on knowledge which may be modified in the future, but is presently useful to the development of new investigations. Dewey views results of scientific research as tools for the proposal of new research, and never as final truths. Dewey states that logic is a naturalistic theory and that all inquiry has biological foundations. As a starting point, Dewey notes that all investigation is made by means of motor and sensorial organs which are biological. Therefore, human biological structures are conditions necessary to investigation necessary but not sufficient, as we shall soon see. Deweys naturalism postulates that there is continuity between inferior and superior activities and



forms. This continuity is evident in the growth of any living organism, from its germinal state to maturity. Dewey denies the existence of previously established conceptual constructs acting as directing forces in the development of any organism. In the domains of logic, the postulate of continuity makes it infeasible for any appeal to intuition and to pure reasoning as a priori forces, and requires understanding the origin and development of logical forms. The operations involved in the search for warranted assertions do not occur either in the obscure field of the human mind or in the limits of the physical organism. They are operations that are determined by the interaction between the organism and the environment which surrounds it, in the same way that it occurs in the biological activity of any living organism. The ongoing search for truth if we define investigation in this way is a process that involves a constant system of exchanges between a living organism and the environment, which is natural and social, resulting in a state of balance that furthers life. This system of interchange between organism and environment tends to maintain life or, as Dewey states, a unified environment. As soon as an imbalance occurs, a state of tension appears, leading to activities aiming at restoring the broken balance, which results in satisfaction. However, the restoration of the balance between the organism and the environment is not the simple re-establishment of any previous state of the organism, but the establishment of a new interaction with the environment, as both of them organism and environment are not identical now to what they were in the beginning. What is re-established is the form of relationship, which is the balanced interaction, the unified environment, the balance between organism and environment. The conditions of one or the other, however, do not remain the same. Life is an endless process of imbalance and new attempts to regain balance, as an endless chain of transformations in the world. Ansio Teixeira, the most faithful Brazilian Deweyan thinker, analyzed these considerations in the following way: In the simple process of living biological process there is, therefore, a permanent yeast by which necessities are attended to in a way that the reintegration is not simply the return of the previous state, but the creation of a new state or situation, with its new necessities and its new problems. What the organism learns places it in a position of making new demands in relation to the environment4 In Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, Dewey states that the environment where the investigation takes place is not purely physical, but it is also cultural, which means that the problems that give origin to inquiry are set by relationships among the human beings. More than that, all inquiry processes are determined by the social relationships in which the investigator is involved. Quoting

Logic, Intelligence, and Education in Dewey and Piaget


Aristotles saying, Dewey states that the human being is an essentially social animal, constituted not only by an organic structure but also by a cultural heritage which is manifested in traditions, habits and beliefs. Deweys naturalistic theory demands that differences existing between human beings achievements and other animals activities are respected, once the insertion of humans in culture produces alterations in his biological organism, causing organic behavior to be transformed into behavior endowed with intellectual properties. In this way, logical forms, which are not a priori constructs, are developed under this dual biological and cultural influence. In Logic, among the component factors of the wider social environment, Dewey emphasizes language, whose function is to transmit behaviors which are not purely organic. It is through language that communication of cultural heritage is possible, which in turn demarcates the field of possibilities of inquiry. By means of communication, a person gets into contact with the surrounding world, where problematic situations which deserve to be investigated are found. Through communication, the rupture of the limited personal universe occurs, as the interaction with others makes it possible for the individual to adopt points of view which are alien to his own, becoming, in this way, a member of the community. In contact with the community, the points of individual reference acquire objectivity and generality, which has repercussions in the constitution of the logical forms. 2. A Psychology of Inquiry Dewey attributes to human beings a natural inclination to inquiry, since inquiry or solving problematic situations is vital to maintaining a balance between organism and environment, and, therefore, for the maintenance of life. In other words, to search for solutions, even if in the provisional form of warranted assertions, is an impulse which is inherent in the constitution of the human being as a biological being. It is a matter of a permanent biological yeast, as noted by Teixeira, put into action by the interaction of the organism with the environment. This idea is complemented by the fact that a human being is a cultural being. This fact conditions human biological features and makes inquiry a process of interaction between the individual and the social life. If we wish to find a psychological theory which is compatible with this postulate about inquiry, we should look for a psychology that does not ignore that the human minds mechanisms have biological bases. In Logic, Dewey rejects Pavlovs reflex theory, according to which all behavior is a succession of discrete units of independent reflex acts. Dewey admits that the interaction between organism and environment can be described as a relationship of the stimulus-response type, but only in situations of low complexity, as when a person is scared by a noise and impulsively reacts. In situations of higher complexity, however, when the entire organism is involved, it becomes



infeasible to analyze the behavior as a succession of isolated sensorial stimulation, such as a sum of muscular contractions caused by the nervous system or something of that nature. The responses, in this case, are unified and continuous, confronting new objects which present and modify themselves with great intensity. Dewey provides the example of the relationship between the hand and the eyes: a certain visual activity is accompanied by a movement of the hand and this movement is followed by an alteration in the visual activity; if everything was reduced to this, the process would be in fact very rigid. The eyes, however, have to continuously adapt to a great variety of hand movements, which results in a flexible and constantly adaptable link between eye and hand. An even better example, according to what is suggested in Deweys Logic, is the animal chasing its prey: while the animal advances, the olfactory and visual stimulation is integrated to the changes in position that occurs in its body and to the modifications of external physical stimuli. All these data are altered in intensity every time the distance between the persecutor and the persecuted diminishes; a total state of the organism is then composed, and this is hardly explained by the simple sum of stimuli and responses. Inspired by Charles Peirce, Dewey explained the complex interactions between organism and environment as it occurs with human beings by means of the notion of habit, saying that all the conclusions produced by inference correspond to a sufficiently general and stable way of action, making life possible. Habits do not result from the mere repetition of behaviors, but from effective integrations between the organism and its environment throughout the inquiry process. Such integration produces total adaptive responses that determine subsequent behaviors, since the establishment of a habit alters the organisms constituent structures, endowing it with flexibility when meeting new environmental conditions. Habits correspond to principles laws or postulates determined by the action, that is, by operations accomplished by existential materials and by symbolic materials. As conventions established by behavior, habits are confirmed by means of subsequent experiences. To be consistent with Deweys theses, a psychological theory must be prepared to analyze and explain human mental processes without resorting to the classical body-mind distinction. Such a theory must hold that interactions between a human being and the environment follows the same principles of functioning that are verified in the biological realm; while distinguished from them, however, by the fact that the human environment is essentially cultural. This psychological theory must devote itself to the search for the origin and development of reasoning, agreeing with the thesis that there are no psychological forms or a priori mental faculties, but only organic structures which develop within the inquiry process, a process which constitutes reflective thinking which is a synonym for inquiry. Such theory must investigate the

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behaviors that are part of the inquiry process, by studying the activities which gives origin to thinking and consequently to rational thinking. 3. Genesis and Development of Intelligence The most general aim of Jean Piagets research is to develop a theory which could explain the origin and the development of rational thinking, taking as a starting point the initial moments in the childs life. In La Naissance de lInteligence chez lEnfant, Piaget considers that, from some viewpoints, the human being is similar to the near-human animals, as a human baby is endowed by inheritance with a tendency to react to environmental variations and to search for a state of balance with the environment, so that by this means he can stay alive. In case this tendency did not exist from birth, the conservation of life would not exist. When confronting any imbalance between organism and environment, the former activates its own cognitive schemes, acting on the latter, in the search for restoring the lost balance. In this process, the already existing cognitive schemes are transformed, becoming better adapted to the new environmental conditions. In La Naissance, Piaget presents the results of his research on the initial stage of the intelligence constitution, the stage that he calls sensorial-motor and which lasts from birth up to approximately the first two years of life. Piaget shows that the cognitive schemes that are formed before the emergence of verbal activity are decisive for the further development of reasoning. The operative schemes, which start to be formed at about seven years of age, and the logic-formal schemes, whose formation start around eleven years of age, are originated from the sensorial-motor schemes, which on their turn are derived from the innate reflexes system. Piaget does not accept the existence of pre-formed thinking structures that are supposed to be responsible for the development of thinking. The biological framework that makes it possible for the organism to act on the environment is the only given framework which is accepted by him. However, if intelligence in its initial moments derives from an organizing activity whose functioning extends the functioning of the biological organization,5 then it is necessary to explain the way that human beings surpass their initial intellectual condition, in which the universe is solely constituted by sensorial-motor impressions, and come to think by means of more developed logical forms. Piagets explanation is that this intellectual development occurs by means of two mechanisms that jointly act: assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation is the mechanism by which the organism searches for incorporating external reality, or aspects of external reality, to his cognitive organization. It is the adaptive response of the organism to the pressures of the environment, a mechanism which exists in every living organism and which consists in preserving itself and extracting from the external environment the food that is



necessary for it to grow. By means of assimilation, the organism acts on the environment, making it possible for data of external reality to be incorporated to their pre-existing cognitive schemes. Such schemes may be simple or complex, and may even be constituted as cognitive structures, depending on the organisms evolution level, but they are present in all living beings and correspond to the already mentioned hereditary adaptive tendency which allows for the maintenance of life. The most elementary form of assimilation is put into action by the reflexes, which are equivalent to rough tools, but they are efficient enough to make viable the first contacts of the organism with the surrounding environment. If reflexes are repeatedly exercised, they suffer differentiation, giving origin to new cognitive schemes. Although Piaget admits that the associationist empiricism, when postulating that the pressure of the external environment plays an essential role in the development of the intelligence,6 has helped to diminish aprioristic theses, he refuses to agree with mechanistic theories such as associationist empiricism in order to explain the human intellect. Unlike the associationist empiricists, Piaget points out the relevance of the subject in the process of interaction with the social and natural environment: it is the subject who organizes his own experience by means of an intellectual activity that participates in the construction of the external reality.7 Experience, therefore, is not reception, but progressive action and construction. Here it is the fundamental fact.8 To sum up, in its starting point, intellectual organization extends the biological organization. The intellect does not merely consist of a set of mechanically determined responses and of a set of correlative behaviors that link new stimuli to old reactions, as may be believed from a reflexology impregnated with empiricist associationism. The intellect constitutes, on the contrary, a real activity founded on its own structure, assimilating an increasing number of external objects.9 It is important to emphasize the expression in its starting point since the intellectual organization, which in its initial moments is the simple extension of the biological organization, also constitutes an overcoming of the same biological organization. This occurs because assimilation is completed by the mechanism of accommodation, a concept that in Piagets theory consists of a set of transformations suffered by the organism when the assimilated objects are not recognized by its existing cognitive systems. The combined process of assimilation-accommodation, which exists in every human being, plays a decisive role in the differentiation between humans and infra-humans, as human action occurs in a physical and social environment. This interaction results in the development of a cognitive subject who is constituted at the same time when he acts to build an external reality in his mental structures. For Piaget, intellectual development expresses the overcoming more than the simple extension of biological mechanisms. Assimilation always

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results in an organization which makes the formation of judgments possible. The assimilator judgment, says Piaget, is the active element of a process whose organizing concept is the result.10 In its simplest form, and only in its simplest form, assimilation is indeed not other thing than the tendency of every behavior or of every psychic state to preserve itself and, for this purpose, to extract its functional feeding from the external environment, what unleashes an effort of spontaneous repetition as in the case of the reflexes. Such successive repetitions, however, bring about an enlargement of the assimilation, which is completed by the accommodation, in a process which generates different cognitive schemes (visual, auditory, motor, etc.) and which, coordinated among themselves, make the formation of judgments feasible. The development of reasoning, therefore, is something more than the simple exercise of a biological inclination. To sum up, subject and object dualism is reduced to a simple progressive differentiation between a centripetal pole and a centrifugal pole, within the constant interactions of the organism and the environment. In the same way, experience is never a passive reception: it is active accommodation, correlative to the assimilation.11 According to Piaget, when a certain cognitive organization is established, the objects which compose the universe where the subject is located are positioned in stable categories. This balance of organism-environment is always provisional, since new objects are presented to the subject which cause new disequilibriums. It becomes then evident that that initial cognitive organization, resulting from the first assimilation, starts to operate as a set of references for the unchaining of a new process of assimilation and, consequently, new accommodation and new adaptation. At the conclusion of successive balance-imbalance events, the organism is never the same, although its relationship with the environment is always re-established. Such changes that are verified in the organism constitute the development of its intellect and its constitutions as a subject of knowledge. The word adaptation used by Piaget to name the double process of assimilation-accommodation does not describe a simple passive adjustment to the environment, since it involves the action of the subject, who is transformed as a result, just as the environment is transformed due to the action that is accomplished upon it. 4. Education and Democracy The theme of Deweys reflections and the object of Piagets research are evidently not identical. In addition, it is well-known that their intellectual affiliations and professional trajectories were different. However, the aim of Piagets work to understand intelligences origin and development, defining it as rational thinking can be considered close to Deweys ideas. It is possible to make the following comparisons between Logic: The Theory of Inquiry and



La Naissance de lInteligence chez lEnfant. First, both Piaget and Dewey oppose pre-formative ideas, such as mechanistic psychological theories, and point out the relevance of action and of experience in the constitution of the subject of knowledge. Second, like Dewey, Piaget denies the existence of discontinuity between the mans biological attributes and particularly human characteristics, as logic-formal thinking is a more developed state of the intellect. Third, Piaget adopts an interactionist view according to which logical forms are built by the action of the human organism on the environment, a process which is unleashed by an unbalance and that is finished by reequilibration, a process called inquiry by Dewey. Fourth, both Dewey and Piaget consider as provisional and instrumental the knowledge acquired at the end of the process assimilation-accommodation-equilibration, also called inquiry, since the function of knowledge in cognitive development (as in the process of the scientific research) is always to help establish more knowledge. What is not found in Piagets La Naissance de lInteligence chez lEnfant is a reflection on the relevance of the social and cultural factors in the development of intelligence, which is made by Dewey on the cultural character of inquiry. It is important to emphasize that this theme possesses decisive implications for the field of education. Deweys thesis that the development of logical forms depends on cultural environment leads to conclusions about the methods and aims of schooling. In Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, Dewey does not expand on this pedagogical subject, but as is well known, his entire educational philosophy consists of proposing that the pupils activities are carried out in a democratic environment so that cooperative attitudes become patterns of individual behaviors, which is indispensable for the development of reflective rational thinking. In La Naissance, as in most of his work, Piaget does not approach the question of school education, but in Le Jugement Moral chez lEnfant he analyses and emphatically defends cooperation as an educational method, as opposed to coercive educational practices. As was already mentioned, Le Jugement Moral was written before La Naissance, in the young Piaget phase. The topics approached in that work were revived in the 1950s, as in his tudes Sociologiques, published in 1965.12 One of the interlocutors of Le Jugement Moral is mile Durkheim, with whom Piaget disagrees as to the moral doctrine to be adopted in education. While Piaget holds that autonomous morality is developed by the solidarity among children, Durkheim holds that all morality is imposed by the group on the individual, and consequently, by the adult on the child. While Durkheim defends a traditionalist pedagogy which adopts authoritarian methods to guide the pupil to inner freedom, Piaget gives preference to self-government and to activities which propitiate autonomy as the only means for building a rational morality. Resorting to sociological knowledge, a field in which Durkheim is well-known, Piaget states:

Logic, Intelligence, and Education in Dewey and Piaget


Our contemporary civilized societies, that is, precisely those societies to which we try to adapt the child, more and more tend to substitute the rule of cooperation for the rule of coercion. It is part of democracys essence to consider law as a product of the collective will and not as an emanation of a transcendent will or of an authority based on divine right. Therefore, it is part of democracys essence to substitute unilateral respect for authority for the mutual respect for autonomous will.13 Piaget continues that it is necessary to decide whether we wish to implant the habit of external discipline in schools, acquired by means of adult coercion, or we wish to implant the habit of internal discipline and mutual respect. Favorable to the latter option, Piaget mentions Deweys concepts of interest and effort to show that in the domains of morality, as well as in the domains of the intellect, we really own just what we conquer by ourselves.14 This does not mean, however, that the mere let make is the best of pedagogies, and that the individual is taken by his instincts to effort, to work and to discipline.15 Piaget agrees with Durkheim about the necessity of an organized social life for the development of the individual, but he believes that it is possible to establish this social life without either despotism or coercion, in agreement with Dewey. Coinciding with Deweys democratic propositions, Piaget argues that a cooperative environment is the only one which is capable of suitably developing cognitive structures, leading them from sensorial-motor thinking to logicalformal thinking. Aware that every moral rule as much as every logic is a product of experience and knowing that one cannot count simply on biological nature to assure intelligences progress, Piaget advises schools to adopt methods in which individual experimentation is joined to the reflection in common15 so that heteronomy makes room for autonomy. This is the reason why Piaget values the teamwork method, propagated by John Dewey among others, as is mentioned in Le Jugement Moral.16 5. Beyond the Dichotomies The links between Dewey and Piaget extend beyond strictly methodological aspects of education, such as teamwork, active education, and cooperation as pedagogical strategies. The nucleus of similarities between both authors seems to be located in their theories of the development of reasoning the biological and mainly the cultural character of the rational thinking theories that support the necessity of the democratic environment as an indispensable condition for the emergence of more elaborate ways of thinking. Dewey defends the idea that the democratic way of life is the only one which offers the conditions for the existence of reflective thinking because it is the only method that permits the freedom necessary for viable inquiry. Inquiry only takes place in an integral way under a determined ethical condition in which there is dialogue,



freedom for divergence of opinions, and recognition of the other as equal, which is translated as a total rejection of dogmatic positions. The same can be said about Piagets reflections regarding cooperation, as opposed to coercion, as an indispensable condition for the development of intelligence. This connection between Dewey and Piaget, in the context of proposals aiming to renew education following the example of Brazilian believers in the New School during the 1930s, along with todays constructivists goes beyond the formulation of strictly academic proposals. Regaining the core of these two authors thought permits the discovery of means of reorganizing the school environment, as well as the whole social structure involving the activity of teachers and students towards a new way of working and living together. The cooperative environment is a sine qua non condition for the existence of intellectual progress, either in scientific research or school education, fields which demand reasoning in its more complete form. Dewey and Piaget may be asked today as they were asked by the Brazilian followers of the New School in the years 1930 to overcome the antinomy of the pedagogical thinking of all times: the dichotomy between individual freedom and social progress, the controversy between a school centered on the child and a school centered on the community, which is a problem that runs through the entire history of modern education. The contribution of both authors lies in showing that democracy in the school, as well as in social life in general, aims at creating the conditions for the development of the individual towards autonomous thinking. This view also recognizes that the individuals development does not take place through mere instinct and biological structures cannot alone develop reasoning. If biological factors were sufficient, it would be enough to guarantee an environment of freedom for the manifestation of natural behaviors, without a need for any type of adult guidance, with total independence of formalized knowledge for the progress of intelligence. Dewey always positioned himself firmly on this issue in his work. In Experience and Education (1938), he responds to extreme positions of the defenders of American progressive education, but his ideas were already very clear at the beginning of the 1900s, as it can be seen in The Child and the Curriculum (a book read in Brazil during the 1930s). If one wants to legitimate a pedagogy based on procedures of unrestricted freedom for the pupil, of total independence of the student from the teacher, and of absolute predominance of the childs knowledge over the cultures accumulated knowledge, it is not possible to find support from Dewey. Piagets views have also been unequivocal since at least 1930s, as can be noticed by his disbelief in the spontaneous development of reasoning, described above. In another study from the same time, published later in Psychologie et Pedagogie, Piaget comments on the exaggerated optimism of certain educational experiences which consider intellectual development as

Logic, Intelligence, and Education in Dewey and Piaget


entirely determined by the internal maturation or biological maturation of the individual. Their deficiency, says Piaget, lies in the absence of a rational deductive activity to give meaning to the scientific experience, as well as in the lack of a social structure which takes into consideration not only the cooperation among the children but also the cooperation with the adult. He concludes that the most successful new educational methods are the ones which, contrary to the theories that are based on the notion of a purely hereditary maturation, believe in the possibility of acting on this evolution.17 Deweys and Piagets response to the antinomy inherited from traditional educational thought is that the school cannot neglect its links with the community, and also it cannot ignore the progress obtained by the sciences of child development. The solution for the dilemma of community vs. child is to define what can be understood by community. If it is a social structure based on democratic principles of respect for the experience of all members including children, then school education will serve as a tool for the growth of people guided by a morality of solidarity and cooperation. This view of community excludes any definition of the school as a place for the imposition of social needs. This position contributes to the constant progress of society, once the constructed values are more durable than the values imposed by coercion. This solution to the educational dilemma also defines the meaning of childhood and its link with adult life. If childhood is understood as the initial point of a trajectory which leads to reasoning, intelligence, reflective thinking, and cooperation, then the childs spontaneity must be respected as a means for the individual to reach such levels. The overcoming of the dichotomies of community-child and individualsociety requires philosophical positions that are at the same time political, ethical, and scientific. Such positions were considered by the defenders of the New School in Brazil in the last century, at least by those who searched for inspiration in Dewey and Piaget, and they must be also considered by constructivist educators in the dawn of the 21st century.18 At the present time, when Dewey and Piaget are asked to give foundations to proposals for overcoming the impasses of contemporary pedagogy, there is a risk that their ideas are used in discursive contexts distant from their thought. If constructivism proceeds to exaggerate the creative self and interpersonal relationships, making a place for the individual before the background of the social environment, and becoming a pedagogy devoid of any planning in relation to societys future, I do not think that its defenders may call themselves Deweyans or Piagetians. For Dewey and Piaget, humanitys future must be planned. Both of them teach us to believe in peoples creativity and to fight for the improvement of our relationships with others. Furthermore, they do not let us forget that ethics, autonomy, and democracy are constructions which demand intelligence and reasoning, attributes that we do not own simply by being biologically human.



This paper is the result of research subsidized by Brazils Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientfico e Tecnolgico. Tarso B. Mazzotti, to whom I am very grateful, debated with me the ideas presented here, but any mistakes are entirely my responsibility.

1. Manuel Bergstrom Loureno Filho, Introduo ao estudo da Escola Nova: bases, sistemas e diretrizes da pedagogia contempornea, 11th edn. (So Paulo: Melhoramentos, 1974), p. 23. 2. Marcus Vinicius da Cunha, Dewey e Piaget no Brasil dos anos trinta, Cadernos de Pesquisa 87 (1996), pp. 512. 3. See Ives de La Taille, Prefcio edio brasileira, in Jean Piaget, O juzo moral na criana (So Paulo: Summus, 1994), p. 16. 4. Ansio Teixeira, Bases da teoria lgica de Dewey, Revista Brasileira de Estudos Pedaggicos 23 (January-March 1955), pp. 327, at p. 13. 5. Jean Piaget, O nascimento da inteligncia na criana, 4th edn. (Rio de Janeiro: Guanabara, 1987), p. 379. 6. Ibid., p. 337. 7. Ibid., p. 340. 8. Ibid., p. 342. 9. Ibid., p. 381. 10. Ibid., p. 382. 11. Ibid., p. 387. 12. Jean Piaget, Estudos sociolgicos (Rio de Janeiro: Forense, 1973). 13. Jean Piaget, O juzo moral na criana (So Paulo: Summus, 1994), p. 270. 14. Ibid., p. 272. 15. Ibid., p. 300. 16. Ibid., p. 301. 17. Jean Piaget, Psicologia e Pedagogia (Rio de Janeiro: Forense Universitria, 1985), p. 173. 18. Marcus Vinicius da Cunha, Dewey, Escola Nova e Construtivismo: continuidade, descontinuidade e recontextualizao, in Estudos sobre a profisso docente, ed. Jane Soares de Almeida (So Paulo: Cultura Acadmica, 2001), pp. 1544.

Gordon Mitchell

The separation between church and state is generally seen as an inevitable and welcome feature of modernity. Each must get on with what it does best, but separately, is the preferred wisdom. For public schools, this has often meant that religion is allowed in, only if it is tightly leashed and under strict supervision. While religions may sometimes still be described from a neutral point of view, theological discussion, both critical and sympathetic, is seen as belonging to the private domain of home and religious institution. It therefore comes as a considerable surprise to learn that one of the foremost educational philosophers of modern times would question such a commonsense sacredsecular distinction. John Deweys call at the age of seventy-five for a second look at the place of religion in school and society has been one of the least influential of all his efforts, and remains a puzzling enigma and an embarrassment to many of his supporters. In trying to understand his insistence that religious questions also belong in the school it is important to unravel his argumentation and then seek to relate it to his wider philosophy. Clarifying its theoretical coherence may be one thing, and establishing the workability of his proposal is another. If there were any attempts at direct implementation, these have not been publicized in the scholarly media. Nevertheless, there are examples of initiatives, developed independently, but which bear certain striking similarities to what Dewey appears to have had in mind. One such case study is in the educational system in Hamburg, Germany. Comparison will then be a means of revisiting and finding new relevance in the religious aspect of Deweys thought. 1. John Dewey and a A Common Faith From his days as a student in Vermont until he moved, at the age of thirty-five, to Chicago in 1894, John Dewey was actively and publicly devoted to exploring theological issues. Thereafter, except for the occasional reference in letters and poems, he hardly addressed the question again until 1934 when he published his slim, fifty-eight page work entitled A Common Faith.1 Those inspired by his general philosophical and political activity were disappointed



that Dewey had been side-tracked into a pointless theological debate. Biographer Robert Westbrook describes what he clearly views as a series of unfortunate accidents.2 After two decades in which he had carefully avoided the subject of religion, Dewey agreed to review a book in Christian Century entitled Is There a God? The subsequent controversy led to an invitation to deliver the Terry Lectures at Yale University, which were then published as A Common Faith. Religious questions seen thus as incidental, would then justify the way in which subsequent Dewey scholarship has all but ignored this aspect. More recent studies however insist that religious questions were always important for Dewey and that A Common Faith provided an opportunity to draw together different aspects of his thinking.3 In a letter written to Max Otto in 1935, Dewey says my book was written for the people who feel inarticulately they have the essence of the religious with them and yet are repelled by the religions and are confused.4 It is this common, everyday faith of ordinary people that he is championing. They have impulses towards compassion, justice, equality, and freedom. The task that remains is to weld all these things together.5 As he proceeds in his defence of the ordinary person as theologian, concepts such as faith, evil, religious, community, are taken up and reinterpreted in line with his philosophy. Dewey mounts a sustained critique of what he understands to be the inappropriate place of religion. At the outset, a crucial distinction is made between a religion and religious, between anything that may be denoted by a noun substantive and the quality of experience that is designated by an adjective.6 Religion signifies a special body of beliefs and practices having some kind of institutional organization.7 There are many religions, often with competing truth claims and practices. Dewey insists these should not be permitted a monopoly on religious experience. An account of a writer who broke down from overwork is related: I resolved to stop drawing upon myself so continuously and begin drawing upon God. I determined to set apart a quiet time every day in which I could relate my life to its Ultimate Source, regain the consciousness that in God I live, move and have my being.8 Dewey maintains that such experiences of deeper adjustment and support in life are not so rare and infrequent as they are commonly supposed to be. If, for a moment, the term religious is dropped one soon comes up with a range of examples. He insists that the doctrinal or intellectual apparatus and the institutional accretions that grow up are, in a strict sense, adventitious to the intrinsic quality of such experiences.9 There is much more to this than a defence of direct mystical experience in competition with institutional religion. He is talking about something broader. What he calls the religious aspect of experience belongs to a range of experiences, from aesthetic, scientific, moral or political, to experiences of companionship and friendship.10 It is important to bear in mind Deweys

The Sacred in the Everyday: John Dewey on Religion


particular understanding of experience. At that time he was working on Art as Experience, where aesthetic experience can be appreciative, perceiving and enjoying.11 Here the scientific method is a vital component of such experience.12 In Democracy and Education experience is used in the sense of experimentation.13 Such confidence in the scientific method is certainly reflected in his understanding of religion. He insists, There is but one sure road of access to truth observation, experiment, record and controlled reflection.14 The fundamental question is not of this and that article of intellectual belief but of intellectual habit, method and criterion.15 Imagination, emotion and faith play a key role in speaking about the relationship between people and the universe. He sees the consequence of his arguments in giving aspiration for natural knowledge a definitely religious character.16 Dewey borrowed the term natural piety from William Wordsworth, expressing his understanding of the interdependence of humans and nature.17 This conception is supplemented by the notion of possibility. Religion is in every aspect of human experience that is concerned with estimate of possibilities, with emotional stir by possibilities as yet unrealised, and with all action in behalf of their realization. All that is significant in human experience falls within this frame.18 There exist goods in art, in education, in the study of nature, in religions. These are in embryonic form and need to be developed. Many persons are shut out from generous participation in them; there are forces at work that threaten and sap existent goods as well as prevent their expansion.19 The call for social analysis and democratic activism echoes earlier thinking on the notion of democracy and education where he describes such structures of exclusion as evils.20 Women, slaves, and minorities have been systematically exploited and used as instruments by the powerful to further their own interests.21 Education, by promoting democracy both as an ideal end and as a central feature of educational practice, is one of the most important ways of ensuring such generous participation. In A Common Faith the democratic ideal must thus become a vital moral and spiritual ideal in human affairs.22 Echoing Matthew Arnold, he understands the religious as morality touched by emotion.23 The essentially unreligious attitude is that which attributes human achievement and purpose to man in isolation from the world of physical nature and his fellows.24 Everything, including human relationships, art, and nature are seen as being part of the same ideal. It is in this active relation between ideal and actual to which I would give the name God. He immediately adds, I would not insist that the name must be given.25 He insists, here and throughout the book, on avoiding any suggestion of supernaturalism. The aims and ideals that move us are generated through imagination. But they are not made out of imaginary stuff. They are made out of the hard stuff of the world of physical and social experience.26 In a multi-layered, at times irony-laden, critique of organised religion, Dewey offers a forthright rejection of supernaturalism. Although he does not



understand himself to be a positivist,27 he does insist that any talk of a transcendent Being beyond the world of experience is meaningless. The attempts by liberal theology to reformulate doctrinal statements to fit in with modern thought he meets with ridicule, reserving his sharpest knife for the opponent whose beliefs were closest to his own.28 Nevertheless, several continued to regard Dewey as one of them. Reinhold Niebuhr, for example, was insistent that Deweys position coincides with the dynamic theological understanding of prophetic religion.29 Dewey however continued to maintain that it was really a question of method, which distinguished his position from liberal theology. Indeed, his critique of supernaturalism draws out the distinctive contours of his method. Both militant atheism and supernaturalism are, in his opinion, preoccupied with humankind in isolation from their fellows and from nature. From the perspective of a social activist, Dewey again turns upon the supernaturalism of organised religion. He argues that dependence on an external power is the counterpoint of surrender of human endeavour.30 The revival by theologians, such as Reinhold Niebuhr, of an emphasis on human sin and the need for supernatural redemption, in the wake of the devastation of the Great War, saps the vitality from human engagement.31 Dewey maintains that the faith and ardour of organised religion is misdirected to the supernatural. If applied instead to natural human relations, it would do incalculable good. He by no means disregards the positive contributions of organised religion to the sustenance of human ideals, but calls for the emancipation of the religious quality from accretions that have grown up about it and that limit the credibility and the influence of religion.32 Deweys vision of a universe of nature and of human community which can be imaginatively and emotionally experienced, is at the same time a call to action. In life, there are all sorts of evil things that we would have otherwise. Instead of evil having some separate existence as an abstract moral force, it can be analysed by ordinary means used to examine social phenomena. By understanding the causes of evils, it becomes possible to work upon remedies.33 Here, the notions of social health and social intelligence are introduced. Intelligence is considered a method which, unlike the older conception of reason, is inherently involved in action.34 Faith is thus coupled with his notion of possibility. For all endeavour for the better is moved by faith in what is possible, not by adherence to the actual.35 This understanding of faith, he adds, avoids the mistake of converting the idealism of action into a system of beliefs about antecedent reality.36 A further problem with the idea of religion based on the supernatural is that it inevitably draws a line between sacred and profane, religious and secular.37 In order to demonstrate the relevance of what he chose to call common faith, Dewey needs to address the widely held assumption that religion should be kept out of secular territory. What he describes as the

The Sacred in the Everyday: John Dewey on Religion


greatest change that has occurred in religion in all history was the separation after the medieval era of the national state and other forms of organization from religious questions and institutions.38 Prior to that, education was the induction of the young into community activities that were interwoven at every point with customs, legends and ceremonies intimately connected with and sanctioned by religion.39 Although he frequently criticizes religion and recognizes that the forces that have sought to humanize human relations, and which have resulted in intellectual, aesthetic or social development, have often been independent of religious institutions, he laments the loss of influence of religious values. Secular interests have crowded the social importance of organised religions into a corner and the area of this corner is decreasing.40 By proposing a method of comprehending the universe by means of imagination and action, both accorded the adjective of religious, Dewey simply dissolves the sacred-secular distinction. It is at this point where Dewey is particularly revolutionary in A Common Faith. By 1957, Yale University Press had authorized 13 printings, but reviews and scholarly literature tended to ignore the implications of this argument for public education.41 Educators, used to the unquestioned sacred-secular distinction, were undoubtedly shocked at being told that education needed to be religious, and chose to ignore it. His work has also, with a few exceptions,42 been almost entirely ignored by the field of religious education. While A Common Faith is the central text for understanding Deweys position on religion, it is dealt with in other publications as well. Earlier in his career, in 1908, he had called for a moratorium on religious instruction in schools until an approach had been elaborated which would be based on religious feeling and thought consistent with modern democracy and science.43 In Democracy and Education he is able to offer more clarity on the place of religion in public education: The intermingling in the school of different races, differing religions, and unlike customs creates for all a new and broader environment.44 In a pluralistic society, it is essential that different social classes learn from each other, in order to avoid perpetuating the self-interests of social inequality45 and segregated values.46 Communication in education takes place between pupils of differing backgrounds as they explore new paths together. Dewey would later in 1947 use this argument against the idea of state support for denominational schools.47 Such sectarian schools would work against the fundamental principle of democratic education enshrined in the public school ideal of a meeting place between people of different cultures. Underlying the notion learning together, from each other, is the notion of experimentation.48 Instead of being confronted with large amounts of fixed content to be learned, pupils are encouraged to explore the world for themselves. When A Common Faith criticises the idea of religious ideas which simply are to be believed and transmitted, Dewey makes these criticisms in a way which is consistent with his wider educational thought. Experimentation is



the way to knowledge and not a form of scholasticism. His defence of the ordinary person as a theologian similarly removes the authority of religious institution and professional theologian. In the United States, due to a strict separation between church and state, there has been little scope for testing many of these ideas in practice. 2. Interfaith Dialogue in Schools: Religious Education for all in Hamburg Over the past three decades, a policy for religion in schools has emerged in the city of Hamburg which has remarkable similarities to Deweys proposal, even though there is no conscious association with his work. The current practice in the subject of religious education encourages pupils from different backgrounds to learn about each others religious beliefs in discussions which can cover issues ranging from traditional philosophical questions to contemporary political questions. Even a cursory glance at any of the religious education syllabi produced over the past thirty years in Hamburg introduces one to a noisy conversation. Not only did various interest groups clearly need to be satisfied, but many emphases from the recent past are simply retained or reinterpreted. Didactic principles listed in the most recent syllabi focus on the world of the learner and set out to be problem-oriented. At the same time they are to have a focus on tradition, be dialogical, authentic and scientific. By tracing the changing notion of tradition in the syllabus discussion over the years it should be possible to understand better the range of voices in what is now called the Hamburg Model. By accident of history a formal relationship (albeit a blurred one) between religious institutions and public education has ensured the presence of religious issues in the curriculum. At Weimar in 1919, during the confused aftermath of World War I, a constitution was written which separated church and state but which at the same time guaranteed the right of religious communities to teach religious education in state schools. This was ratified again in 1945 when the Federal Republic of Germany came into being. In the period after World War II, the potential of religion to act as a counter to the discredited values of the Nazi years was widely acknowledged and the relevance of the subject in schools supported, in both its Roman Catholic and Lutheran forms. However, by the mid-1960s, religious education had increasingly come to be questioned as authoritarian and conservative. Within the circles that would shape a new approach to religious education both in Hamburg and in other states in Germany, there emerged a trend that was initially influenced by the existentialist philosophy and liberal theology of Paul Tillich. Tradition is seen as something that is alive, ever adapting itself in new settings. This approach draws directly on the tradition-history method

The Sacred in the Everyday: John Dewey on Religion


of Biblical scholarship where tradition is seen as something ever changing and adapting to new life situations. The way in which the Gospels came into being serves as the paradigm for such a dynamic understanding of tradition. Here the Subject plays the decisive role in a hermeneutical relationship to received tradition. By reconstructing the dialogue of question and answer one enters a process of coming to terms with existence. Dialogue with tradition can equip young people with an understanding of the tentative and uncertain nature of existence. Tradition therefore offers no false security. Religious education must be a path of authentic existence, and its task is to bring young people into the tension between the finite and the infinite, being and non-being, success and failure, meaningless and meaning.49 By the early 1970s, it was clear to many that the search for individual meaning needed a political dimension, at a time of widespread social upheaval and questioning. Respect for authority had allowed their parents generation to accept National Socialism. Now the authority of a tradition could not remain unchallenged. Networks of like-minded individuals began work on an approach which came to be called problem-oriented religious education.50 The task of classroom discussion is to deal with the meaning of existence and to promote social engagement. In many of the texts, the formula is Hermeneutik des Daseins und des politischen Existierens.51 Political theology brought with it a new understanding of tradition. The hermeneutic of problem-oriented religious education is self-consciously partisan, and therefore makes a distinction between traditions of subjugation and traditions of liberation. The option for the poor, a theology from below are the guiding concepts. Such an Ideologiekritik is suspicious of all hegemony, including claims by Christianity to a culturally privileged position. A method which would enhance the capacity of religious education to emancipate society meant that the focus would be problem-oriented and no longer tradition-oriented. Basic democracy provided the model for didactic practice. With considerable energy, curriculum material was developed to support this new approach. Themes cover topics such as guest workers, prejudice, the environment, and peace. The intention is to promote a form of teaching in which teachers and learners are in a democratic relationship of mutual acknowledgement and mutual engagement with a shared problem.52 This means that the objectives of religious education should coincide with the broad emancipatory task of the school.53 These ideas were translated into a series of syllabus revisions. The questions and the needs of the pupils are to be the focal point.54 The tendency to overcrowd a syllabus with content was countered. Shared responsibility of pupils and teachers for the formation of knowledge in the classroom rests on the principle of dialogue. Problems need to be addressed from multiple perspectives, and cross-curricular project work is therefore strongly encouraged. The objectives of the subject of religious education are formulated in such a



way that they coincide with broad educational aims. By the mid-1980s, there had developed a wide level of acceptance of such an approach by the school authorities and large numbers of teachers in the city.55 With its emphasis on learning from one another and taking the perspective of the weakest in the society it is hardly surprising that the changing classroom profile in the 1980s brought about by migration would have an immediate impact on the subject. Up to that point, religious education had been formally Lutheran. Teachers in inner-city schools, however, now found themselves shamed into broadening the subject to include all faith traditions present. Thus was born Das Hamburger Modell: Religionsunterricht fr Alle.56 Unlike most other states in Germany where religious education is conducted on separate confessional lines, in Hamburg, Bremen, and Berlin the concentration of minorities has made this untenable. The new reality in schools means traditions not in the singular but in the plural. The initial theoretical legitimization in 1993 for the pluralization of religious education is the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child.57 This continues the practice of understanding religion in educational and human rights terms. A conceptual model built on experiences of inter-religious dialogue then began to be influential.58 In a process of dialogue, one seeks to learn respectfully about other faith traditions. Dialogical religious education soon became the primary way in which the subject understood itself. A learning environment is created in which pupils in religiously diverse classes learn from one another. This is a Dialog von Unten, dialogue from below. A necessary institutional innovation was the establishment in 1995 of the Gesprchskreis Interreligiser Religionsunterricht (Forum for Inter-religious Religious Education). With Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian members, it served as a think-tank for influencing policy and practice. Although this introduced a decisively new direction, there is continuity with earlier trends. The diverse religious convictions and traditions are brought to bear on key contemporary and future problems.59 There is, however, a revised notion of tradition, which does indeed stand in some tension to its role in problemoriented religious education. In Religious Education for All the traditions and convictions of the religions should be presented in terms of their selfunderstanding.60 Syllabi from that time onwards have authenticity as a key didactic principle, but now primarily in the sense of establishing the primacy of the insider perspective. Much of its meaning as authentic existence has been lost, although survival of the experiential is occasionally evident in curious formulations about the need to have authentic encounters with other religions. Syllabus structure offers some idea of the ways in which new priorities are combined with the old. The task is initially seen as one of providing a Christian, a Jewish, a Muslim, and a Buddhist perspective on each of the guiding themes:

The Sacred in the Everyday: John Dewey on Religion x x x x I discover myself and others. We live in a community. What is important to people in their belief. We live in one world.


Teacher support material for the Primary School on the theme of Angst was developed by a group made up of people from different religious communities. The introduction is the ancient Buddhist story, Das Kaninchen und die Angst. A mango crashes to the ground, terrifying a small rabbit into believing that the world is falling apart. He flees and is soon followed by all the other animals. They are about to rush over a cliff into the sea when a lion stops them. After listening to their story, he encourages the rabbit to confront his fear. After presenting general suggestions on how to deal with the subject, there is a section, Useful strategies and religious traditions against fear. From Buddhism one can learn to recite a mantra, from Islam there are Koranic texts and a set of steps in writing the Arabic for Allah, and from Christianity there is the story of Jesus calming the storm. Not only is the content drawn from different traditions, but the didactic methods are, controversially for some, also shaped by them. This concern to produce curriculum material in the context of interreligious dialogue is also well reflected in an earlier project on Jesus, both from a Moslem and from a Christian perspective, Jesus gibt der Seele Flgel.61 In these texts, tradition is represented by an authentic insider. A textbook written by a Hamburg High School teacher goes beyond this.62 Konflikstoff Kopftuch. Eine thematische Einfhrung in den Islam presents a rich variety of insider and outsider perspectives. The emphasis is not only on the official description but on contemporary lived religion. Quotations from interviews serve to demonstrate the inner diversity of Islam. The readers are throughout persuaded to come to terms with their own pre-understanding of Islam and to confront negative prejudices. The ongoing concern with social and political questions, alongside questions of religious diversity, is also evident in the curriculum material known as the Hamburger Hungertuch.63 This takes pupils through a process of identifying problems in the society by focusing on the concept poverty. Drawing inspiration from the way in which liberation theology had taken up a medieval Christian practice of weaving perceived social problems into the fabric of an altar cloth, pupils are encouraged to reflect on these problems from various religious perspectives. The emphasis is not just on religion or social analysis, it is in the interaction between the two, and participants are intended to discover meaningful forms of social engagement. The tradition of religious education in Hamburg is thus one with considerable internal diversity. Many of the elements from the seventies are retained within a dialectic of continuity and change. This helps to explain the



bewildering array of emphasis in current syllabi. Although a brief study of the notion of tradition in the Hamburg discussion shows that there has been a development over the past three decades, there is no sense in which the earlier emphases have been simply discarded. They still survive syllabus revisions and are consistently addressed in theoretical debates and in curriculum material. Thus, for example, in Hamburg there is a problem-oriented discourse64 side by side with a dialogical discourse,65 often conducted by the same people. 3. Conversation and Conclusions In Hamburg, reflection on the role of religion in schools was deeply influenced by existentialist philosophy, liberation theology, and ecumenical theology. Examination of bibliographies and footnotes reveals no links to Dewey. There are nevertheless some striking similarities between what developed in Hamburg and Deweys proposals. Dewey insisted on learning as a democratic process in which pupils are encouraged to make their contribution in such a way that the classroom would model the ideal of a democratic community.66 Learning is centred on life situations, and pupils are to experiment imaginatively in discovering solutions of their own.67 By means of direct experience pupils themselves generate knowledge. The curriculum should therefore not be overloaded with content.68 Instead of the scholasticism of reproducing ideas from defined fields of study, there is to be interdisciplinary project learning.69 The pragmatic way of knowing insists on a continuity with activity which purposely modifies the environment.70 In Democracy and Education these ideas are broadly discussed. A Common Faith, while emerging as a response to a theological question, nevertheless demonstrates the same priorities and argumentation. In the final paragraph of A Common Faith Dewey brings together in a few sentences his understanding of the relationship between culture and activism: Ours is the responsibility of conserving, transmitting, rectifying and expanding the heritage of values we have received that those who come after us may receive it more solid and secure, more widely accessible and more generously shared than we have received it. Here are all the elements for a religious faith that shall not be confined to sect, class, or race. Such a faith has always been implicitly the common faith of mankind. It remains to make it explicit and militant.71 Knowledge is not something to be transmitted to the young, particularly not knowledge that is located only in particular sectors of a society. The traditional separation of doing and knowing is also collapsed. Democracy is thus both an ideal and a method. This combination of problem-focus and activism bears many similarities to the emphasis in problem-oriented religious

The Sacred in the Everyday: John Dewey on Religion


education. Here too, tradition is not just to be conserved and transmitted, but rectified and expanded. The dialogical approach of the 1990s encouraged the respectful inclusion of various religious traditions. There also appears to be an immediate association with Deweys ideal of the public school. Pupils from different backgrounds should learn about one anothers worlds by means of direct contact, which brings opportunity to expand horizons by means of individual experience. Deweys argument that schools which bring together pupils from different cultures, classes, and religions are the seedbed of a democratic society is very similar to what is being explored in Hamburg. However, Dewey called for more than this. For Dewey, the public school should be a place where such divisions could be overcome. An advocate of multiculturalism, he believes on the one hand that diversity is a positive enrichment but proposes, on the other hand, that the cultural interaction should eventually contribute to the creation of a new reality. In a powerful essay on the public school as the agency of democracy,72 assimilation is lauded, and Dewey argues that the progressive harmonization of differences among races, cultures, creeds, and economic levels is the very principle of American democracy. A similar logic is applied to the recognition of a common faith that shall not be confined to sect, class, or race.73 It is precisely such an inclusive vision that often makes religious and other minorities nervous. Concerns about religious education for all promoting syncretism are usually met by assurances that it is in contact with the other that a person develops an own identity. Indeed, it is argued, one of the principles of dialogue between people of different religions and world-views is the recognition of the incompleteness of each.74 Openness to discovery is therefore central to such dialogue. In A Common Faith it is argued that claims to a monopoly of supreme values makes it impossible for the churches to participate in promotion of social ends on a natural and equal human basis.75 For those policy formulators from different faith communities in Hamburg, working together on curriculum material, this problem has been recognised. By cooperating together, faith communities have been able to exercise a direct influence on public education. Such structures of consensus building between the state and civil society are a feature of postwar Germany, where it continues to be held that no sector of the society should ever again be allowed to exercise totalitarian control. At the same time, the call for understanding and respecting traditions does smack of authoritarianism. Furthermore, a view which seeks to draw exclusively on an authentic insider perspective runs the risk of limiting itself to official doctrinal formulations which have been selectively privileged, and leaving little scope for any form of Ideologiekritik. This could also mean excluding other important aspects of everyday religious life which surely need to be shared in order to promote mutual understanding in a plural society. Deweys rigorous distinction between religion and religious remains a



fundamentally important means of identifying educational approaches which promote uncritical acceptance of received tradition. The distinction indeed amounts to an invasion, by common people, of the carefully protected territory of priests and theologians. In championing the rights of ordinary people to engage in theologizing, Dewey opens up new possibilities for the role of religion in public education. Within the current syllabus proposals in Hamburg, the combination of problem- and pupil-orientation in the practice of respectful dialogue undermines to a considerable extent the notion of religion as a static body doctrine which pupils need to learn. Experiments with problem- and dialogue-oriented learning environments have demonstrated the potential of the topic religion to serve as a forum where fundamental philosophical questions matters of individual and social meaning can be debated. Pupils are not only directly exposed to a rich array of new experience, but the didactic methods of the various religions suggest new ways of dealing with religious questions. Such a pluralistic approach highlights one of the tensions in Deweys thinking: on the one hand, diversity offers wonderful opportunity for discovery, and on the other hand, it is something he seems to want to modernize out of existence. Is A Common Faith then simply a product of a particular multicultural vision which would later find itself out of step in a changed world of minority cultural rights? In one sense the answer seems to be yes. Assimilation as a strategy would appear to want to harmonize differences. In another sense, however, Dewey is not proposing uniformity of thought. The method he outlines of including a religious dimension in processes of experimentation, imagination, and action offers an exciting way of introducing questions of religious spirituality and meaning across the curriculum. By ignoring the walls built by academic disciplines, it becomes possible for pupils to explore something as big as the universe with tools of aesthetic, scientific, and even religious ways of knowing and arguing.

1. John Dewey, A Common Faith, The Later Works of John Dewey, 19251953, vol. 9, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1986), pp. 158. Hereafter references to the Collected Works of John Dewey are indicated by MW (The Middle Works), or LW (The Later Works), followed by volume and page numbers. 2. Robert Westbrook, John Dewey and American Democracy (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1991), pp. 420422. 3. Steven Rockefeller, John Dewey: Religious Faith and Democratic Humanism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), pp. 491540; Alan Ryan, John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism (New York: W. W. Norton, 1995), pp. 243 283; Daniel Troehler, The Global Community, Religion, and Education: The

The Sacred in the Everyday: John Dewey on Religion


Modernity of Deweys Social Philosophy, Studies in Philosophy and Education 19 (2000), pp. 159186. 4. LW 9: 455. 5. Dewey, A Common Faith, LW 9: 54. 6. LW 9: 4. 7. LW 9: 8. 8. LW 9: 1011. 9. LW 9: 13. 10. LW 9: 9. 11. John Dewey, Art as Experience (New York: G. P. Putnams Sons, 1934), p. 47. 12. James Scott Johnston, John Dewey and the Role of Scientific Method in Aesthetic Experience, Studies in Philosophy and Education 21 (2002), pp. 115. 13. John Dewey, Democracy and Education (New York: Macmillan, 1916), pp. 271279. 14. Dewey, A Common Faith, LW 9: 23. 15. LW 9: 24. 16. LW 9: 16. 17. Rockefeller, John Dewey: Religious Faith and Democratic Humanism, pp. 495501. 18. Dewey, A Common Faith, LW 9: 39. 19. LW 9: 35. 20. Dewey, Democracy and Education, p. 260. 21. Ibid., p. 253. 22. Dewey, A Common Faith, LW 9: 56. 23. LW 9: 16. 24. LW 9: 18. 25. LW 9: 34. 26. LW 9: 33. 27. Johnston, John Dewey and the Role of Scientific Method in Aesthetic Experience, pp. 45. 28. Westbrook, John Dewey and American Democracy, p. 421. 29. Rockefeller, John Dewey: Religious Faith and Democratic Humanism, pp. 523524. 30. Dewey, A Common Faith, LW 9: 3132. 31. LW 9: 49, 52. 32. LW 9: 56. 33. LW 9: 51. 34. LW 9: 52. 35. LW 9: 17. 36. LW 9: 17. 37. LW 9: 44. 38. LW 9: 41. 39. LW 9: 41. 40. LW 9: 55. 41. Trhler, The Global Community, Religion, and Education.



42. See Siebren Miedema, The Beyond in the Midst: The Relevance of John Deweys Philosophy of Religion for Education, Studies in Philosophy and Education 13 (1994), pp. 229241; Miedema, The Quest for Religious Experience in Education, Religious Education 90 (1995), pp. 399410; Miedema, John Dewey and William James on Religious Experience, in The Problems of Theoretical Psychology, ed. Charles W. Tolman, et al. (North York, Ontario: Captus University Publications, 1995). 43. John Dewey, Religion and our Schools, MW 4: 165177. See Rockefeller, John Dewey: Religious Faith and Democratic Humanism, pp. 265269. 44. Dewey, Democracy and Education, p. 21. 45. Ibid., pp. 8687. 46. Ibid., p. 249. 47. John Dewey, Implications of S.2499, LW 15: 281285. 48. Dewey, Democracy and Education, pp. 271279. 49. Horst Gloy, Die religise Ansprechbarkeit Jugendlicher als didaktisches Problem dargestellt am Beispiel des Religionsunterrichts an der Berufsschule (Hamburg: Furche-Verlag, 1969), p. 251. 50. See Thorsten Knauth, Problemorientierter Religionsunterricht. Eine kritische Rekonstruktion (Gttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2003). 51. Knauth, Problemorientierter Religionsunterricht, p. 243. 52. Hans-Jrgen Laubach, Die Entwicklung der Religionslehrplne in Hamburg seit 1968, in Aus der religionspdagogischen Arbeit in Hamburg. Fr Hans Kuckuck zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Hans-Jrgen Laubach (Hamburg, 1977), p. 80. 53. Knauth, Problemorientierter Religionsunterricht, pp. 236241. 54. Horst Gloy, Konvergenzpunkte zwischen den Richtlinien fr Erziehung und Unterricht in der Sekundarstufe I und dem didaktischen Konzept der Hamburger Lehrplne fr das Fach Religion (Horst Gloy, Archive, Faculty of Education, University of Hamburg, 1986), p. 3. 55. Gloy, Konvergenzpunkte. 56. See Folkert Doedens, Interreligises Lernen im Religionsunterricht fr alle Vielfalt in Gemeinsamkeit lernen, in Religionsunterricht fr alle. Hamburger Perspektiven zur Religionsdidaktik Religionspdagogik in einer multikulturellen Gesellschaft, vol. 1, ed. Folkert Doedens and Wolfram Weie (Mnster: Waxmann, 1997), pp. 5581; Horst Gloy, Dem interreligisen Religionsunterricht gehrt die Zukunft, in Religionsunterricht fr alle, pp. 82104. 57. Gesprchskreis Interreligiser Religionsunterricht, Empfehlungen zum Religionsunterricht an ffentlichen Schulen in Hamburg, in Religionsunterricht fr alle, pp. 3541. 58. See Wofram Weie, Begegnung und Dialog im Religionsunterricht. Erfahrungen kumenischer Theologie und Anstze eines Dialoges im Klassenzimmer, in Religionsunterricht fr alle, pp. 136147. 59. Gesprchskreis Interreligiser Religionsunterricht, Empfehlungen zum Religionsunterricht, p. 37. 60. Ibid., p. 38. 61. Ursula Sieg, Jesus gibt die Seele Flgel. Baustein einer christlichislamischen Unterrrichteinheit zum Leben und Wirken Jesu, in Interreligise Begegnungen. Ein Lernbuch fr Schule und Gemeinde, ed. Hans-Christoph Gomann and Andre Ritter (Hamburg: EB-Vlg., 2000), pp. 231241.

The Sacred in the Everyday: John Dewey on Religion


62. Jochen Bauer, Konfliktstoff Kopftuch. Eine thematische Einfhrung in den Islam (Mlheim an der Ruhr: Verlag an der Ruhr, 2001). 63. Thorsten Knauth and Joachim Schroeder, eds., ber Befreiung. Befreiungspdagogik, Befreiungsphilosophie und Befreiungstheologie im Dialog (Mnster: Waxmann, 1998), pp. 280292. 64. Knauth, Problemorientierter Religionsunterricht, p. 243; Wofram Weie, Reich Gottes. Hoffnung gegen Hoffnungslosigkeit (Gttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1997). 65. Thorsten Knauth, Religionsunterricht und Dialog. Empirische Untersuchungen, konzeptionelle berlegungen, und didaktische Perspektiven eines Religionsunterrichts im Horizont religiser und kultureller Pluralisierung (Mnster: Waxmann, 1995); Weie, Begegnung und Dialog im Religionsunterricht. 66. Dewey, Democracy and Education, p. 322. 67. Ibid., pp. 235236. 68. Ibid., p. 233. 69. Ibid., p. 280. 70. Ibid., p. 344. 71. Dewey, A Common Faith, LW 9: 5758. 72. Dewey, Implications of S.2499, LW 15: 282. 73. Dewey, A Common Faith, LW 9: 5758. 74. Weie, Begegnung und Dialog im Religionsunterricht, p. 140. 75. Dewey, A Common Faith, LW 9: 54.

Helmut Schreier and Kerstin Michalik

Except, then, on the premise that the subject-matter of philosophy is fixed properties of antecedent Being, the fact that it is an intellectual pursuit signifies nothing beyond the fact that those who engange in it should respect the canons of fairness, impartiality, of internal consistency and external evidence. It carries no implication with it except on the basis of a prior assumption save that of intellectual honesty. John Dewey, The Quest for Certainty1

1. Philosophizing With Children and Curriculum Guidelines in Hamburg In 2004, a curriculum was introduced to elementary schools in Hamburg, one of the sixteen states (autonomous in matters of education and cultural affairs) that form the Federal Republic of Germany. For the subjects of science and social studies, the new curriculum identified eight topic areas: x x x x x x x x Living Together Me and My Body Our Neighborhood Living in Europe and in the World Time, Change, and History Nature The Technical World Work, Economy, and Consumption

These areas correspond roughly to classical fields of study such as geography, history, science and technology, life sciences, and civic studies. From the educational point of view, the objective is an introduction to concepts and approaches typical of the disciplines that make up science and social studies. The units and lesson plans are aimed at children six to ten years old (the student population of the German Grundschule). According to one



important underlying principle, instruction must seek to keep intact the harmonious world-views of most children of that age. Different images of reality resulting from different perspectives are not represented in their mutual exclusiveness, but as various parts of a consistent whole (Ganzheit), as in a mosaic. (Mosaik is the title of a popular textbook series for this line of study.) There is a hope that the introduction of appropriate ideas of the various disciplines specifics will somehow dovetail with childrens common sense grasp of their social and natural environs, providing them with mental equipment necessary to succeed in secondary school, as they have to cope with challenging circumstances in their lives. This curriculums aim does not have much novelty. The majority of curricula for elementary social studies and elementary science in public schools worldwide are likely designed in similar fashion, with similar pedagogic ideas in mind. However, the Hamburg curriculum has added a table of philosophical questions to each of the topic areas. There are eight tables for the 1st and 2nd year grade level, and another eight tables for the 3rd and 4th years. Each table provides a list of questions of a philosophical nature that are connected in some way to the topic at hand. Teachers may choose among these suggested questions to discuss with their pupils for a kind of talk that borders on the context of instruction yet seeks to transcend the ramifications of schooling by deliberately dealing with questions that cannot be ticked off simply by right or wrong answers. Instead, teachers are asked to engage children in an exchange of views dealing exactly with such topics which the process of instruction would normally seek to circumnavigate and to avoid because they involve personal beliefs and, for the teacher, a temporary loss of command over a subject area that appears to many as the prime source of a teachers authority. This sort of addendum to curricular guidelines issued by a government agency is something new. Consider two tables of suggested questions, excerpts from the Rahmenplan (curricular guideline), to see what kind of questions are injected into the process of instruction: Living in Europe and in the World x How are people of various background different from each other, and what is the same about all people? x People living lives so different in kind from each other: Is that a good thing or not? x Would you like to change places with a child who lives in another country, in order to live that childs life in that other country? x If you would have lived in another country, would you still be the same person who you are right now, or would you be somebody else? Would your thoughts and your feelings still be the same? x Is there one center of the world, and where is it?

In Pursuit of Intellectual Honesty with Children


Nature x What is fire? x What makes plants and animals different from people? x What can plants do that people cannot, and what can people do that plants cannot, and what can animals do, that people cannot do, and what can people do that animals cannot do? x Just how does the world look like for a bat? x What is nature? Are people part of nature? x Is nature to people more like an enemy or more like a friend? x Can we learn from nature what is good and right to do, and how we should live our lives? x Do plants have feelings? What is the function of such questions in the context of instruction? The guidelines commentary provides a rationale that may be summed up by an enumeration of aspects. The purpose of these questions and the ensuing talks among pupils is: x to encourage pupils to cultivate a questioning attitude, which seeks to integrate particular phenomena into the context of their wider experience in such a way that a consistent view may emerge; x to slow down the speed of transmission of undigested subject matter or data by providing a forum for students to air their ideas and emotions about the topic at hand, bringing in aspects that were marginalized or otherwise overlooked in the process of instruction; x to provide another dimension of depth to the data transmitted by teaching: an investigation into layers of meaning that appear barely accessible from a superficial point of view, added to the lateral extension of topics; and a personal dimension that encompasses both cognitive and affective elements which is admitted as legitimate portions into the process of instruction; x to help connect various different aspects and to clarify the incommensurability of some of them. What is the moon? Is she, above all, a subject of adoration, described by poets and depicted by artists such as Hokusai or Caspar David Friedrich, or is it rather a sphere whose mass is determined exactly by calculations based on physics, the sandy and rocky world that the astronauts found? If the data given from different fields of study form patterns of their own to the point where they are becoming mutually exclusive, how do we manage to make sense of these contradictions? By keeping them separate and talking about different moons, or by trying to weave some pattern as it were into a one-moon-rug?


HELMUT SCHREIER AND KERSTIN MICHALIK x To promote the idea that the worlds problems are not yet resolved, as would be suggested by the encyclopaedic fallacy which often is promoted through the processes of instruction and of testing students accomplishments at school: The idea that everything that exists is somehow already understood by its representation as an entrance in the encyclopaedia. It is assumed, thereby, that one would simply have to learn about given solutions to given problems and to riddles resolved by others a long time ago. Problems, however, have a way of cropping up as something entirely new in each new situation. By suggesting, that there is nothing new to be found out, the knowledge dispensed at school not only trivializes students by challenging only those capacities serving the end of repetition,, and by misrepresenting reality, which in human experience simply is not made up of things known, but rather of challenges that one needs to cope with, and of problems that need to be overcome. 2. Childrens Philosophy in Germany

It is interesting to note that the Hamburg initiative is not a singular instance, a freak accident among guidelines issued by education authorities. Rather, it is indicative of a certain trend in curriculum design and might well be a harbinger of things to come for Germany. Examples of analogous attempts to include philosophical discourse in the curriculum abound in some of the other German states. Most of them result from a provision made in the German constitution, 3, stating that religious instruction will be provided at schools. This mandate has run into a squeeze, as it were. Teachers in the former German Democratic Republic (the East German state) typically were themselves educated as atheists; even with all the changes brought about since reunification, the vast majority of the teaching force there still remains alienated from the Protestant and Catholic churches. In order to ensure at least some measure of implementability of the constitutions mandate, it has been argued that ethics might be substituted for religious instruction, and in some states (Sachsen, SachsenAnhalt), Ethik as a subject in its own right was injected into the syllabus, including that of the Grundschule. In Brandenburg, an attempt was made in the early 1990s to merge together Life Skills, Ethics, and Learning about Religion to form one multifaceted new subject. The Catholic and Protestant churches protested and intervened, but while the legality of the approach is negotiated in an ongoing process between parties and in court, the new subject is in fact taught at the schools of Brandenburg. In East Germanys northernmost state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Philosophie is an independent subject in the syllabus from grade 1 on. As for the eleven states of the original Federal Republic, the situation is not marked by an atheist tradition, yet there is a growing inclination among

In Pursuit of Intellectual Honesty with Children


West-Germans to seek alternative ways and venues to exercise spirituality. This has an eroding or an enriching effect on traditional religious instruction, depending upon ones viewpoint. Gordon Mitchells chapter in this volume provides an enlightening example of this phenomenon. The number of people remitting church membership is growing in Germany; this tendency is reflected both within the teacher and student populations of schools. Some representatives of the churches themselves accept the idea of an extension of the spiritual beyond the denominational. The curricula for religious instruction developed by the Christian churches, as well as the textbooks whose use they recommend or prescribe, are full of examples of noncontroversial topics covering non-dogmatic issues of a generic kind such as Friendship. There occurs a watering-down of content specific to the particularities of any singular denomination, which in effect blurs the distinction between religious instruction and ethical discourse. The influx of Muslim immigrants exerts additional pressure to complicate the implementation of the constitutions mandate to provide religious instruction. Since these people concentrate in cities, the student population of public schools in urban areas will often include as many children of Muslim as of Christian heritage. The result is the widespread if unspoken acceptance of an inclination to compare content and consequences of different belief-systems: a kind of comparative religious study that appears as an extension of philosophy. Thus, ironically, the erstwhile attempt to ascertain a foothold for Christian churches in the education system via the constitution has turned out as a facilitating factor in the progressive erosion of dogmatic belief. The Hamburg example has to be seen against this backdrop. To be sure, it is unheard of even in the context just sketched, since it does not deal with the spiritual-ethical distinction, but with philosophical aspects of the sciences and social studies. And yet, without the years spent by the educational community on discourse about the role of philosophy and ethics in the school curriculum, without the resulting perception of the importance of philosophizing with children among educators, the addendum to the new Hamburg curriculum could not have happened. It is useful to add, at this point, an observation about some peculiarities of the situation of childrens philosophy in Germany. The idea of doing philosophy with children caught on early; the first of Lipmans novellas, Harry Stottlemeyers Discovery, was published in German translation by Schroedel Verlag, one of the countrys leading schoolbook publishing houses, as early as 1980.2 The editor of that translation, Ekkehard Martens, one of Germanys recognized specialists in the field of didactics of philosophy, has pointed out in his work Philosophizing With Children the longstanding German pedagogical tradition of involving children in discussions on questions of a philosophical nature.3 Also, the philosopher Walter Benjamin worked as a scriptwriter for a radio show for children in the 1920s in Berlin, investigating questions



such as Witches on Trial that might stimulate a childs curiosity. In spite of this tradition, and notwithstanding the availability of materials and access to methods, there was little direct application of these tools in Germanys schools during the 1980s and early 1990s. While the approach of Philosophy for Children caught on worldwide, and the movement was spreading across many areas of the world of education, Germany remained aloof. Germanys abstinence, however, was not without exceptions. Some experimenting was going on in schools and in small groups outside of schools, and many written materials were produced. The role of trailblazer might be attributed to Gareth Matthews, a philosopher at Amherst College, whose books were all translated into German and became highly influential within the discourse of the growing number of Kinderphilosophen, or Childrens Philosophers.4 While there is no one organization or governing agency to steer the projects development and implementation in the country, there exist a host of independent associations and projects. The robust state of acceptance of childrens philosophy in educational discourse is indicated by the fact that from the late 1980s on, six different doctoral theses have dealt with aspects of childrens philosophy at the University of Hamburg alone. One common denominator among the prominent arguments in the German discourse is a preference for the term Philosophieren mit Kindern (philosophizing with children) rather than the alternative termonologies of Kinderphilosophie (childrens philosophy), or Philosophie fr Kinder (philosophy for children) which are frequently used in international discourse. Philosophizing with children has connotations of (1) actively doing or involving oneself with childrens ideas (instead of dealing with a given body of concepts and methods called philosophy) and (2) engaging in an enterprise of developing philosophy as an ongoing project (instead of dispensing philosophical wisdom taken from the storehouse of philosophy that is less accessible to some than to others). These two aspects are important for the German projects objective. Another result of the German project is the establishment of a sort of informal canon of topics from various sources that meanwhile has been distilled by practitioners. Certain topics have become staples in the unsystematic yet continuous exercise of doing philosophy with children at school, such as the question of the mortality of apples, taken from Phil Cams collection of philosophical short stories that was translated into German,5 the question of the possible happiness of plants, taken from Gareth Matthews accounts of philosophizing with a group of children in Edinburgh,6 and the question, if parents have a right to tell their children a lie, as in the case of Kathys hamsters death, do they also have the right to secretly substitute a live hamster for the dead one? (from a collection of philosophical short stories by Helmut Schreier7).

In Pursuit of Intellectual Honesty with Children


Arguably, the crux of Germanys peculiar resistance to the internationally promoted brand of philosophy for children is neither with the idea itself, nor is it with the concepts and materials provided. There is, however, a suspicion of the methods put to use. For example, most educators think that the idea of a community of inquirers is quite intriguing, and one of the most attractive concepts in Lipmans writings, as numerous talks have revealed. What they feel to be limiting is Lipmans strict adherence to Aristotelian logic in his novellas, especially in Harry; and what makes them turn away is the design of exercises in the accompanying teachers manuals, especially the predominance of a dialogue style resembling that of the cross-examination characteristic of courtrooms. This appears to run counter to the spirit of encouragement that many consider to be the first requisite for engaging children in talks where they may openly and spontaneously speak their minds. It should come as no surprise, then, that the upshot of all the deliberating and experimenting is the eventual development of a repertory of approaches and methods deemed to be more in line with the favoured view. In order to facilitate the development of methods that go beyond forms of dialogue to include expressive forms as in art or liturgy, Suzanne Langers distinction of the discoursive and the presentative ways of symbolization has become quite popular among German Kinderphilosophen. Perhaps it is best to illustrate these developments by brief descriptions of some of the approaches that have become popular. In one approach, the Blitzlicht (flashlight) exercise, each child is asked to respond to a question one by one quickly with a statement of not more than one sentence. You have just landed on the shores of an island unknown. What is your first thought? Responses can be jotted down and used for comparison with a renewed round of statements made after discussion. Another approach is the Text-Theater (theater of words), which attempts to transform meaning into a sort of sculpture. A brief explanation through an illustration: A story in a childrens book is presented: frog and mouse find a blackbird lying still on the ground; jackrabbit explains that bird is dead and needs to be buried; frog and mouse dig a hole in the ground, put the bird in, heap dirt on it, and silently go their ways. The children are asked to imagine frog at the moment that bird is put in the ground: What do you think? Responses are repeated for memorizations sake. The whole group stands up in choir formation and is directed first by teacher, then by students. The director points at a pupil, and that one simply repeats her statement. By pointing at a series of pupils, a sequence of statements may be generated and changed around, so that different shades of meaning are revealed: I am scared; What happens after death?; I dont want to die!; It must be cold in the ground. Repetition of statements is used as a technique to accentuate and emphasize viewpoints. Next, one child is invited to be frog. Seated on a chair with her back to the choir, she carefully listens to every statement made and arranges



them so that the one which is closest to her own feelings is lined up directly behind her, while those that are farthest from her own state of mind are also farthest away from her chair. Thus, a closeness is made visible and audible, not unlike a hierarchy or a map or a sculpture. In a watered-down version of the main formula for doing philosophy with children, a collection of objects or a story are presented. The children are asked to generate questions, the questions are jotted down, one of the questions is chosen by the group, and a dialogue begins with the teacher refraining from voicing her own view of the topic. This common method is, of course, similar to the one used most often the world over. In our own seminars teacher education at the University of Hamburg we are trying to break through widespread authoritarian teaching habits by addressing the necessity of a change of attitude in the context of practicing this particular approach. We attempt to promote a view of the community of inquiry that opens our student teachers minds to the following possibilities: (1) The unfolding of aspects and layers of a problem through contributions from various pupils might provide a wealth of meaning and depth surpassing anything that one single person with all her knowledge may have had to say. (2) The dynamics of a dialogue with arguments going back and forth between participants might serve as a means to elevate first statements that were quickly made to better informed and more qualified views that take into account various differing perspectives. There may be no better way of appreciating the mental Gestalt of individuals present. (3) The combined wisdom that is represented through a successful dialogue might transcend the wisdom of any single participant, student and teacher alike.8 3. Democracy, Education, Philosophy, and the Method of Inquiry: Aspects of a Deweyan Foundation to Philosophizing with Children Among philosophers, John Dewey appears to most encourage the enterprise of promoting intelligence as a tool applied to subjects taught at school that we have just described. To be sure, Dewey has never addressed what we label philosophizing with children directly; yet, it is his name that first comes to mind of Kinderphilosophen like us when we are looking for an ally among dignities in the philosophers tower. Perhaps that is so mainly because Dewey never was an exclusive member in that one club. Just as he taught during his time in New York as professor both at Columbia University and at Columbias Teachers College, he blurred the distinction between philosophy and education in his writings. His dictum, that philosophy is education in its most general phase, opens the door for the vision of one continuous project, facilitating access to educators, and admitting children in a more convincing gesture of invitation than any other statement of sympathy for children and their inclination to think like philosophers could have achieved.

In Pursuit of Intellectual Honesty with Children A. Philosophy as a Phase of Education


Some philosophers have pointed to the connectedness of philosophy and education. Among the most dramatic examples is Richard Rorty in the concluding chapter of Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature9 entitled Philosophy without Mirrors. Rorty develops the only positive role for philosophy left after the disillusioning exercise he has just completed, a deconstruction of philosophical concepts throughout history, not unlike Deweys great polemic The Quest for Certainty. Taking a hint from the German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer, Rorty finds justification for philosophys project in Bildung, edification, the elevation of an individuals intellectual relationship with experience or language. Doing philosophy thus gives pleasure, the pleasure of personal intellectual growth. Deweys idea of the connection between philosophy and education is characteristically different. Instead of Bildung as a form of personal elevation, his education is a tool for improving democracy and, in the end, the circumstances of human life. Dewey focuses upon schools as societys means for the systematic promotion of education in order to meet democracys need for an educated public a use for schools that is of little interest to Rorty who focuses upon the individuals pursuit of Bildung or edification. For Dewey, the education provided by schools with their systematic approach to teaching and learning is not an end in itself, but rather an instrument to facilitate the process of democratization. Dewey is in accord with Thomas Jefferson, who likewise believed that education was necessary for the masses to participate in decision-making processes and share with the powers of state, and in disaccord with both the conservative groups who believe in a feudal state of government and the Jacksonian view that no education is necessary for the masses to participate in the decision-making processes of power. But Dewey went further than Jefferson: democracy to him is not an end in itself, but even in its participatory application the chief means to transform society in such a way that the best possible contributions to the process of improving humankinds lot by any individual person are facilitated. It is Deweys vision that provides a foundation for the enterprise of philosophizing with children. Both pedagogic legitimation and a compass to steer by may be found here, to paraphrase Deweys metaphor for the usefulness of theory as a lamp for the eyes and a light for the feet of practitioners. The uniqueness of Deweys position is his priorization of education over philosophy. He gives his philosophers blessing to the anchorage of our projects ship in the harbour of education. B. Philosophy as a Subject of its Own or a Tool by some other Name? One consequence of educations priority to philosophy concerns the way in which philosophy can provide great leverage in the context of instruction. The



disciplines best use is not the establishment of a subject area to teach children about great ideas brought forth in the course of the history of thought or such, but the instrumentalization of philosophical concepts and methods in order to improve the relevancy of instruction to meet students interests. Philosophers who seek to establish philosophy as an independent subject in the curriculum to be taught at elementary schools will have to look for another patron saint than Dewey. It is no coincidence that in both German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where Philosophie is a subject of its own from grade 1, and of Schleswig-Holstein, where it is a subject from grade 5 on, Immanuel Kant was chosen to provide structure to the curriculum. The four questions which Kant held to be of immediate concern for most people are used to stake out philosophys claim. x What can I know? (corresponding to epistemology) x What must I do? (corresponding to ethics, especially to the deontic type of Kants) x What may I hope for? (corresponding to metaphysics, with a link to religious studies) x What is man? (Was ist der Mensch? In Kants view, humanity is a fixed entity. Jerome Bruner in his 1970 curriculum, Man - A Course of Study, used a similar question with a characteristically different twist for the backbone of his project: What makes human beings human, and what can be done to make them more so? What Bruner identifies as a process, is according to Kant a fixed idea, something always already given). There is an elegance in selecting four essential questions of Kant for structuring the curriculum of teaching philosophy. However, there is a certain bias there, as well. The very way in which these albeit brief questions are articulated seems to favour a view of things as fixed and static and not as an open-end process, e.g. Was ist der Mensch? and a dutibound idea of ethics What must I do? as opposed to, say the search for virtue in an Aristotelian sense (What makes a good life?). Of even more basic concern is another issue, going deeper than organizing the curriculum, which surfaces when dealing with the question Should philosophy be taught as a subject of its own, or should it rather be included as a principle to investigate other subjects matters? It is a question of basic philosophical and educational impact which is revealed by rephrasing it thus: Should philosophy be taught in a way similar to other subjects names, dates, concepts to be memorized and identified by students faced with multiple choice tables or should it be applied as an instrument for investigation of meaning and applicability?

In Pursuit of Intellectual Honesty with Children


In discourse among German Kinderphilosophen, this question sometimes takes another shape, and maybe discussed in a slightly belligerent tone: How can topics that arise out of the context of instructional subject matter or, worse yet, out of the context of daily experience, rightly be called philosophical? How can conversations ensuing from such questions be compared to real philosophical dialogue? Sometimes, the real way of doing philosophy is hinted at by such words as rigorous (as opposed to mere coffeehouse conversation). These discussions typically result from a view of philosophy as a discipline, represented by a noun, rather than as a way of questioning and thinking as represented by a verb such as philosophizing. Only that which can be demonstrated to be linked to the discipline of philosophy, or so the reasoning goes, will be considered legitimate. Is our way of adding thoughtful discussions to instruction different from philosophy, the illegitimate child of some wild thought falsely named phil.? In order to circumnavigate discussions that might lead to an unpleasant administration of arbitrary standards for constituting the discipline, in 1999 we suggested the term nachdenken (thinking intensely or thinking critically) instead of philosophieren (philosophizing).10 Certainly no one could object to thinking without license. Dont people have a license to think issued to them at birth? By leaving the definition of what constitutes philosophizing to some ordained or self-ordained philosopher-arbiters, we would do a disservice to philosophy, or so we think. Dewey reminds us in his writings that philosophers should concern themselves not with the problems of philosophy, but with the problems of people. In the passage from The Quest for Certainty quoted as a motto at the start of this chapter, we found in intellectual honesty a definition that was wide enough to accommodate our unlicensed philosophizing. The question What name? thus mirrors the question subject of its own or principled approach? Together, these curricular concerns form a sort of shibboleth, a password to distinguish the Deweyan view from the rest. C. Scientific Inquiry According to Dewey, the method of scientific inquiry should be extended to the study of social life and applied in that context in order to bring about desirable changes. Philosophy, education, and democracy are words to describe phases of experience which all share in the enterprise of planned investigation, of experimentation and inquiry as developed by science. The scientific method provides the model; in its generic, all-applicable form, science is therefore at the heart of the matter of all instruction. Consequently, elementary science and elementary social studies form key elements of a curriculum that seeks to promote Deweys philosophy of education. While there is content of philosophical impact represented by fields



such as language and mathematics, the area of science is of paramount interest in an application of Deweyan principles to philosophizing with children. At the same time, the field of elementary science poses a special challenge to educators: To help construct the universe in childrens minds in such a way that the role of the experimental is revealed as the chief tool for improvement of conditions anywhere. The applicability of the scientific model of inquiry to all walks of life presupposes the active role of humans vis vis a reality that is never a given but always a sort of partner in the continuous process of interaction. These are tenets of Deweys view, and the most important elements of his message. Fundamental is his belief that we are not spectators of a given reality, but participants in an ongoing process of its emergence. This view, while not entirely alien to the philosophy of science, appears nevertheless somewhat missing from the image of science presented in science textbooks, at least in Germany. These tend to promote the Cartesian view instead a world divided into a res extensa that is the object of scientific investigation, and the res cogitans very much like a spectator who tries to make some sense out of the data transmitted by his senses. Against this tradition, a reconstruction of the teaching of science is called for, one that serves to promote the participatory approach to knowledge instead of the spectator theory of knowledge, to bring out the method of inquiry as the basic tool of the enterprise of science, and to demonstrate the applicability of this method of systematic investigation to all other problems, especially to those of the social life of community. This is quite a challenge to be met, and the education community is far from a design of science education encompassing the requisite connections to other fields. While it would seem almost impossible to rapidly change the process of instruction now established in schools in this country to a kind of problembased-learning, this change appears as a promising first step to establish an area for investigation of meaning, an island of inquiry, as it were, in that sea of traditional instruction. The forum for children to speak their minds ensures a place for the ordinary affairs of life and the problems springing from them. The question of the usefulness of the concept of scientific investigation to everyday experience is always present in these dialogues. D. The Role of Questions Much of the learning that takes place in German elementary schools is organized around questions. Moreover, most tests at school can be described as a string of questions to be answered by students. One facet of the hidden curriculum is the tacit assumption that questions represent the primary way to deal with reality. Dewey, in his essay on The Influence of Darwinism on

In Pursuit of Intellectual Honesty with Children


Philosophy (1909), brings to mind the fact that questions themselves are representative of a moments consideration, likely to be eroded and washed away with the passing of experience: ... the conviction persists though history shows it to be a hallucination that all the questions that the human mind has asked are questions that can be answered in terms of the alternatives that the questions themselves present. But in fact intellectual progress usually occurs through sheer abandonment of questions together with both of the alternatives they assume an abandonment that results from their decreasing vitality and a change of urgent interest. We do not solve them: we get over them. Old questions are solved by disappearing, evaporating, while new questions corresponding to the changed attitude of endeavor and preference take their place.11 Deweys reminder is particularly appropriate in the context of instruction. As an antidote to questions presenting alternatives for an answer, the questions that are recommended as starting points or prompts aim for a discussion of the childrens own experience. This is more like the unfolding of different aspects or facets in an ongoing process than the concluding motion of one right answer. It is easy to picture the phase of instruction that deals with the philosophical aspects of a topic as therapy for the illusory assumption of the reign of questions (and the right answers) over reality.

1. John Dewey, The Quest for Certainty (New York: Minton, Balch and Co., 1929), p. 68. 2. Matthew Lipman, Harry Stottlemeyers Entdeckung (Hannover: Schroedel, 1980). 3. Ekkehard Martens, Philosophieren mit Kindern (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1999). 4. Gareth Matthews, The Philosophy of Childhood (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1994). This work is one example of his books that were translated into German; in addition, Matthews, who has a perfect command of German, has published a number of articles in German magazines. 5. Philip Cam, Thinking Stories. Philosophical Inquiry for Children (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1993). 6. Gareth Matthews, Philosophische Gesprche mit Kindern (Berlin: Freese Verlag, 1989). 7. Helmut Schreier, Himmel, Erde und ich. Geschichten zum Nachdenken ber den Sinn des Lebens, den Wert der Dinge und die Erkenntnis der Welt (Heinsberg: Agentur Dieck, 1993).



8. There is one personal hope that we attach to the project of cultivating free and open discussions of a philosophical nature in elementary schools of this city: The promotion of the capability to speak for oneself among German schoolchildren. In an investigation in 1995, Ron Reed of Texas Wesleyan University and Helmut Schreier compared a sample of elementary school classes practising childrens philosophy in Hamburg, Germany, and in Ft. Worth, Texas. We included schools from different neighborhoods and found the same cultural difference to prevail at all levels between the two cities. American children were consistently more verbose, rhetorically more skilful, more strongly focused on the topic at hand, with a wider command of vocabulary, at least in their active capacities. While the observation might be explained by the Americans longer exposure to doing philosophy in their classrooms, both investigators shared a suspicion that there were cultural differences of a more basic kind at work. The German school system is strictly selective, with three distinct types of school which correspond, of course, mainly to parents income levels via students performance. The point of break up is between grades 4 and 5, and the caste-like social reality represented by the three-tier system exerts an influence on the atmosphere of elementary schools. Some neighborhoods children may move from grade 4 to grade 5 into a Gymnasium almost as an entire group, while those in others will wind up at the Hauptschule, a euphemism for the type of school for children with little success and parents with meager incomes, or at the equivalent courses of a Gesamtschule, which makes little difference for all that matters. Somehow, students abilities to speak their minds freely seem to be affected by this arrangement. Losers tend to express themselves physically rather than through words, but even winners, those who will go on to the Gymnasium, seem to be muted by their continuous effort to find out what teacher wants to hear before speaking themselves. The expectation of a liberating effect through the systematic cultivation of discussions that have no immediate bearing on grades and on the selection process is shared by those who wish for the promotion of democracy in its participatory mode even within a less than democratic school system. 9. Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979). 10. Helmut Schreier, ed., Nachdenken mit Kindern (Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt, 1999). 11. John Dewey, The Middle Works, vol. 4, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University, 1977), p. 14.



Matthew Lipman

1. After having been inducted into the Army in 1943, I spent my first year at Stanford University, in California. At the end of the spring semester, in May 1944, I was sent to rejoin the military at its encampment in the mountains of central California. Before leaving Stanford, however, I was invited to share a cup of coffee with my Professor of English, Carl Thomas. He was aware that I knew virtually nothing of philosophy, and so, as a going-away present, he gave me two paper-back books by a philosophy professor named Irwin Edman, of Columbia University. They were largely about a philosopher named John Dewey who had taught at Columbia for many years. I gathered that Dewey had emphasized practicality or, in any case, the interdependence of theory and practice. This seemed to me from my vantage point as a private in the infantry, a very practical position to take, so I put away all thought of becoming an engineer, and planned to enroll instead, after the war, at Columbia. I would concentrate upon the study of philosophy. In particular, I would study John Deweys philosophy. I was dimly conscious of a pressing need to examine this mysterious discipline that had remained hidden from me until I had finished my first year of college. What career choice would be more practical? There I was, then, spending the summer in the very shadow of Mt. Junipero Serra, in the Coast Ranges, but hitchhiking to Los Angeles, perhaps some 400 miles away, on the weekends. Once in L.A., I would frequent the bookstores in search of works by Mr. Dewey, and was quite frustrated at first not to find any. But then I ran across an anthology of Deweys writings that had been published just five years previously, and bearing the portentous title, Intelligence in the Modern World. It was said to have been edited by a Joseph Ratner, but I wanted to believe that Dewey himself had had a hand in the choice of the books components and in their organization. (Ive since heard that this was indeed the case). It was to be my last weekend pass to Los Angeles, because the entire 71st Infantry Division would be moving to Fort Benning, Georgia that coming Tuesday, in preparation for being sent into combat in the Bulge in Europe. (Earlier we had been told that we were being prepared for participation in a



mountain/jungle invasion of Burma.) No matter; I was extremely eager to start reading the book, so I decided to take the bus back to the encampment instead of hitch-hiking. And indeed, despite some distractions aboard the bus, I did manage to struggle through the books first chapter and a half. Deweys style of writing philosophy, I realized didnt make for easy reading. I wondered if all philosophy were like this. Then I reminded myself that Edman was a philosopher, and he wrote clearly, so maybe the problem lay with Dewey. Something else troubled me. Id been on the alert for anything Dewey might say about practicality, and suddenly I thought Id found a discrepancy. In the very first chapter, Philosophy and the Education of Man, taken from his book, Philosophy and Civilization, he had this to say: If we are really, for instance, a materialistic people, we are at least materialistic in a new fashion and on a new scale. I should welcome then a consistent materialistic philosophy, if only it were sufficiently bold, and, in spite of any attendant aesthetic repulsiveness, in the degree in which it marked the coming to consciousness of a group of ideas, it would formulate a coming to self-consciousness of our civilization. Thereby it would furnish ideas, supply an intellectual polity, direct further observations and experiments and organize their results on a grand scale.1 This passage is cited from a paragraph in which Dewey is talking about his understanding of the nature of philosophy. I understood it as a plea to interpret philosophy as plain-and-simple practice or, as a clustering together of congenial ideas, or at the very least, as one part of a theory/practice relationship. But then I read on, finishing the first selection in the book and going well into the second, when I ran into this passage: If we are willing to conceive education as the process of forming fundamental dispositions, intellectual and emotional, toward nature and fellow men, philosophy may even be defined as the general theory of education.2 (Italics his) I stared skeptically at the passage. How could Dewey, the champion of practicality, define philosophy as altogether theoretical? He assigned a practical function to education. Why couldnt he have assigned a practical function to philosophy? The book containing that peculiar definition had been published originally in 1916. The anthology I was trying to read had been published in 1939. If the definition was an error, surely he had time enough to correct it! In the years that passed since that bus trip in California, I never encountered a retraction by Dewey of that definition, although several protests have been lodged against it, if Im not mistaken. Indeed, since Dewey seldom

Philosophy for Childrens Debt to Dewey


used italics to underscore what he was saying, I figured he must have assigned a very special importance to the definition, one which I was unable to understand. I concluded that the incoherence I thought I saw in Dewey was merely the result of my own ignorance. I could not believe that his failure to find a practical role for philosophy was a problem that not even he himself could resolve. 2. When I returned from Europe, in 1946, I promptly registered in Columbias University Undergraduates program, designed especially for those like myself whose studies had been interrupted by the war. (Its name was subsequently changed to School of General Studies.) When I obtained my bachelors degree, I simply continued for another two years, so that, by the spring of 1950, I was able to defend my doctoral dissertation, which Id entitled Problems of Art Inquiry, and which was, predictably, Deweyan in inspiration and approach. Part philosophy of art and part aesthetics, it attempted to pick up in those places where Dewey had left off, endeavoring always to strengthen the Deweyan approach.3 The apparent inconsistency between theory and practice was never mentioned because I hadnt a clue as to how to resolve it. Nevertheless, there were numerous themes which Dewey introduced, particularly in his very late works, that could have used a much more ample treatment then he gave them. Some of these were to appear in the metaphysics of Justus Buchler, whose approach in philosophy I greatly admired. However, Buchlers systematic works did not begin to come out until 1951,4 while my doctoral defense had already taken place a year earlier. When Buchlers work did begin to emerge, my response was to greet it warmly and, rather than combing it for weaknesses, to make common cause with it. Likewise with Dewey: when I discovered aspects of his philosophy that he had treated too lightly, even superficially, but were important nevertheless, my inclination was to try to develop the arguments in support of them, and thereby strengthen them. It is common knowledge that throughout his long life, Dewey was aiming at the development of a Theory of Inquiry, of which the treatment in the Logic: The Theory of Inquiry,5 one of his very late works, was to be only the beginning. Much of it, naturally, would be based on Charles Peirce, or perhaps it would be better to say that the kernel of it came from Peirce. This was the notion that inquiry began with the failure of one of our key beliefs and ceased when that belief had been repaired or replaced. We were alerted to the realization that one of our beliefs wasnt working by the onset of doubt. It was doubt that caused us to reflect, to inquire. It was doubt that compelled our attitude to switch from an uncritical one to a critical one. It was doubt that forced us to begin thinking imaginatively, creatively, productively, so as to



come up with a hypothesis of what could be done to make our doubt subside. Eventually, with the cessation of doubt, we could relax, secure in the knowledge that our underlying beliefs were once again working well, and were carrying the weight we imposed on them. As Dewey fleshed out the Peircean paradigm of inquiry, he portrayed us as moving dialectically from a secure pre-reflective situation, thence to an insecure reflective situation, and finally to a new and secure post-reflective situation. One of the most important keys to the Deweyan formulation was therefore the notion of situation, a notion that, superficially at least, appeared innocent and harmless. But many of the squabbles that arose between Dewey and his detractors was this very notion. What, indeed, was a situation? How did it function (if it functioned at all)? Apparently Dewey thought he could use the notion of quality, derived presumably from Peirces Firstness, as the glue that would hold all the parts of a situation together. However, he couldnt use the fairly obsolete notions of primary and secondary qualities which he had inherited from the seventeenth and eighteenth century philosophical tradition, so he proposed instead the concept of tertiary quality, which he ascribed to Bernard Bosanquet and possibly also to George Santayana. These were qualities that were not localized. Instead, they were to be understood as diffuse and pervasive, so that situations began where their tertiary qualities began and left off where their tertiary qualities left off. Qualities represented the moral or aesthetic character of a situation, often expressible through an adjective or an adverb, such as dismal or friendly or sad or graceful. (There was more than an echo of Hegel in these spirited psychological terms.) As Dewey explained in the Logic, it would be the tertiary quality of a situation that would guide the inquiry satisfactorily or unsatisfactorily. More than that he didnt deem fit to tell us. As a result, the theory of situations was left hanging on the notion of tertiary qualities, much as the theory of inquiry was left hanging on the theory of situations. It was a precarious conceptual architecture, and I thought I would do what I could to stabilize it. Sometime around 1948, therefore I wrote a paper, Tertiary Qualities, which was to serve as the centerpiece of my dissertation. It pressed into service conceptions drawn from Gestalt psychology, British philosophical idealism, and French aesthetics, using them to develop a theory of metaphor based on tertiary qualities. It claimed to be able to distinguish four different types of such qualities: physiognomic,6 transensory, dimensional,7 and introjectory. At the suggestion of Lyle Eddy, another graduate student and one who was already in touch with Dewey, I sent Dewey a copy of the paper. Some weeks later, it was returned with a postcard saying simply, I liked it! I was exuberant, and so was Lyle. He asked me if I would like to visit Dewey, and of course I accepted the unexpected invitation enthusiastically.

Philosophy for Childrens Debt to Dewey


I have elsewhere described that visit and the correspondence with Dewey that followed it. There was little or no further discussion of the dissertation or of Chapter Three, but I felt confident that Dewey understood what I was trying to say and do. I went off to Paris on a Fulbright, and Dewey died before I returned. While in Europe I rewrote the dissertation so as to make it more suitable for publication. That didnt occur, however, until 1967,8 by which time I was a professor of philosophy at Columbia. Two more years went by, and Id been thinking more and more about education. Not that I thought explicitly about the apparent inconsistency in Deweys formulation of the relationship between philosophy and education. On the other hand, it never wholly left my mind. It continued to lurk somewhere in the background. Finding the solution to the problem would be my lifes work. 3. At the beginning of the 1960s, whenever I reflected upon or discussed the educational situation in the United States, Id think of it as in many ways a troubled one, although I did not foresee the explosiveness that was building throughout the decade and which came to a head towards the end of that period, as typified by the Columbia riots. Rereading Deweys writings on education, I found them still illuminating, although he had begun to put some distance between them and himself when he realized how he had been misunderstood and misinterpreted by the progressive education movement. He needed to be able to cite a model of inquiry-based education, and the model he chose (predictably, given the wars he had been through in the nineteenth century between the classicists and the scientists) was the model of science education. Science was the ideal that came to his mind when he thought of inquiry, and it would be science that would furnish ideas, supply an intellectual polity, direct further observations and experiments and organize their results on a grand scale. Such tasks were not characteristic of philosophy: they were much more like what scientists did. If the schools taught children to do science-based inquiry, he seemed to be saying, there would be no dichotomy between educational theory and educational practice. What about philosophy? Could it do this sort of thing? When Dewey tried imagining philosophy in the role of practice he must have had to shake his head decisively. There was no way he could imagine the philosophers of education with whom he was familiar engaging in the experimentation and the organization of nuts and bolts observations that he deemed essential to the future of education. He was thoroughly familiar with the philosophers of education of his day, and he could see that they had relatively little interest in establishing a reciprocal theory/practice relationship with the schools. Their great love was philosophy in the abstract, as it dealt with highly theoretical



themes relating to education. Many of the major philosophers had dealt with these themes, and little had changed since then. The eminent philosophers preferred to distance themselves from the classrooms, whose walls were decorated with primitive drawings and whose tiny inhabitants seemed always to have sticky fingers and runny noses. No, the philosophers of education, Dewey must have concluded, neither would nor could involve their beautiful discipline in the noisy turmoil of the schools. The science educators, on the other hand, he must have thought, knew exactly what was needed. And so, what of philosophy? What could Dewey tell us about how it was to be employed? Dewey minced no words, when he said that philosophy would be the general theory of education. He meant that it was to be the exception to the rule. In every other discipline there had to be an interpenetration of theory and practice, but in the case of philosophy, not so. Philosophy, like Victorian womanhood, was to be put upon a pedestal, where it could receive 360 degrees of respect, but where it would be fully set apart from educational practice. Nowhere in his writings does he refer to the practical use of philosophy in education. It was for him, I believe, unthinkable. Although when Dewey died, in 1952, he left behind him no samples of philosophical curricula, no specific examples of how philosophy could serve as an essential subject-area in the elementary schools, he did bequeath to us something perhaps just as valuable: a set of criteria by means of which we might be able to tell whether our efforts to follow his grand design were on target or misguided. In other words, implicit in his writings are pedagogical guidelines which would be applicable to any curriculum, even to those that had not yet been invented, like educational philosophy (i.e., philosophy functioning educationally, like Philosophy for Children, not to be confused with the philosophy of education). It is possible to arrange these criteria in two columns, the first of which lists the pedagogical criteria upon which Dewey insists, and the second of which lists the substantive criteria upon which Philosophy for Children insists: Deweys Pedagogical Criteria Philosophy for Childrens Substantive Considerations 1. Philosophy has a hand in the construction of all theory, including that of education. Specifically, the practice of philosophy is the methodology of education.

1. Logic, philosophy and education are species of inquiry. Logic is the theory of inquiry, and philosophy is the theory of education.

Philosophy for Childrens Debt to Dewey 2. It is imperative that education involve students directly with the problematicity of whatever subject matter they are attempting to study. To deal directly with that problematicity is to think.


2. There is a great deal more to the instigation and fostering of thinking than just having minds encounter problems. There needs to be a teacher, a pedagogy, a community of inquiry and a curriculum. The curriculum, in turn, needs to consist of specially prepared texts (such as stories imbued with philosophical distinctions, reasonings, and concepts). 3. Nowhere is this Deweyan point more telling than in the case of doing philosophy. As discussion proceeds, it moves more and more in the direction of language-based inquiry and deliberative dialogue. Children need to be able to detect philosophical ideas and reasonings that lie concealed within ordinary discourse. 4. There is no better illustration of the difference between the Deweyan position, standing alone but including this paradigm as central to the theory of education, in constrast with the Dewey + philosophy position, in which this paradigm is at the heart of the methodology of education. The curriculum utlizes the paradigm of inquiry so that the students are able to absorb it as centrally involved in their educational inquiry. They are led to absorb it by having it serve as the infrastructure of the curriculum.

3. One of the most colossal blunders in our culture is the assignment to students of refined, polished secondary texts instead of having students encounter the raw, crude subjectmatter of experience directly, so students may develop their own ideas and think for themselves.

4. An outline of the generation of thinking by means of the process of inquiry is as follows: (a) Pre-reflective situation (b) Feelings of difficulty or frustration (c) Diffuse problematicity: doubting of what had been previously taken for granted (d) Doubting becomes questioning (e) Formulation of the problem (f) Hypothesis formation (g) Testing of alternative hypotheses (h) Discovery of counter instances (i) Revisions of hypotheses (j) Application of revised hypotheses to life situations (k) Post-reflective situation 5. The Deweyan picture of education shows students pursuing meanings

5. It is philosophy that provides us with the skills needed to discuss


MATTHEW LIPMAN concepts, inferences, definitions, arguments, reasons, and so on. Philosophy helps children become imaginative, creative and appreciative, caring thinkers, and not just critical, analytical thinkers. 6. Philosophy for Children is taught with the assistance of childrens philosophical novels. These novels make use of stories having an infrastructure which, as the stories unfold, reveal a correspondence to the paradigm of inquiry. The fictional children in the stories can serve as models for the various methods of philosophical inquiry. These emerge in the classroom in the form of thinking styles: empirical, analytic, intuitive, rationalistic, phenomenological, etc. Contrary to traditional philosophy, which finds it difficult to provide illustrations for philosophical ideas, these stories in their entirety serve as ongoing philosophical examples. The ongoing novel offers a particular dramatization of the life of inquiry.

but lacking the philosophical tools needed to analyze those meanings.

6. The Dewyan pedagogy is persistently forward-looking by insisting that postive support be given to the following: (a) emotions, since the enlisting of childrens emotions expedites their engagement in inquiry; (b) sociality, since children are naturally inclined to work together. Their readiness to form a community should be encouraged not repressed; (c) habit-formation, since habits are needed for the development of skills in reasoning, judgment, and other aspects of inquiry; (d) imagination, since childrens reflection and imagination tend to stimulate each other rather than cancel each other out; (e) interest, since childrens quests for meaning are carried forward on a developing wave of interest.

There is no aspect of Deweys pedagogy that is explicitly rejected or that is not reflected in the Philosophy for Children approach to elementary school education. Philosophy for Children is built unapologetically on Deweyan foundations. On the other hand, Deweys approach, through its lack of philosophy in the classroom, experiences much greater difficulty in achieving Deweyan goals. Dewey nowhere discusses the educational use of elementary school philosophy. While I feel certain that had he been able to examine it in action, he would have been delighted with it, this was not a controversy that could be resolved then and there. He might have mentioned it as a possibility and then rejected it, but he doesnt do even that, which leads me to think that the idea of children doing philosophy never even occurred to him. Too bad: his suggestions as to how it could be used would have been invaluable.

Philosophy for Childrens Debt to Dewey NOTES


1. John Dewey, Intelligence in the Modern World: John Deweys Philosophy, ed. Joseph Ratner (New York: Random House, 1939), p. 254. The selection is taken from John Dewey, Philosophy and Civilization (New York: G. P. Putnams Sons, 1931), pp. 1112. 2. Dewey, Intelligence in the Modern World, p. 259. The selection is taken from Dewey, Democracy and Education (New York: Macmillan, 1916). 3. What is called caring thinking is sometimes of this variety endeavoring to strengthen the thinking of another person. See Lipman, Thinking in Education, 2nd edn. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 261270. 4. See Justus Buchler, Toward a General Theory of Human Judgment (New York: Columbia University Press, 1951). 5. John Dewey, Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (New York: Henry Holt, 1938). 6. Physiognomic qualities are features of the environment or situation which resemble qualities of human expression. 7. Dimensional qualities are qualities of space which we experience as qualities of time, and vice versa. 8. Matthew Lipman, Problems of Art Inquiry, published as What Happens in Art (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1967). See chap. 3, Tertiary Qualities, pp. 28 44.


Rosalind Ekman Ladd

1. Introduction Much has changed in the world and in the world of philosophy since John Dewey developed his ideas about philosophy of education. Indeed, much has changed since Matthew Lipman began implementing his Philosophy for Children program, based on his understanding of Deweys critique of the thencurrent practise of philosophy and methods of education. Many of the changes that characterize these two fields would, I think, be welcomed by Dewey. Indeed, there is at present a resurgence of interest in Deweys philosophy, an acknowledgement by at least some contemporary philosophers of the affinity between Deweys methods and what is needed in philosophy today. I confine my remarks here to the field of philosophical ethics, where, arguably, the changes that have taken place over the last few decades may be described as reflective of a Deweyan approach. To be sure, not all new works in ethics reflect this change. There are good philosophers working on metaethics, proposing theories to analyze the nature of morality. There is creative new work in decision theory, which proposes quasi-economic schema to interpret the way we do and should make decisions. The most radical changes in direction, however, come in the attention paid to practical ethics. Not only is the goal to derive normative theories about how to make ethical decisions, but to bring philosophical thinking and reasoning to bear on the practical decisions that must be made in other professional fields. Thus, the development of business ethics and medical ethics, most notably, represent an application of philosophy to fields where the interest among practitioners in theory for its own sake is minimal but the need to make decisions is critical and the ability to defend a decision as right or at least reasonable is essential. This chapter explores the similarities between Deweys philosophy of education, Lipmans Philosophy for Children, and current trends in applied ethics. I conclude by showing that a typical case consultation by a hospital ethics committee is a community of inquiry as Lipman describes it, albeit with the participants being adults and not children. 2. What Dewey Says One of the clearest and most powerful statements Dewey makes about what he



thinks education is comes at the beginning of My Pedagogic Creed. He says, the only true education comes through the stimulation of the childs powers by the demands of the social situations in which he finds himself.1 This places education squarely in the actual practical world, where certain situations make demands on the child and he must respond. Thus, education is a practical activity, requiring response, having to put ideas into practice, and not just entertain ideas for their own sake. The kind of situation which demands a response Dewey calls an indeterminist or problematic one, and this stimulates the process of inquiry which is at the heart of education. Indeterminate situations, he says, are disturbed, troubled, ambiguous, confused, full of conflicting tendencies, obscure, etc.2 Lipman characterizes these situations as a failure of one of our key beliefs, which we are alerted to by the onset of doubt.3 The general steps of inquiry that Dewey lays out can be summarized this way: 1. Recognize that there is a problem. Old beliefs do not fit the new situation. You do not know how you should respond. 2. Formulate the problem, based on the facts of the situation. This sets out the parameters of the thinking and discussion that will lead to a resolution of the problem. 3. Suggest possible solutions. Reason out the likely consequences of adopting the various possible solutions. 4. Formulate a judgment and apply it to the situation. The judgment, which is the result of the inquiry, should constitute a unified determinate whole, which resolves the conflict, confusion, or doubt.4 The judgment, then, settles the question but, it should be emphasized, only until another problematic situation arises which may demand a different response. Although Dewey develops his theory in relation to children, the experience of being faced with problematic situations is not confined to the years of childhood or the duration of formal school education. Education and the process of inquiry it involves is an on-going process that engages adults as well as children. Unless one is extraordinarily close-minded and rigid in ones beliefs, the continual technological, social, political, and economic changes that characterize the modern world challenge individuals and groups almost constantly to be rethinking and re-evaluating beliefs and judgments to accommodate to changing conditions. Dewey recognizes, as we must, that judgments about how to act in the world are evolving. A judgment may be considered true if it leads to the resolution of a problematic situation. It is true if it works in practise, not because it corresponds to some unchanging, Platonic reality. In Deweys words, truth is warranted assertability, i.e. knowledge of the kinds of inquiry that have and have not worked,5 and education must be conceived as a continuing reconstruction of experience.6

Dewey and Lipman


The social situation in which a person finds himself not only presents the occasion for the process of inquiry to begin and the reality to which the resulting judgment is applied, but provides the context in which education takes place. Dewey says, I believe that the school is primarily a social institution.7 Education is a social function, securing direction and development in the immature through their participation in the life of the group to which they belong.8 For the adult, the family and the community provide the context for continuing education. In the ideal family, the progress of one member has worth for the experience of other members.9 Dewey characterizes society as an organic union of individuals10 and the school as a form of community life.11 The democratic ideal involves shared common interests, and a reliance on recognition of mutual interests as a factor in social control.12 In a democracy, an ideal social community, each [individual] has to refer his own action to that of others ... breaking down of those barriers of class, race, and national territory which keep men from perceiving the full import of their activity.13 Changes in social habit, a continuous readjustment through meeting new situations constitute progress, he says.14 3. How Lipman Adapts Dewey In his chapter in this volume, Lipman traces the influence of Dewey on his own development of the Philosophy for Children program. I will mention here only briefly the main elements of his views of education in order to set the stage for my further discussion. First, according to Lipman, the practise of philosophy is the methodology of education. Philosophy, for Dewey, is a species of inquiry. Inquiry is the movement from the recognition of a problematic situation characterized by doubt, conflict of ideas, and confusion to a new judgment or belief system which fits the situation better and thus resolves doubt and uncertainty, at least until a new experience makes us re-examine things again. In the Philosophy for Children paradigm, children encounter new questions in the stories they read. For adults, life itself presents the encounters which require us to begin the process of inquiry. Second, Dewey sees the school as a small society. Lipman sets up a community of inquiry as children in a classroom gather in a circle to read and talk and puzzle things out together. Adults, too, in the family, in their professional life, and in civic community, consult with one another when circumstances change and demand new ways to accommodate the change. In the process of recognizing that there is a problem, seeking and trying out possible solutions, adults exhibit the reflective, creative thinking that Lipman hopes children will develop. In this sense, education is ongoing and, in Lipmans sense, the doing of philosophy is ongoing, as well.



Third, for both Dewey and Lipman, the community of inquiry is more than an aggregate of individuals; it is an organic whole where the interests of the individual and the interests of the group are made to coincide. The democratic ideal is reflected in Lipmans paradigm where every voice should be heard and every opinion taken seriously. One issue that remains unresolved in both Dewey and Lipman is the acknowledgement on the one hand of common interests which lead in the ideal situation to a group decision or at least consensus on a decision, but on the other hand the democratic process of mutual challenge and disagreement, thinking for oneself, which results in some differences which may never be resolved. In the classroom, this may not be a problem, for the group can agree to disagree. In families, and in professional and civic groups, where action must be taken, persistent disagreement can be a real problem. 4. Ethics and Bioethics One of the most significant areas of growth in philosophy in recent years is the development of professional ethics. For some decades, attention was directed almost exclusively to varieties of meta-ethical theory answering the questions: What are the proper definitions of good and bad, right and wrong? What is the nature of ethical judgments? Then came renewed interest in being able to make normative judgments to answer the questions: What should I do? What acts are right or wrong? Most recently, considerable attention has turned to questions about methodology. How do we come to make normative judgments? What process should we use to reason to the judgment that I ought to do this or that? Problems in applied ethics arise in much the way Dewey and Lipman analyze the beginning of a process of inquiry. Taking the example of bioethics, we can apply a Deweyian grid and see that it fits exactly. A problematic situation presents itself when medical science advances or new technology is developed in such a way that old beliefs, judgments, or responses no longer fit. Importantly, this is not a theoretical situation requiring one simply to analyze or contemplate. A decision must be made. There is an urgency to find a way to resolve the situation, to come up with a new judgment or response that will fit the new situation. Other comparisons can be made. In medicine, professionals most often work as a team and the proposed solution must resolve the perplexity in a way that is acceptable to all members of the team. While not having the wide interests and intimacy of a family, the group does have shared interests and is concerned for the welfare of the group, not just that of one individual member. And, like the philosophical questions Lipman poses to his groups of children, there may not be one single right answer, but several morally permissible responses. Thus, imaginative, creative, reasoned, and critical thinking is involved.

Dewey and Lipman


Philosophers who work with medical teams in the clinical setting have had to find ways to bridge the gap between the theory in which their philosophical training has steeped them and practise, where decisions must be made. It is this move from the world of theory to the world of action that has stimulated an appreciation of pragmatism in general and Dewey in particular.15 To understand the attractiveness of a pragmatist approach, we must look at two of the methods commonly adopted in bioethics and see the weaknesses in each. This then clears the way for a new approach which, as we will see, can be called pragmatist, in its broadest application. The first and perhaps clearest expression of how to reach normative judgments in bioethics was developed by Tom Beauchamp and James Childress in the first edition of their Principles of Biomedical Ethics in 1979.16 As the name suggests, they championed the use of four basic principles which could be applied to specific situations and from which judgments of right and wrong could be deduced. Assumed to be uncontroversial, the principles are Autonomy, Beneficence, Nonmaleficence, and Justice. This approach, labelled Principlism, quickly caught on, beloved by clinicians and students alike for its simple, straightforward method of reasoning. Unfortunately, the simplicity which made it attractive to some also led to many criticisms. Situations that raise ethical questions can be complex and nuanced, and a simple cookie-cutter approach cannot provide the subtlety that is required for adequate analysis and resolution. For example, it is uncontroversial to say that doctors should do no harm, but invoking the principle of nonmaleficence does not help us to know what counts as harm. At the end of life is it harmful to prolong life by continuing treatment or harmful to hasten a painful dying process with large amounts of sedatives? Without clarifying definitions, specifying what the principles mean and how to apply them, and weighting values, the simple principles are virtually useless. There are also problems when two or more of the principles apply to a situation but conflict with one another. Although Beauchamp and Childress have listened to the criticisms and modified their approach in recent publications, many still reject the idea of trying to resolve issues in bioethics by the use of general abstract principles and Principlism is now falling out of favor with many in the field. A second popular approach lies at the other end of the spectrum. The beginning point of Casuistry, as developed by Jonsen and Toulmin,17 is particular cases, accepted as paradigms because there is general consensus about what is right or wrong. Arguing by analogy from the clear or uncontested cases, one can come to judgments about the not so clear cases. For example, it is clearly wrong if a surgeon walks out in the middle of an operation to tend to personal business. Compare a case where an internist decides not to accept patients who are HIV positive. Is the internist abandoning HIV patients as the surgeon is abandoning his surgical patient? Is the similarity enough that the second case can be judged wrong as well as the first?



The advantage of the Casuistry approach is that the reasoning begins at a point of agreement. The difficulties are inherent in any case of analogical reasoning in that different people can have different perceptions of similarities and dissimilarities or how much similarity is required to draw a conclusion about a new case. The other problem is that paradigm cases rest on current agreement about ethical matters, and thus this method will tend to preserve the status quo and make it difficult to introduce change in ethical beliefs. A newer approach, motivated by actual practise in making bioethics judgments as well as an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of both Principlism and Casuistry, is gaining favor among philosophers and clinicians. Based on Rawls development of a way of reasoning he calls Reflective Equilibrium, this method involves revising judgments, values, and beliefs until they form a coherent whole or a judgment that the individual or group can live with. One begins with particular intuitions about a case and some principles which are strongly believed. The next step is to consider the judgments and principles of others. When there is conflict, either within oneself or within a group, one adjusts, modifies, and qualifies until your views are in equilibrium that is can be accepted as a whole. The advantage of this approach is that it begins with concrete cases, so it is not completely abstract or theoretical, but it also takes into account principles which reflect standards of right and wrong. It allows for flexibility and avoids dogmatism. It recognizes moral pluralism, that different people have different values, and it acknowledges that medicine and technology change and no two cases are exactly alike: a judgment that is accepted today may come up for a challenge in the future. The points of similarity between the method of Reflective Equilibrium and Deweys method of inquiry should be clear.18 Each has its starting point in the uneasiness that a new situation provokes when it becomes apparent that currently held beliefs will not fit. The process that follows, of reflection, deliberation, and the modifying of beliefs, principles, and judgments is also similar in each. Beyond that, there is a sense of urgency that accompanies this process. The subject needs to resolve the issue in a practical sense: the child to be able to function in the new situation, the health care professional to come to a decision about how to respond. Neither can be satisfied with purely theoretical answers; each needs to find a way to live and act in the real world. Despite its attractiveness, the method of Reflective Equilibrium and perhaps Deweys method as well, offers only a very weak sense of justification. Coming to judgments by revising principles and qualifying values, revising and qualifying differently in different cases, comes close to making ad hoc judgments. Without reference to stable principles or to analogical reasoning, there is no guarantee that cases that are essentially alike will be treated in an essentially like manner. Thus, unless one is very careful about noting why each adjustment should be made, the method of Reflective

Dewey and Lipman


Equilibrium may turn out to be not much more than intuition or a gut feeling in reaction to a particular problematic situation. 5. Example: Hospital Ethics Committees One of the themes of this essay is that neither Deweys own method of education nor Lipmans Philosophy for Children is restricted only to children. We are all learners throughout our lives, encountering new situations which require deliberation and reflection, a rethinking and adjustment of beliefs and values to fit the ever-changing world of experience. There are surely a number of areas of applied ethics where pragmatism and the method of Reflective Equilibrium are found to be useful. I focus on bioethics for two reasons: one, because it is an area where medical science and technology create new situations and necessitate change almost constantly, and second because there is an institutionalized process for arriving at judgments in problematic cases. Hospital Ethics Committees constitute a community of inquiry and follow in a general way the procedure Dewey and Lipman outline in their method of inquiry. Thus, explaining how a hospital Ethics Committee works can help explain how the Dewey-Lipman model of inquiry applies in todays world of adult activities. A patients medical and personal history constitute a story or narrative. Like Lipmans books for children, the story is the starting point of inquiry. For example, a child of Jehovahs Witness parents needs a blood transfusion or she will die. Parents refuse to consent and the fourteen year old agrees. Physicians are committed to giving treatment when a simple treatment can save a life, but they are bound by moral and legal rules about not treating children without parental consent. They are also uncertain whether or not to take into account the wishes of a fourteen year old, who does not have legal status to consent for herself, but whose opinion would not be disregarded in less than lifethreatening circumstances. The situation calls for a consult from the hospital Ethics Committee. The Committee is typically made up of representatives of the various disciplines involved: doctors, nurses, social workers, clergy, lawyer, philosopher. The family or its representatives may also attend. The role of the Chair of the Committee, like the classroom teacher, is to act as facilitator of the discussion, assuring that all voices be heard and that all members participate in an orderly and respectful manner. Like other philosophical issues raised in the Philosophy for Children classroom, often there is no single right or wrong answer, but participants are free to question others reasoning as well as putting forward their own. It is also expected that members may come to the meeting with strong beliefs about right and wrong, but accept that the goal of the discussion is to listen to all points of view and to reach a judgment by consensus or to reach the understanding that any one of several options may be morally



permissible. Unlike a classroom discussion, Ethics Committees generally do not have the luxury to come back to continue the discussion another day. The physician in charge must decide whether to accede to the familys wishes and do nothing or to go to the courts for permission to treat without parents consent. The process of discussion itself may follow rather closely the steps of the Dewey-Lipman method of inquiry. First, the situation which presents the problem must be specified. Then the facts of the case must be clarified. Are both parents Jehovahs Witnesses? Do they understand the consequences of refusing the transfusion? Does the fourteen year old seem mature in her understanding? Does she seem to be firm in her own beliefs or merely echoing her parents wishes? Is immediate transfusion absolutely necessary? Next the committee might try to evaluate how strongly committed they are or should be to the idea of parental consent, to the ideal of saving lives, to respecting the wishes of a fourteen year old. Some will think that a court order to transfuse should be sought immediately, while others may be more hesitant because they think that the choice of a mature fourteen year old gives weight to the side that wants to honor parents refusal. The next step is to begin to offer possible solutions. Besides the two obvious possibilities, some may try to offer compromises. Can a transfusion be delayed to see if the child can hold her own without it? How much of a risk would it be to delay? In this part of the discussion, individual members can be understood to be re-evaluating their commitments to the various beliefs and values they hold. Must one always act to save a life? Should parents have the last word on decisions for their children? Finally, since a judgment must be made, the Committee discusses the various proposals in terms of what overall seems right here? Can we come to a judgment by modifying prior beliefs and values in a way that avoids the outright contradictions and conflicts initially perceived? Even if we must adjourn by agreeing to disagree, are we satisfied that all sides have been heard and that the judgment and action ultimately put into practise is based on a full consideration of the situation and a line of reasoning that is explainable to others and supportable as a reasonable decision in light of the particular features of the case? 6. Conclusion In a community of inquiry, the group discussion helps raise questions, clarify issues, and helps each child make his or her own ideas clear, and justifies a new set of beliefs and values. Ethics Committees have an educational function as well. The members should leave the meeting feeling that they have a deeper understanding of situations like the one discussed and a deeper understanding of their own beliefs and values. Following Dewey, they should also realize that

Dewey and Lipman


there is no guarantee that a similar but different situation may arise in the future which will require further discussion and further re-examination of beliefs and values. The world itself does not remain static and our response to it cannot be static. Thus, the process of inquiry, education, and philosophy, as envisioned by both Dewey and Lipman, is an on-going vibrant and everchallenging enterprise.

1. John Dewey, My Pedagogic Creed (1897), EW 5: 84. References to the The Collected Works of John Dewey, 18821953, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois Univerity Press, 19691990) are indicated by EW (The Early Works), MW (The Middle Works), or LW (The Later Works), followed by volume and page numbers. 2. Dewey, Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938), LW 12: 108109. 3. Matthew Lipman, Philosophy for Childrens Debt to Dewey, in this volume. 4. LW 12: 123124. 5. LW 12: 123. 6. Dewey, Democracy and Education (1916), MW 9: 9293. 7. Dewey, My Pedagogic Creed, EW 5: 86. 8. MW 9: 8789. 9. EW 5: 8485. 10. EW 5: 8485. 11. EW 5: 8687. 12. MW 9: 92. 13. MW 9: 93. 14. MW 9: 93. 15. See Glenn McGee, ed., Pragmatic Bioethics (Nashville, Tenn.: Vanderbilt University Press, 1999). 16. Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress, Principles of Biomedical Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979). 17. Albert R. Jonsen and Stephen Toulmin, The Abuse of Casuistry (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988). 18. Martin Benjamin, Pragmatism and the Determination of Death, in Pragmatic Bioethics, ed. Glenn McGee (Nashville, Tenn.: Vanderbilt University Press, 1999), pp. 181193.


Philip Cam

There is a passage near the beginning of Matthew Lipmans Philosophy Goes to Schoo11 that encapsulates the influence of John Dewey upon his work. While relishing the ground-breaking advent of philosophy in elementary schools, Lipman reminds us that it belongs to a tradition: the tradition of reflective education. Socrates, most famously, stands at the beginning of this tradition, while Lipman names Montaigne and Locke as major figures along the way. In the more immediate past, however, it was Dewey who carried the torch for reflective education: For surely it was Dewey who, in modern times, foresaw that education had to be defined as the fostering of thinking rather than as the transmission of knowledge; that there could be no difference in the method by which teachers were taught and the method by which they would be expected to teach; that the logic of a discipline must not be confused with the sequence of discoveries that would constitute its understanding; that student reflection is best stimulated by living experience, rather than by a formally organized, desiccated text; that reasoning is sharpened and perfected by disciplined discussion as by nothing else and that reasoning skills are essential for successful reading and writing; and that the alternative to indoctrinating students with values is to help them reflect effectively on the values that are constantly being urged on them.2 I will explore the influence of Dewey upon Lipman by elaborating on these remarks. I will show that Lipmans project is an important and direct extension of Deweys conception of reflective education and marks a point of departure for reflective education in schools today. Lipman not only continues Deweys work, but in turn points the way toward the possibility of further reconstruction in school education. Through these continuities and prospective developments by seeing Lipman as working within an evolving tradition the deeper significance of his work is revealed. In accord with the passage from Lipman, the topics for discussion will be: (1) the development of thinking as central to school education; (2) inquiry as the method of learning to think, that both teachers and students need to



acquire; (3) the crucial importance of distinguishing between the logical and the pedagogical layout of a discipline; (4) the vitality of living experience in the process of learning; (5) the central role of disciplined discussion in learning to think; and (6) the need for reflection upon values in school education. 1. The Centrality of Thinking Dewey says that fostering good habits of thinking in school is not just a matter of some importance, as everyone will agree, but that all which the school can or need do for pupils, so far as their minds are concerned ... is to develop their ability to think.3 This is a radical claim. Dewey implies that to separate such things as the acquisition of information and the teaching of intellectual skills from the process of thinking undercuts intelligent learning. He tells us that when shorn of its connection with thinking a skill is not connected with any sense of the purposes for which it is to be used and leaves a man at the mercy of his routine habits and of the authoritative control of others. Again, he insists that information severed from thoughtful action is dead, a mindcrushing load and a most powerful obstacle to further growth in the grace of intelligence. In contrast, says Dewey: Thinking is the method of intelligent learning, of learning that employs and rewards mind.4 Through it we rise above the routine and learn to handle information with intelligence. We establish conditions that promote further growth in the grace of intelligence. Without being connected to thinking, the traditional attempt to impart information and to teach skills does not utilize the students intelligence, and often works against it. What is this method of intelligent learning that Dewey equates with thinking? First of all, by thought or thinking in its educational sense, Dewey means reflective thought as an active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it, and the further conclusions to which it tends.5 This involves such things as considering the grounds of our beliefs, scouting out their consequences, examining our assumptions, exploring the connections between things, scrutinizing the evidence, working out the implications of various hypotheses, testing them against what we know, and reaching reasoned conclusions. In short, such thinking involves the procedures of inquiry. While different kinds of inquiries may have different guiding ideals, may appeal to different standards and employ different specialized procedures, they are all exercises in reflective thinking and have the above kinds of general characteristics. Deweys equation of thinking with the method of intelligent learning is none other than the identification of thinking with inquiry. Dewey wrote extensively about this method, both in easily accessible and more elaborate terms.6 In short form, we can say that inquiry is a regulated pattern of activity that has the following features. (1) It begins in a question-

Dewey, Lipman, and the Tradition of Reflective Education


able or indeterminate situation. The situation may be in some way uncertain, unclear, or doubtful. There may be obviously conflicting possibilities, troublesome symptoms, unanticipated consequences, and the like. These are such things as may call our understanding or beliefs into question. (2) We judge that the situation is problematic. That is to say, for inquiry to begin it is not enough for the situation actually to be problematic. We must see it as such. A situation may be judged to be problematic in terms of our beliefs, as was said above, or in terms of our expectations and desires. For reasons unknown, things may not have gone as we wanted them to, the ends that we were striving for may have unexpectedly eluded us, or we may simply find ourselves in circumstances that we consider undesirable. (3) We attempt to articulate the problem and formulate questions that need to be addressed in the resolution of it, such as together with an understanding of the ends-in-view will help to shape and give direction to our thought. Such formulations establish our agenda. Indeed, by seeing the nature of the problem or by raising pertinent questions, we have already moved some way toward a resolution. Contrariwise, of course, if we have formulated the problem badly, or asked inappropriate questions, then we have taken a step in the wrong direction, and at least temporarily set back the course of our inquiry. (4) We search for relevant details or information that must be taken into account in trying to resolve the situation. These are the facts of the case, the conditions that any adequate resolution must take into account. (5) We cast around for suggestions or ideas possible solutions, remedies, explanations or hypotheses that might lead to a resolution. Typically, there will be alternative candidates, different possibilities, rival hypotheses, or competing points of view to be considered. (6) We evaluate these suggestions in light of the facts of the case and against whatever criteria we use to measure the adequacy of the resolutions they supply. Testing and evaluation can be a matter of some complexity. Among other things, it may involve exploring the implications of various possibilities, addressing assumptions, examining criteria, searching for counterexamples, reassessing the facts, and making needful distinctions and connections of all kinds. (7) Having completed the process of testing and evaluation, we adopt a suggestion and act accordingly. This may mean executing a plan of action, implementing a set of recommendations, employing a new working hypothesis, adopting a different conception, or any number of other things, depending upon the nature of the problem that we addressed. (8) Finally, insofar as we are able to carry our inquiry to a satisfactory conclusion, the situation with which we began is resolved or transformed. As Dewey puts it, we will have converted a situation in which the constituents do not hang together into one that is a unified whole.7 Needless to say, this description of the process of inquiry is less tidy in actuality than as presented. There are likely to be false starts, missteps, backtrackings, premature closures, and barriers of all sorts not to mention inquiries within inquiries, inquiries that are overtaken by the press of



circumstance, ones that get bogged down or run out of steam. Yet while the picture presented is obviously idealized, it does capture the general features of inquiries of all sorts. From an educational point of view, those who become adept at inquiry will have learnt to think in ways that apply to all sorts of circumstances, wherever a developed capacity for reflective thinking is required. Furthermore, they will have learned what Dewey says they should have learned from their school education. When we turn to Lipman, we find that the topic of thinking is everywhere. From his theoretical treatment in Thinking in Education8 to the preponderant activity of the children in his novels, we find a career devoted to thinking about thinking and to the development of ways and means to encourage the teaching of it. And what could make clearer the connection that Lipman sees between thinking and inquiry than the idea that he uses to capture the practice through which it is to be taught the idea of a classroom as a community of inquiry? Setting aside the many respects in which both Lipman and Dewey stress the importance of community, Lipmans classroom community is one in which children are engaged together in various aspects of the inquiry process that we have reviewed. I highlight a few points. The pages of Lipmans novels are provocations. They are designed to help create the kind of indeterminate situation that Dewey identifies as the starting point for inquiry. They are meant to provoke students to ask questions that they want to inquire into. The teacher helps the students to organize their questions into an agenda for discussion, and then assists them to conduct discussion in which we find orchestrated the whole panoply of moves in thinking that we touched upon. Students draw upon their own experience and background knowledge. They make suggestions and test them out with their peers. They explore alternative possibilities and differences in one anothers point of view. They think about the implications of what is said. They make distinctions, draw connections, search for counterexamples, and appeal to criteria. In short, they make or rather learn to make all the kinds of moves that characterize inquiry. Lipman provides us with a model of education. It is education that centers on the development of students capacities to think reflectively which is precisely what Dewey advocated when he said this is all that the school can or need do for pupils so far as their minds are concerned. Of course, Lipmans work is novel because it uses philosophy as its vehicle, and this is certainly not something that comes from Dewey. It is Lipmans own wonderful insight. To have seen this possibility and to have had the courage and ability to bring it to fruition in the way that he did is the genius of the man. It is useful to see Lipman as expanding the horizons of reflective education by taking up from where Dewey left off. It helps us to see Lipmans efforts as part of a larger work in progress. I am speaking here, of course, about the possibilities and prospects of further extensions of reflective education in our schools.

Dewey, Lipman, and the Tradition of Reflective Education


Unsurprisingly, Lipman himself makes some suggestions that are helpful in thinking about how such a development might proceed. They come from his view that philosophy is the discipline that prepares us to think in the other disciplines. Lipman says that philosophy deals with essentially contestable concepts concepts that lie at the heart of any discipline when it is presented as a living thing rather than simply as a body of established knowledge or what Dewey refers to as the mind-crushing load. This suggests that one way of animating the disciplines with the spirit of inquiry is by attention to the philosophically problematic within them: Philosophy is attracted by the problematic and the controversial, by the conceptual difficulties that lurk in the cracks and interstices of our conceptual schemes.... The significance of this quest for the problematic is that it generates thinking. And so when we encounter those prefixes, philosophy of science, philosophy of history, and so on, we are grappling with the problematic aspects of those disciplines. For insofar as academic disciplines take themselves to be non-problematic, the instructional approach they favor is that their students must learn what they are taught, whereas the more problematic the image these disciplines have of themselves, the more they will favor an instructional approach of joint, shared inquiry by teachers and students alike.... It is when a discipline conceives of its integrity to lie in ridding itself of its epistemological, metaphysical, aesthetic, ethical and logical considerations [the philosophical, in short] that it succeeds in becoming merely a body of alienated knowledge and procedures.9 One way of reading the implications of this suggestion is to look at Lipmans novels and manuals for schools as something of a pilot program. Their extension would then involve systematic attention to the theoretically and conceptually problematic in the design of school curricula and to the establishment of inquiry processes in the mode of delivery. I do not have space to consider what such revised curricula and teaching practices would look like, but I would like to mention one attempt to place thinking at the heart of a rearranged curriculum with which I have been associated. Education Queensland is a state education authority in Australia that has been implementing what it calls a New Basics Project, initially involving a spread of some 38 schools across the state over a four-year trial. The curriculum has been reorganized into four clusters of practices rather than the traditional divisions of subject matter. These practices are those judged to be most needed in the life circumstances of the students. They are grouped around: (1) so-called life pathways and social futures that have to do with who the students are and where they are going; (2) the many forms of literacy and communication through which they can make sense of their world; (3) those



practices through which they can help to build and sustain active citizenship; and (4) practices that can help them to analyze and shape their world through science and technology.10 This reorganized curriculum is designed to go hand-in-hand with new assessment practices and classroom pedagogies. The recommended pedagogies have many points of contact with Lipmans idea of the classroom as a Community of Inquiry. Let us take just one cluster of what are called productive pedagogies in New Basics, those having to do with intellectual quality. These include: (1) the development of substantive conversation and sustained dialogue in the classroom; (2) attention to higher-order thinking and critical analysis; (3) placing stress on a deeper knowledge of subject matter and (4) a deeper understanding of concepts and ideas; (5) treating knowledge and its construction as inherently problematic; and (6) the appropriate use of metalanguage. The Community of Inquiry involves these practices. It clearly involves substantive conversation. One reason for this is simply that higher-order thinking is going on within it. Another is that it addresses matters of intellectual substance, such as open intellectual questions, significant social and theoretical issues, and big ideas. Yet another reason is that the conversation takes the form of an inquiry, which by its very nature treats knowledge and understanding as problematic, as something that we are searching after, puzzling over and raising questions about. It also involves students in learning to use the language of inquiry such as reason, explanation, distinction, example, inference, assumption, hypothesis, criterion and counterexample to signal the intellectual moves that they make as they speak and interact with each other. This signaling is metalinguistic. It is the language by which we mark out or make explicit those moves that characterize inquiry. Finally, discussions of this kind are the means par excellence of producing deeper knowledge and understanding. They are the proximate means in relation to the matters under discussion, but they are also distal means in regard to matters generally. This is because in the long run these discussions develop the traits that characterize people who acquire deep knowledge and understanding in any field: inquisitiveness, intellectual adventurousness, openmindedness and intellectual persistence, together with precision of thought and soundness of reasoning and judgment. The Community of Inquiry fits right into the framework provided by New Basics Productive Pedagogies. The most exciting aspect of the project has been that this framework takes the kinds of practices that are central to the Community of Inquiry as applicable to the classroom quite generally. It is in this respect a framework within which the tradition of Dewey and Lipman can be extended. It is the kind of development that is needed if reflective education is to flourish in our schools.

Dewey, Lipman, and the Tradition of Reflective Education 2. Inquiry as Method


For Dewey, method is not something to be considered in abstraction from subject matter. Method means that arrangement of subject matter which makes it most effective in use.11 In other words, method in teaching exists only as a way-of-dealing-with-material which results in its effective use. Among the ills of separating out method as something to be taught to teachers independently of subject matter is that of reducing method to a cut and dried routine: Instead of being encouraged to attack their topics directly, experimenting with methods that seem promising and learning to discriminate by the consequences that accrue, it is assumed that there is one fixed method to be followed.... Nothing has brought pedagogical theory into greater disrepute than the belief that it is identified with handing out to teachers recipes and models to be followed in teaching.12 This does not imply that teachers should be thrown back upon their own resources to simply learn on the job. It means rather that our cumulative wisdom about methods of teaching subject matter should be employed experimentally and not treated as equipping the teacher with a set of rules to be unthinkingly applied. Moreover, what Dewey says here is meant to be consistent with the fact that he advocates an underlying general method, albeit not one that should be treated as a cut-and-dried formula. This is the method of inquiry, seen as a generalization of the means by which historically we have come by knowledge and understanding of our world. For Dewey, then, the fundamentals of teaching method are just the ways of inquiry as applied to the subject matter of the classroom. Lipman tells us that, according to Dewey, there could be no difference in the method by which teachers were taught and the method by which they would be expected to teach. I understand this as a reference to inquiry as the method that teachers will need to have internalized if they are to teach their students to think. I am reminded here of the workshops for teacher-educators in Philosophy for Children that Lipman and his colleagues have held for many years in Mendham, New Jersey. There the participants spend most of their time working with Lipmans materials in roughly the form in which teachers might be expected to work with them in the classroom. Having assisted in these workshops on many occasions, it is clear to me that the participants were learning to work philosophically in ways that generally accord with Deweys paradigm of inquiry. Occasionally participants began with the idea that there was indeed a simple formula that they could follow when it came to their turn to lead a philosophical discussion. Once the discussion was under way, however, it quickly became apparent that the recipe they had in mind did not



fit the way that the session unfolded, and they were left, in the words of Socrates, to try to help their fellow participants to follow the inquiry where it leads. That is to say, they found themselves involved in a live inquiry into whatever question or issue was under discussion and that, except in very general terms, the steps in conducting this inquiry could not be laid out in advance. There was no recipe, but only the business of thinking reflectively together about the subject matter, exercising judgment all along the way about what seemed to be the appropriate moves in proceeding productively. It is essential for teachers to become familiar with an inquiry-based approach to the subject matters that they teach if they are going to promote thinking in the classroom. Given this, the general lack of such an approach in the formation of teachers provides a great hurdle standing in the way of reflective education. This must change. Experience has shown that the success rate in converting classrooms into communities of inquiry is quite low when established teachers are introduced to such ideas by way of a professional development day or through in-service courses of a few days duration. That is only to be expected. Unless state education systems are prepared to devote more resources to the professional development of teachers in service, the future of reflective education very much depends upon some serious reconstruction of pre-service training. Not to be too pessimistic, other efforts may also bear fruit. For example, I am presently involved in the development of an online course in philosophy in schools. While I was initially skeptical of the idea, it soon revealed its strengths. It provides a flexible mode of delivery for the busy classroom teacher and it makes professional development more readily available to teachers in remote locations. The program is interactive and allows teachers to establish networks of shared experience. All sorts of relevant background resources are instantly available through the web. Extensive footage from the classroom is made available on demand, and so on. None of this is a substitute for face-to-face experience, but, in combination with other efforts, it certainly looks to be one way forward. 3. From the Logical to the Pedagogical One can identify method with the treatment of subject matter and still produce widely varied schemes of instruction. One way of proceeding is to lay out a subject of study in what we may call its logical form. This involves treating a subject as a body of organized knowledge, analyzing it into its components, and setting them out in a conceptually or logically ordered sequence. Dewey conveys the idea with the example of geography: Suppose the subject is geography. The first thing is to give its definition, marking it off from every other subject. Then the various abstract terms

Dewey, Lipman, and the Tradition of Reflective Education


upon which depends the scientific development of the science are stated and defined one by one pole, equator, ecliptic, zone from the simpler units to the more complex that are formed out of them; then the more concrete elements are taken in similar series: continent, island, coast, promontory, cape, isthmus, peninsula, ocean, lake, gulf, bay, and so on.13 It may be that no one would be tempted to teach geography in precisely this way, but the presentation of subjects, areas or disciplines as established bodies of knowledge that have a settled logical order to be systematically imparted to the learner is surely a commonplace. So the question is why we are given to thinking that such a logical sequence should be the basis of the sequence of instruction. Dewey sees it as stemming from the assumption that logical form must be impressed upon the mind of the learner from without. Logical form is thus embedded in the layout of subject matter and by acquiring it in this fashion the mind is supposed not only to gain important information, but, by accommodating itself to ready-made logical definitions, generalizations, and classifications, gradually to acquire logical habits.14 This assumption, says Dewey, overlooks the fact that the logical form of a discipline is the historical outcome of thinking in the discipline. That is to say, it is a successively shaped result of the development of certain ways of thinking. Educationally, this suggests that the natural way for students to come to acquire such logical habits as study of the discipline may afford is to draw upon their beginning attempts to think in the discipline and little by little to bring them toward the condition of the expert. This approach harnesses their preexisting capacities to think about the problems and issues to be covered and to successively shape them to the discipline. It is a very different way of proceeding from presenting the discipline in a ready-made form. It acknowledges that the real problem of intellectual education is the transformation of natural powers into expert, tested powers: the transformation of more or less casual curiosity and sporadic suggestion into attitudes of alert, cautious, and thorough inquiry.15 In Lipmans novels we find the discipline of philosophy presented through narratives, in which the central characters are children who show a natural curiosity about philosophical problems and issues of all kinds and make beginning moves in inquiry and sometimes more extended ones. These children are the fictional counterparts of those in the classroom, and they present the latter with a stimulus and a starting point for their own inquiries. The process that ensues in which the students inquire into their own questions under the guidance of the teacher, supplemented by a variety of exercises and activities forms the pedagogical sequence. This sequence is demonstrably of the kind that Dewey commends. The students are not presented with philosophy as a ready-made body of knowledge to learn. The novels stimulate in them the same kinds of curiosity, puzzlement and questions



out of which the discipline of philosophy arises. Beginning from their own thoughts and first attempts to address these concerns, they gradually learn to make the kinds of moves that more advanced students make when they have become proficient in the discipline. Under the guidance of the teacher, the logical form of the discipline gradually emerges for the students from their own continued efforts and is internally related to their earlier attempts just as Dewey says it should be. We are looking at students who are learning to think philosophically, and not merely learning what the philosophers have thought. Lipman provides us with an innovative means of engendering a sequence of discoveries through which students can come to think philosophically. He avoids the error of mistaking a logical for a pedagogical sequence in attempting to impress the intellectual habits of a discipline upon the minds of students. To follow Lipmans lead does not mean to literally repeat what he has done. We need to be equally innovative. What the tradition of reflective education needs to take forward from Lipman is both the understanding that he derives from Dewey of a proper pedagogical sequence and the intellectual adventurousness of Lipmans shining example of how it might be done. 4. Learning Thorough Living Experience The concept of experience is such a complex and plastic notion in Dewey that no brief discussion can do it justice. We may profitably confine ourselves, however, to two closely related points. First, Dewey defines education in terms of experience: It is that reconstruction or reorganization of experience which adds to the meaning of experience, and which increases ability to direct the course of subsequent experience.16 As Dewey admits, this is a technical definition. In order to understand how the reconstruction of experience can be identified with education we need to explore the connections between experience and thinking. Secondly, then, Dewey tells us that experience involves a connection of doing or trying with something which is undergone in consequence and that thinking is the accurate and deliberate instituting of connections between what is done and its consequences.17 Thus, thinking is the making explicit of connections that arise in experience. Let me expand on this. According to Dewey, experience has two interconnected phases: The nature of experience can be understood only by noting that it includes an active and a passive element peculiarly combined. On the one hand, experience is trying a meaning which is made explicit in the connected term experiment. In the passive, it is undergoing. When we experience something we act upon it; then we suffer or undergo the consequences. We do something to the thing and then it does something to us in return: such is the peculiar combination.18

Dewey, Lipman, and the Tradition of Reflective Education


The connection with experimentation is worth spelling out. Experience, we might say, has the nascent form of an experiment. Experience is an interaction with the world in which we try to see how things are connected by acting upon something and discovering what happens. As Dewey says, the young child who naively sticks his finger into a flame connects up that action with the ensuing burn. It constitutes an episode in his experience. In making this connection he has also learnt from the experience. Henceforth, as Dewey remarks, the sticking of the finger into flame means a burn. Otherwise put, the experience was educational in that the child has derived meaning from the episode, increasing his ability to direct the course of his subsequent interactions with the world. It is easy to see how this relates to Deweys conception of thinking as inquiry. The childs little inquiry or experiment involves the discernment of a relationship between what he did and its consequences. That is to say, it takes the form of thought. Not all inquiries are so elementary. The discernment of such relations may be for more detailed, comprehensive, insightful or, in a word, reflective. Even so, they all have the same underlying educational form. What do these considerations mean in the context of formal education? How do they translate, in particular, into the teachers approach to subject matter? In a passage from The Child and the Curriculum, Dewey draws upon the tie between experience and education to make it plain that the teacher should view classroom subject matter as representing a given stage or phase of the development of experience.19 This means seeing the subject matter in connection with the childs experience and as provoking an appropriate series of efforts on the part of students which are likely to have readily intelligible consequences that make each episode meaningful. He says of the teacher: His problem is that of inducing a vital and personal experiencing. Hence, what concerns him, as teacher, is the ways in which that subject may become a part of experience; what there is in the childs present that is usable with reference to it; how such elements are to be used; how his own knowledge of the subject-matter may assist in interpreting the childs needs and doings, and determine the medium in which the child should be placed in order that his growth may be properly directed. He is concerned, not with the subject-matter as such, but with the subjectmatter as a related factor in a total growing experience.20 Such vital and personal experiencing is surely what Lipman has in mind when he says that student reflection is best stimulated by living experience, rather than by a formally organized, desiccated text. Formally organized textbooks tend to be prime examples of logical sequences parading as pedagogical ones, and as such they fail to take into account the internal connection between the process of thinking and its intellectual product. They fail to build an under-



standing of the subject matter upon the childs own attempts to think about it. As Lipman says, the textbook is a didactic device that stands over against the child as an alien and rigid other. It has this obdurate nature because it represents the final end-product of the received or adult view of the discipline.21 As indicated earlier, Lipmans alternative to the standardized text is the philosophical novel. Here there is an ordered treatment of the subject matter, but it is seeded into a narrative. Rather than presenting the subject matter as material to be learnt from the pages of a book, we find issues and themes that are to be systematically explored through the process of inquiry. This very process is also modeled in the narratives themselves. There we find children of roughly the same age as those in the classroom thinking about the problematic aspects of their experience. Because they are puzzled or curious, and sometimes perplexed, they inquire together into the meaning of things. By connecting up with the life experiences of the children in the classroom, these narratives present their subject matter to them as a constant invitation to inquiry. The children in the classroom make headway in the subject by learning to inquire into it. The subject matter becomes part of the students own experience in Deweys sense. Through their own efforts the students make meaningful connections between all sorts of suggestions and their consequences. This persistent reorganization of their experience, which adds to the meaning of it, and which strengthens their capacity to deal with the subject matter as they move along, reflects Deweys definition of education. And so we have education as experience, experience as thinking, and thinking as inquiry, all wrapped into one a thoroughly Deweyan conception. Much of the knowledge that students derive from their schooling can be called knowledge only by courtesy. Genuine or effective knowledge is gained from experience, as Dewey understands it, through that vital and personal experiencing which lies at the heart of reflective education. Unless, like Lipman, we foster such experience, we are only adding to the dead load that students are all too often made to bear throughout their school years. 5. The Role of Discussion in Learning to Think Dewey claims that thought comes to fruition only through communication, and that its realization is most complete when we think together in face-to-face relationships by means of direct give and take by sharing our experience through dialogue: Signs and symbols, language, are the means of communication by which a fraternally shared experience is ushered in and sustained. But the winged words of conversation in immediate intercourse have a vital import lacking in the fixed and frozen words of written speech.... Logic in its fulfillment recurs to the primitive sense of the word: dialogue. Ideas

Dewey, Lipman, and the Tradition of Reflective Education


which are not communicated, shared, and reborn in expression are but soliloquy, and soliloquy is but broken and imperfect thought.22 Dialogue rather than monologue is the natural form of linguistic thought. This is because language is essentially a means of communication and problemsolving in social life. Dewey is right to claim that the private interludes of soliloquy are imperfect. Lacking a proper interlocutor, they are linguistically derivative and incomplete. They beg for a respondent, someone who listens to what is said and who offers advice or consolation. Little wonder that soliloquy so easily gives way to those even more obviously derivative episodes where we become our own interlocutor and converse inwardly with ourselves. Plato was half right when he said that in thought the soul communes with itself. What makes this image misleading, however, is that language is primarily a social phenomenon and that linguistic thought, in its primary mode, is not communication with ourselves, but with others. We can more easily appreciate that thought finds its basis in dialogue when we reflect on the fact that in everyday contexts whether in our families, in our workplaces or in public life most of our thinking takes place not in isolation, but as part of conjoint activity. Discussion and dialogue carry much of the constructive and reflective burden of doing things together. In its various phases, it involves such things as stopping what we are doing in order to discuss problems or difficulties (that is, stopping to think about what we are doing), dealing with our disagreements, helping each other to interpret the troublesome actions and uncertain intentions of third parties, and helping to give each other guidance in deciding what to do when we are in doubt. Since thought is first and foremost a matter of communicated experience, and since experience is supposed to take the form of inquiry, we can conclude that, for Dewey, thought finds its natural home in conjoint inquiry. This is a conception very much at odds with the idea that thought is primarily a matter of private in-the-head ratiocination, which permeates so much of school education. And it has significant consequences for the ways in which thinking is to be engendered in the classroom. If we believe, along with Dewey, that education should focus upon developing students abilities to think, then we need to make inquiry through dialogue and discussion central to what we do. It hardly needs to be said that conjoint inquiry through dialogue and discussion is the centerpiece of Lipmans model of the classroom as a Community of Inquiry. It is a conspicuously Deweyan conception. Rather than hammering away at the obvious here, it would be more profitable to ask what difference it might make in the development of childrens thought to make such a play of community. I will make three brief points. (1) There is typically a two-way movement in dialogue. A suggestion is proffered and then it is considered. A hypothesis is stated and then assessed. A rough idea is put forward and then worked upon. We can describe these as the interplay of the



creative and the critical movements of thought. Since this kind of interplay is inherent in dialogue, classroom discussion and dialogue provides a natural basis for students to learn to think at once critically and creatively. (2) To temper our experience by submitting it to the judgment of others is to become more reasonable. I have in mind such things as learning to listen to other peoples points of view, to concede the implications of our own opinions, to learn to explore our disagreements reasonably, and to change our minds where that is warranted on the basis of reason and evidence. Reasonableness and associated traits (such as fair-mindedness, open-mindedness and tolerance) are the hallmarks of a thoughtful person, one whose thinking is socially well developed. (3) By extension, exploring different points of view, discussing disagreements reasonably, and keeping an open mind, all develop forms of regard and practices of open intellectual exchange that sustain an open society. They are the ways of thinking and forms of regard desperately needed if we are to achieve a more deeply democratic way of life. 6. Reflection on Values in School Education Life in society is replete with values. Values are what separate creatures of mere habit and happenstance from ones that reflectively judge and actively construct their world. Personal choices, interpersonal relations, codes of conduct, religious beliefs, political practices, educational policies, and institutional arrangements all are expressions of values. Values are therefore not something set apart from the concrete circumstances of our lives. They shape the whole of the social domain, which enfold our life and being. Nothing therefore could be of greater educational significance than attention to values. John Dewey says that judgments of value are central to a persons character and development: There is nothing in which a person so completely reveals himself as the things that he judges enjoyable or desirable. Such judgments are the sole alternative to the domination of belief by impulse, chance, blind habit and self-interest. The formation of a cultivated and effectively operative good judgment or taste with respect to what is aesthetically admirable, intellectually acceptable and morally approvable is the supreme task set to human beings by the incidents of experience.23 Notice that Dewey takes the educational task to be the cultivation of effective practical judgment. This stands over against the idea that society can set out in advance what is admirable, acceptable and to be approved, as things to be learnt by heart. It also cuts across the claim that values education should be seen as an attempt to cultivate and strengthen the will to side with the beautiful against the ugly, the true against the false, and good against evil. The problem

Dewey, Lipman, and the Tradition of Reflective Education


is not that people knowingly choose the ugly, the false and the evil because their wills are weak, but rather that they choose such things because they lack discernment. As Dewey says: All the serious perplexities of life come back to the genuine difficulty of forming a judgment as to the values of the situation; they come back to a conflict of goods. Only dogmatism can suppose that serious moral conflict is between something clearly bad and something known to be good, and that the uncertainty lies in the will of the one choosing. Most conflicts of importance are conflicts between things which are or have been satisfying, not between good and evil.24 The distinction between the more or less valuable is one that needs to be made by comparing live options in the circumstances in which they occur. Any such intelligent comparison is likely to require some investigation into the contingencies that face us into the facts of the case. We will need to think about the range of possibilities: of possible actions, conclusions, results, goals, or resolutions. We must try to discern the relevant connections between things between an action and its consequences, between a proposition and what follows from it, between an aesthetic choice and artistic satisfaction. In short, it is to the ways of inquiry that we should turn in dealing with lifes perplexities. Here is Dewey making the point in relation to moral deliberation: A moral situation is one in which judgment and choice are required antecedently to overt action. The practical meaning of the situation that is to say the action needed to satisfy it is not self-evident. It has to be searched for. There are conflicting desires and alternative apparent goods. What is needed is to find the right course of action, the right good. Hence, inquiry is exacted: observation of the detailed make-up of the situation; analysis into its diverse factors; clarification of what is obscure; discounting of the more insistent and vivid traits; tracing of the consequences of the various modes of action that suggest themselves; regarding the decision reached as hypothetical and tentative until the anticipated or supposed consequences which led to its adoption have been squared with the actual consequences. This inquiry is intelligence.25 Now we are back on familiar ground. The education of values is of a piece with education as a whole. Attention to moral and other forms of value is not something to be set apart from the rest of education. Students need to learn to think in the various contexts in which questions of value arise. They need to learn to reconstruct their experience by developing their powers of inquiry through the discussion of problems and issues that richly connect with their lived experience. Dewey even goes so far as to say that the education of values



is as broad as education itself. He tells us that the educative process is all one with the moral process, since the latter is a continuous passage of experience from worst to better.26 More broadly, the educative process is one that expands the meaning of experience and improves judgment, without which our ability to appreciate and to choose would not continue to develop. Lipman echoes Deweys plea for the development of effective judgment instead of teaching customary values and rules by the book. Some parents, he tells us, are inclined to think that the improvement of childrens judgment can be achieved by more effectively implanting in them strict codes of traditional values. To which he imagines someone to respond: Perhaps, but the nub of the matter is judgment, and this is where we have to do better.... If the schools could do more to teach our children to exercise better judgment, it would protect them against those who would inflame them with prejudice and manipulate them through indoctrination. It would make them better producers and consumers, better citizens, and better future parents. So why not educate for better judgment?27 Judgments of value, he goes on to tell us, are those that result when things or matters are contrasted with one another with respect to value (e.g., is better than, is nicer than, is more lovely than, is more noble than), using criteria such as originality, authenticity, perfection, coherence, and the like.28 Such critical judgments express relationships that enable us to distinguish better from worse efforts, outcomes, social arrangements, policies, dealings, plans and courses of action better from worse life choices, in short. As Dewey says, judgments as to the value of a situation need to be made when we are faced with perplexities and situations the practical meaning of which has to be searched for. In other words, when we have need for inquiry. Whether in the large or the small, inquiry is the process through which intelligent practice grounds our ideals. We see this in the professions: The dynamic forward movement that steers the actual process of medicine in the direction of health or science in the direction of truth or art in the direction of beauty is inquiry.29 The same applies when inquiry steers us toward better decisions in everyday life, thus narrowing the gap between the actual and the ideal. In terms of school education, to teach students to reflect on matters of value is to strengthen their judgment and thereby to assist them to achieve better outcomes in their own lives. In the process, of course, they also become more able to access the values that are constantly being urged upon them. This is Lipman and Deweys educational alternative to bypassing their intelligence by indoctrinating them with values. There is a further line of thought in Dewey that is worth considering in relation to Lipmans project of philosophy in schools. Dewey suggests that

Dewey, Lipman, and the Tradition of Reflective Education


philosophy may have a special role to play in integrating our empirical understanding with our values: Man has beliefs which scientific inquiry vouchsafes, beliefs about the actual structure and processes of things; and he also has beliefs about the values which should regulate his conduct. The question of how these two ways of believing may most effectively and fruitfully interact with one another is the most general and significant of the problems which life presents to us. Some reasoned discipline, one obviously other than any science, should deal with the issue. Thus there is supplied one way of conceiving of the function of philosophy.30 Dewey is surely right to think that the lack of integration between our empirical and scientific knowledge with our values systems is a problem of considerable proportions. And we should not be adding to this burden when we teach science and technology, or history, or about society, the environment, and so on. Instead we need to introduce our students to ways of thinking that develop their values in conjunction with their other understandings. There are, of course, more or less widespread efforts to do just that, but the question is how it might best be done. Dewey suggests that philosophy is the discipline to take on this task. If so, this means that philosophical inquiry needs to be woven through the curriculum, in order that students may come to think as whole human beings, whose various understandings are not divorced from one another but support more integrated, coherent, judgments, where all relevant things are considered.31 Lipman says that he is fully in agreement with such remarks.32 We might even say that he has taken Deweys vision of philosophy as the discipline through which we can integrate our knowledge with our values and made it an educational reality. It is, of course, just an exemplar of the work that needs to be done. To extend this vision to actual programs of work and teaching practices throughout our schools is an immense task. Yet it is all of a piece with generally developing the practice of reflective education. To place values education at the heart of what we do in schools where it belongs, and to see it as continuous with all of our other efforts to educate our students to think, is to place what we do firmly in the tradition of reflective education. It is not something that can be done all at once or once and for all. It requires an experimental outlook and continuing effort. 7. Conclusion I am all too aware that my discussion of these matters has been brief, and that many other topics might have been taken up in considering Deweys influence upon Lipman. I am particularly conscious of the fact that I have said next to



nothing about community in Lipman and Dewey, which is a matter of great moment for them both. I hope that these shortcomings will be rectified by others. Additionally, however, I would like to encourage my readers to go back to Dewey, in order better to appreciate the genius of Lipmans project and the lasting significance of his work. It is to see him and Dewey as part of that great endeavor the tradition of reflective education.

1. Matthew Lipman, Philosophy Goes to School (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988). 2. Ibid., p. 4. 3. John Dewey, Democracy and Education (New York: Free Press, 1966), p. 152. (Originally published in 1916.) 4. Ibid., pp. 152153. 5. John Dewey, How We Think (New York: Prometheus Books, 1991), p. 6. (Originally published in 1910.) 6. The two most important works are the earlier and more accessible How We Think, already referred to, and the relatively late work, Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1938). 7. Dewey, Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, p. 105. 8. Matthew Lipman, Thinking in Education (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991). 9. Lipman, Thinking in Education, pp. 3334. 10. New Basics: Theory into Practice (Education Queensland, March 2000), p. 3. 11. Dewey, Democracy and Education, p. 165. 12. Ibid., pp. 169170. 13. Dewey, How We Think, p. 59. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid., p. 62. 16. Dewey, Democracy and Education, p. 76. 17. Ibid., p. 151. 18. Ibid., p. 139. 19. John Dewey, The School and Society and The Child and the Curriculum (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), p. 201. (Originally published in 1900 and 1902, respectively.) 20. Ibid. 21. Lipman, Philosophy Goes to School, pp. 2021. 22. John Dewey, The Public and its Problems (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1991), p. 218. (Originally published in 1927.) 23. John Dewey, The Quest for Certainty (New York: Perigee Books, 1980), p. 262. (Originally published in 1929.) 24. Ibid., p. 266.

Dewey, Lipman, and the Tradition of Reflective Education


25. John Dewey, Reconstruction in Philosophy, 2nd edn. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1948), pp. 163164. 26. Ibid., p. 183. 27. Lipman, Thinking in Education, p. 160. 28. Ibid., p. 167. 29. Ibid., p. 157. 30. Dewey, The Quest for Certainty, p. 1819. 31. For further discussion along these lines see my Fact, Value and Philosophy Education, Critical and Creative Thinking 10 (March 2002), pp. 2128; and Learning to Think as Whole Human Beings, Ethik und Sozialwissenschaften 12 (2001), pp. 423 425. 32. See his response to me in the same volume of Ethik und Sozialwissenschaften, pp. 467468.



Interview by Paulo Ghiraldelli, Jr.

Ghiraldelli: Professor Rorty, your important article Education: Socialization and Individualization is often poorly understood. The article is clear, but sometimes teachers only say, Yes, I know since Dewey that education is socialization Rorty says nothing new in this article. They do not understand that you are talking about a new socialization, namely, something that appeals for an America (or any other nation) of good heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr., Eugene Debs, etc. Socialization becomes individualization, in a dialectical process. And a teacher can do this before teaching in a university. I think that you can dissolve the teachers mistake, by saying more about the division that appears in that article, about Socrates and Plato. Could you talk more about this? Rorty: Socrates asked us to question our presuppositions. Plato thought that doing so only made sense if there was a distinction between knowledge and opinion, interpreted in terms of different relations to reality. I think that Socrates was right and Plato wrong. As you suggest in your question, individualization is a reaction to socialization. It is what happens when one questions the presuppositions of the society in which one has grown up. Ghiraldelli: Habermas and others prefer using your division between Plato and pragmatism as a label. Plato would be the enemy and pragmatism would save us. If Habermas is right, and if the article Education: Socialization and Individualization contains a Socratic option, what can you say about Davidsons articles that say that Socrates does not want the Truth (Elenchus) and the old Plato follows Socrates and rejects the classical idea about the divided line? It seems to me that Davidson displays a Rortyan Socrates and it is incredible! a Rortyan old Plato. Rorty: I have no clear view about what the historical Socrates was up to, nor about the chronology of the Platonic dialogues. I am not sure that worrying about the Socrates-Plato distinction, or the distinction between early and late Plato, is worth the trouble.



Ghiraldelli: In Brazil, teachers criticize you because you are a Deweyan guy. The Left believes that Dewey is the philosopher of the middle class, and the middle class is not a good class for the Left in certain countries of the Third World. In the United States I find a different situation: teachers criticize you because you are not a Deweyan guy! I know that you cannot make everyone happy, but can you comment on this difference? Rorty: Many American students of Dewey think that I distort his thought. Maybe I do. I do not really care whether Dewey would have approved of all of my views. I just pick the stuff from his books that I find most appealing and try to bend it to my purposes. Im very grateful to him, but there is a lot in his books that I have no use for. Ghiraldelli: I think that you are someone that prefers to talk about truth instead philosophy of mind. Truth in America is linked to God, and God does not love freedom. But in Brazil and in other countries (perhaps France) the situation is different: falsity is linked to Government and the Left uses the Truth as a weapon. In Brazil, Truth and God (Catholicism) are sometimes linked to freedom. For example, the Catholic Church and liberation theology in Brazil helped the landless movement and the Brazilian Workers Party. We have many problems with the correspondence theory of truth, but when you connect truth with political practice, many teachers do not understand why you want to speak out against the Truth in the Third World or in the Left. Rorty: The Left cannot use the truth as a weapon except when it comes to empirically confirmable truths (such as those about who bribed who and who tortured who). When the term the truth is inflated to mean something more that truths about empirical matters, subject to verification by familiar means, its invocation becomes one more rhetorical gesture, like appeal to the will of God. Ghiraldelli: When you talk about social sciences or social philosophy or political philosophy, it seems to me that you talk for your country. Chomsky talks about politics for other countries. Ok, you might remind me, Paulo, Chomsky says what the Marxist Left wishes to hear. This is what I think happens. But Dewey spoke to the world. And now you are in the same place, with the responsibility of Dewey. I would like to hear you talk more about the many social problems of the world. For example, you do not speak out about the American blockade against Cuba. Rorty: I think that the blockade of Cuba by the US is a big mistake, one of many my country has made. But, although I publish occasional pieces on current political controversies, I do not see that I have a mission to talk about

Richard Rorty and Philosophy of Education


all such controversies. I think Chomsky is a very useful critic of American foreign policy, but perhaps too inclined to think that everything Washington has done in the last fifty years was for the worse. Unlike Chomsky, I think the US was right to wage the cold war against the USSR. I wish we could have waged it without supporting Allende, without killing millions of Vietnamese, and without blockading Cuba. But big wars make for big mistakes. Ghiraldelli: In philosophy of education we teachers still need to talk about the truth. If you say in the classroom, I will not tell the truth, students will be confused and not learn. To avoid absolute truths, teachers need say: I am telling the truth, but there are other truths, and my truth is not The Truth. In a classroom this route will also end in madness: the teacher tells the truth but the truth is not the truth! Can you say something practical for teachers about this problem? Rorty: Id tell them that the kind of issues that philosophers discuss under the heading of The Correspondence Theory of Truth are too remote from most of the questions they are interested in to be worth their time. You dont have to have a view about the nature of truth to figure out which assertions are true and which false, any more than you have to have a view about the nature of goodness to have a view about which wars are good and which are bad. Ghiraldelli: Alberto Tosi Rodrigues (Universidade Federal do Espirito Santo), Leoni Henning (Universidade Estadual de Londrina), and I have translated your books Achieving Our Country and Against Bosses into Portuguese (published by DP&A Editora in Rio de Janeiro). My conclusions from these books is the following: The United States has an industrial and military complex, and there is also another America, a land of freedom and democracy. The first is real, the second is a dream and sometimes real. If I am right, your utopia is not a utopia without a picture. Your picture, your model is America, the dream. But you have criticized Habermas, saying that the utopia is a dream without a picture. Habermas has a utopia, the ideal community, in politics and in epistemology. You have a utopia, but you do not specify it because if you specify it you put something on the table that Adorno did not want: a dumb Angel sees your utopia and constructs it. Adorno, you, and I know that utopias are good in dreams, but in real life they are dangerous. You talk about America using a romantic and historicist form. But sometimes you mention America and United States together. For example, the democracy that you believe is the American democracy, that is, the democracy existing in the United States. Or can you dream of a Democracy without USA or America? Rorty: Its not entirely a dream. The US, by fits and starts, occasionally moves closer to utopia. We no longer have separate washrooms for whites and blacks,



for example. As of June 2003, we no longer have anti-sodomy laws. My utopia is simply the US (or Brazil, for that matter) without much economic or social inequality, and without so much unnecessary suffering. Thats not just a dream. Some countries have already diminished such equality and suffering to a startling degree. I dont see that utopias are intrinsically dangerous. They only become dangerous if they are not spelled out in terms of concrete proposals for reform. Ghiraldelli: In your article, Education: Socialization and Individuation, you seem to think that primary/secondary education has one purpose or aim (socialization) and that higher education, when not professional training, serves another (individuation). One of the things that strikes me about this approach is how close it is (in structure, not content) to Plato and how far it seems from the kind of approach I would expect from someone like Dewey. It reminded me (once again, in structure, not content) of Platos Republic, where Plato sets out a kind of early socialization/education for the merchant/craftsmen (making them mannerly, easily governed, and conventionally moral) and a different kind of education with a different purpose for the guardians. Given your sympathies with Dewey and the critical eye that you often cast on Plato, I was surprised to note what I take to be a similarity between your view of education and Platos view. Are you in sympathy with the kind of approach to education that Plato outlines, shorn of Platos commitment to a kind of correspondence theory? Or am I wrong about this structural similarity between you and Plato? Rorty: Plato thought that mathematics was central to higher education, whereas I think poetry is. I do not see that our views have much in common. He thought math important because he made the distinction between knowledge and opinion to which I referred earlier, and which I reject. Ghiraldelli: In Education as Socialization and Individualization you contrast two different purposes of secondary education and college education. Secondary education socializes the young into acceptance of their countrys ideals and historical efforts to achieve them. College education offers the opportunity for individualization by challenging students to think for themselves about the possibility of further future progress, and about their own roles that they could take in making progress. But while Dewey, as you say, did not approve of rampant freedom in primary/secondary schooling, he did argue strenuously that the capacities for thinking which are desired in adults must be developed in childhood. Specifically, he wanted children to already be learning the skills of independent thought that serve social problem-solving, so that when they become adults, they are not ill-prepared for citizenship in a democracy. College could not be then, and cannot be now, the universal extension of childhood for four more years so that individualization could be super-added

Richard Rorty and Philosophy of Education


on top of socialization. Dewey viewed socialization for a democracy as constituative of the gradual development of individualization. Have you fallen into anti-Deweyan dichotomy between socialization and individualization? Rorty: Its not much of a dichotomy. Its like the distinction between gathering the raw materials (lower education) and using them in a construction project (higher education). The greater the number of free, individualistic, self-creators in a society, the more likely democracy is to work. Ghiraldelli: You have repeatedly urged that we ignore Deweys many efforts to build a theory of human learning and warranted assertibility on experience. You are deeply suspicious of Deweys use of experience and yet you do not fail to see that, for Dewey, an account of how people actually accomplish intelligent problem-solving must involve experience. If we do indeed drop experience and set aside Deweys claim that all problem-solving arises from experiencing the world as doubtful, how do you propose to replace experience? Problem-solving and learning (and the sophisticated tools like language that we use in this process) are rooted in some interconnection, some relation, between humans and nature. Can the needed ingredients that Dewey built into his loaded concept of experience be extracted and re-labeled? Do you have a substitute term to offer? Rorty: The causal relations between humans and nature seem obvious. I dont see why they need to be supplemented by experiential relations. I dont see why we need a substitute term for experience. If we do need one, maybe life would do? Ghiraldelli: Alvin Neiman, in his essay, Pragmatism: The Aims of Education and the Meaning of Life asks: But what can be said to the essentialist who holds out for ultimate meaning, for meaning beyond meanings, for the possibility of growth beyond growths? The history of pragmatism reveals several different strategies of response. First, one finds, especially in Rorty, but also perhaps in Dewey, a response in terms of sense and nonsense. A second response comes in terms of relative health/maturity. A third can be understood in terms of an overarching theory of sense or rationality. Professor Neiman goes on to discuss how Dewey deals with this problem, but concerning your views he simply states Rortys irony, infected as it is through contact with continental irrationalism too often ends up sounding like nihilism and a little further on, After essences it is not easy to take seriously the essentialists concern for ultimate meaning. One sure way to fail is to replace, as Rorty does, the essentialists simplistic view of language as mirror with an equally misguided idea of language (literally) as a tool. One thing I would like to know is whether you think that Neiman has fairly represented the kind of



response that you would make to someone who continues to press for some form of overarching meaning of life? Does your view sound like nihilism? I know that in numerous places you have tried to respond to charges of relativism. Is there a relation between the kind of relativism you discuss and nihilism? If not, how would you describe the difference? If so, then do you think your views lead to nihilism? Why? If they do, would that stand as an important criticism of your work? Finally, do you believe, as Neiman seems to, that your account of language must result in a failure to take the essentialists concern for ultimate meaning seriously? Rorty: If believing that there is no point in trying to find a single meaning for all human lives makes me a nihilist, then I am indeed a nihilist. But I dont see what is nihilistic about the romantic idea that people should try to create themselves, and thereby produce an enormous diversity of human lives. I dont see how you can have both romantic freedom and essentialism. Ghiraldelli: In Hermeneutics, General Studies, and Teaching you suggest that the goal of general studies should be that no student has just one hero, and that there is enough overlap between the students sets of heroes to permit the students to share their romantic sensibilities. Does this goal require us to restrict, to some extent, the number of heroes we are prepared as educators to countenance? It seems that the list couldnt be infinite, or even terribly long, if we expect most students to have some overlap concerning their sets of heroes so as to be able to have interesting conversations with one another. Do you have any idea about how we might set about limiting such a list? Adoption of the canon might be one way, but there may be others as well, and I would like to know your view on this. Rorty: Each teacher has his or her own list of heroes, and can be counted upon to do his or her best to exhibit their virtues to the students. There is no need for the teachers to get together and agree on a list. The teacher-student relation should be personal enough so that it is not mediated through curriculum committees.


Michael A. Peters

The end of literature is at hand. Literatures time is almost up. It is about time. It is about, that is, the different epochs of different media. Literature, in spite of its approaching end, is nevertheless perennial and universal. It will survive all historical and technological changes. Literature is a feature of any human culture at any time and place. These two contradictory premises must govern all serious reflection on literature these days. J. Hillis Miller, On Literature.

1. Introduction This essay examines Richard Rortys classification of Jacques Derrida as a private ironist whose work as philosophy or literature has no public utility but rather fosters private forms of self-creation. Against Rortys reading of Derrida, I follow Derridas self-description of his own project as an enduring and constant interest towards that writing which is called literature. If, as Derrida argues, the history of literature cannot be separated from the history of democracy; then literature constitutes an act of education1 for it gains its political impetus from democratic rights, including freedom of speech. At the same time literature in its modern sense develops in the late seventeenth century and only becomes institutionalized in the modern research university. Literature supersedes philosophy as the unifying discipline, responsible for Bildung and the development of cultural self-definition in terms of a national literature. This chapter concludes, following J. Hillis Miller, by raising the question of the end of literature and its implications for democracy and education.2 If, as Miller argues the end of literature is at hand, what does this mean for the modern university, for higher education and, indeed, for democracy?3 2. Rortys Neopragmatism and Post-Nietzscheanism Richard Rorty, the American neopragmatist philosopher, is one of the few thinkers whose work provides a bridge between Anglo-American analytic philosophy and the Continental tradition, especially contemporary French philosophy. Increasingly, Rorty has provided a bridge through his distinct contribution and revitalisation of American pragmatism that has come to value



Dewey over his other heroes, Wittgenstein and Heidegger.4 In Philosophy and Social Hope Rorty restates one of the guiding themes of his work during the last decade: post-Nietzschean European philosophy and American pragmatism agree in attempting to jettison a set of philosophical distinctions appearance/ reality, mind/body, scheme/content, finding/making, morality/prudence and the vocabularies built around them, vocabularies that since Plato, have dominated the history of western philosophy, culture and education.5 PostNietzscheans and pragmatists are kindred spirits, Rorty suggests, in wanting to put aside this set of binary dualisms or oppositions; they are alike in wanting to abandon the language of metaphysics. To give up this language is to give up truth as correspondence and science as accurate representation of the world as it really is. It is to put science and philosophy on a par with the rest of culture and to adopt a hermeneutical model of conversation as constituting the limits and possibilities of discourse and agreement. It is also to give up on the notion of morality that springs from the notion of the essence of human nature. Indeed, giving up this language of philosophical distinctions is to give up once and for all, all versions of foundationalism linguistic, moral, and epistemological and representationalism. Like Nietzsche and Heidegger, Rorty is antagonistic to Platonism considered as the philosophical embodiment of these metaphysical dualisms and, like Dewey, he thinks that the vocabulary built around these traditional distinctions has become obsolete and an obstacle to our social hopes. The only substantial difference between Nietzsche and Dewey, which is emblematic of the differences that separate European post-Nietzscheans and American pragmatists, concerns the ideal of democracy based on egalitarian ideas. Rorty argues that those who follow Nietzsche (Derrida, Foucault) have nothing to offer apart from the critique of capitalism they offer no vision or utopia and have become bogged down in cultural politics. Dewey, by contrast, tries to build a consensus on the need for specific reforms based on a vision of what the nation can become. In these Deweyean terms the process of education, at least at advanced levels, is for Rorty, above all, a process of re-description, of inventing a new vocabulary to overcome the worst features of our past and of ourselves a perpetual self- and cultural-overcoming. For this, he says, we do not need philosophers but rather we need poets and dreamers. In abandoning the distinction between appearance and reality, we deprive philosophy of the privileged place it has occupied in our culture until very recently. On Rortys view, once we have accepted this view, philosophers have little left to do than tell edifying stories. Such stories about ourselves and what a nation has been and should try to be are not attempts at accurate representation, but rather attempts to forge a moral identity.6

Acts of Education: Rorty, Derrida, and the Ends of Literature 3. Rorty on Derrida, Philosophy, and Literature


On the basis of this brief account, it would appear that Rorty would share much in common with Derrida, at least on Rortys view. Apparently, both wish to jettison a series of distinctions that have ruled philosophical discourse for almost three millennia. Both seem to adopt a more relaxed view of philosophy, in the words of Rorty, as part of a hermeneutical conversation about ourselves.7 Philosophy as a kind of writing contributes best to culture when it attempts to edify us with stories that help to narratively re-craft the nation and ourselves8 essentially philosophy-as-pedagogy rather than philosophy-as-epistemology.9 It is doubtful whether Derrida would subscribe to this description or whether he would accept Rortys label of him (and himself) as an ironist. Rorty has written on Derrida with great authority and perspicacity. His account of deconstruction10 is one of the clearest, both as a form of criticism and of its relation to radical politics. Rorty works on Heidegger as the key thinker to open up Derridas philosophical toolbox. Deconstruction, like Abbau and Destruktion in Heideggers philosophy, are part of a much more extensive philosophical vocabulary, such as trace, diffrance, achi-criture, supplement, that signal a genuine post-metaphysical philosophy. What is more, he suggests that Derrida performs the service of teaching us how to free Heideggers thought from the nostalgia, sentimental pastoralism and nationalism which led him to Nazism. By freeing him from his Nazi tendencies, Derrida thus appropriates Heidegger for the Left. Rorty is persuasive when he suggests that post-human philosophers like Heidegger and Derrida hint that new political possibilities will emerge when we accept that the language somehow exceeds man. Deconstruction thus becomes a perpetual self-destablizing activity that constantly whittles away at the metaphysical ideas presupposed by humanistic ways of reading the traditional literary canon.11 As he writes: Those who practise deconstructive criticism typically see themselves as taking part in an activity which has much more to do with political change than with the understanding (much less the appreciation) of what has traditionally been called literature.12 Rorty suggests that the term deconstruction, as a movement broader than literary criticism, functions as a gesture in the direction of a groundswell of suspicion and impatience with the status quo among the intellectuals13 in the same way that socialism functioned as similar gesture toward an earlier groundswell for the preceding generation. Rorty has written extensively on Derrida and in glowing terms.14 Yet Rorty, while an astute and careful interpreter of Derrida, has become increasingly uncomfortable with aspects of Derridas work. Rorty reveals this dis-



comfort in a symposium designed to fathom how Derridean deconstruction and Rortyian pragmatism might contribute to articulating a non-foundationalist democracy: What pragmatists find most foreign in Derrida is his suspicion of empiricism, and naturalism his assumption that these are forms of metaphysics, rather than replacements for metaphysics.15 And he continues: In my own writing about Derrida I have urged that we see him as sharing Deweys utopian hopes, but not treat his work as contributing, in any clear or direct way, to these realization of these hopes. I divide philosophers, rather crudely, into those (like Mill, Dewey and Rawls) whose work fulfils primarily public purposes. I think of the NietzscheHeidegger-Derrida assault on metaphysics as producing private satisfactions to people who are deeply involved with philosophy (and therefore, necessarily, with metaphysics) but not as politically consequential, except in a very indirect and long-term way.16 This was not the first time that Rorty had described Derrida in terms of the private. In Contingency, Irony and Solidarity, he classifies Derrida as a private ironist, denying that his work has anything to contribute to liberal political life. In a footnote to an essay Habermas, Derrida, and the Functions of Philosophy,17 a reworking of material not included in Contingency, Irony and Solidarity, Rorty explains that the ironist, which contrasts with metaphysician is a nominalist and historicist who strives to retain a sense that the vocabulary of moral deliberation she uses is a product of history and chance of her having been born at a certain time in a certain place. The metaphysician, by contrast, believes that there is one right vocabulary of moral deliberation, one in touch with reality (and, in particular, with our essential humanity). In Contingency, Irony and Solidarity Rorty argued that: Heideggers and Derridas only relevance to the quest for social justice is that, like the Romantic poets before them, they make more vivid and concrete our sense of what human life might be like in a democratic utopia a utopia in which the quest for autonomy is impeded as little as possible by social institutions. They do little to justify the choice of such a utopia or to hasten its arrival. But they do show how the creation of new discourses can enlarge the realm of possibility. They thereby help free us from the picture that gave rise to the philosophy of subjectivity in the first

Acts of Education: Rorty, Derrida, and the Ends of Literature


place the metaphysicians picture of something deep within us, at the center of every human self, uncaused by and unreachable by historically conditioned processes of acculturation, something that privileges one vocabulary of moral deliberation over all others.18 For Rorty, the public and the private comprise two incommensurable vocabularies that cannot be reconciled. As Mouffe puts it, one where the desire for self-creation and autonomy dominates, and another one where what dominates is the desire for community.19 Rorty says that at the core of Contingency, Irony and Solidarity is a distinction between private concerns, in the sense of idiosyncratic projects of self-overcoming, and public concerns, those having to do with the suffering of other being beings. This distinction is emphatically not the one with which some readers (notably feminist critics, such as Nancy Fraser) have identified it: the distinction between the domestic hearth and the public forum, between oikos and polis.20 For Rorty, there are no guarantees for liberal politics; there is no viewpoint that can demonstrate the superiority of democracy; and, the project of Kantian-inspired philosophers like Habermas who seemingly want to derive a universalistic moral philosophy justifying liberal democracy from the nature of language is just simply wrong-headed. We should, according to Rorty, separate Enlightenment liberalism from Enlightenment rationalism, since democracy depends not on a theory of truth but rather on a set of pragmatic moves designed to change our democratic practices by persuading people to build a more inclusive community. As Mouffe puts it: For Rorty, it is through sentiment and sympathy, not through rationality and universalistic moral discourse, that democratic advances take place. This is why he considers books like Uncle Toms Cabin to have played a more important role than philosophical treatises in securing moral progress.21 On Rortys understanding Derridas works, both his earlier philosophical works and his more recent literary ones, have little to do with democracy or education. They have little if any public utility at all, for they should be seen primarily as concerning private projects of self-creation and overcoming. 4. Derrida, the University and the Ends of Literature Perhaps, the clearest and most direct statement of Derridas on his own project comes from a text that he presented in 1980 at the opening of his thesis defence based on published works.22 In this work entitled The Time of a Thesis: Punctuations23 he indicates that around 1957, in a context marked by



Husserls thought, he registered his first thesis topic as The ideality of the literary object and he says that his most constant interest, coming even before my philosophical interest I should say, if this is possible, had been directed towards literature, towards that writing which is called literary.24 Derrida directs himself not only to the question what is literature? but also to what is it to write?, that is: When and how does an inscription become literature and what takes place when it does? To what and to whom is this due? What takes place between philosophy and literature, science and literature, politics and literature, theology and literature, psychoanalysis and literature.25 As J. Hillis Miller remarks, literature for Derrida has no pure originality or hidden essence.26 Any piece of language can be read as literature but to do so involves that complex set of conventions, rules, institutions, and historical features that are both within the text and within the mind of the one who performs the act (a speech act) of taking a given text as literature. He continues: More broadly speaking, just what, for Derrida, are the rules, conventions, and institutions that define the literary character of the text? Derrida gives a specific and somewhat surprising answer to that question. Literature as an institution in the West, says Derrida, is linked to democracy and to freedom of speech, the freedom, in principle, though never of course in fact, to say or write anything, or to perform any symbolic act. This means that literature, as an institution in the West, has a quite short history. It arose with Western-style democracies, in the late seventeenth century, and would disappear if they disappeared.27 This passage explains why, in part, Derrida takes issue with Rortys description of his work and focuses precisely on the private/public distinction and way he applies it to his work as literature. He wants to dispute Rortys assessment not only on the distinction between philosophy and literature but also the role that literature plays in relation to the private/public distinction: Literature interests me, supposing that, in my own way, I practise it or that I study it in others, precisely as something which is the complete opposite of the expression of private life. Literature is a public institution of recent invention, with a comparatively short history, governed by all sorts of conventions connected to the evolution of law, which allows, in principle, anything to be said. Thus, what defines literature as such, within a certain European history, is profoundly connected with a revolution in law and politics: the principled authorization that anything can be

Acts of Education: Rorty, Derrida, and the Ends of Literature


said publicly. In other words, I am not able to separate the invention of literature, the history of literature, from the history of democracy.28 If the invention of literature cannot be separated from the history of democracy and the connection between the development of a literary culture, a reading public, and civil society or the so-called public sphere is a claim commonly made then, the connection must also be made between literature, democracy, and education, for literacy, national literatures as vehicles for cultural self-definition of the nation-state, and civil liberties, including freedom of speech, were associated with the gradual development and extension of a universal education. Indeed, the concept of literature in the modern sense only becomes established with the appearance of the research university in the early nineteenth-century, when the study of literature becomes institutionalized and the mantle of the responsibility for Bildung is handed over from philosophy to literature. In this regard, Bill Readings29 provides us with an apposite argument and some relevant lines of inquiry.30 He maintains that three ideas of the university dominate the modern era: the Kantian idea of reason; the Humboldtian idea of culture, and; the techno-bureaucratic idea of excellence. The idea of the modern university, historically speaking, is to be identified with a set of founding discourses initiated by Kant, the Humboldt brothers, John Newman and others. While the University of Excellence is still modern in the sense that it is both regulated and unified through the force of a single idea, nevertheless, it significantly breaks with the set of founding historical discourses of the university. Humboldts project for the foundation of the University of Berlin in 1810 is decisive for the modern university up until the present day. Once the idea of reason is replaced with the idea of a national culture, the university becomes pressed into service of the state. For the German idealists the unity of knowledge and culture has been lost and needs to be reintegrated into a unified cultural science (Bildung). The university is assigned the task of producing and inculcating national self-knowledge and as such becomes the institution charged with watching over the spiritual life of the people. The British, under John Henry Newman and Matthew Arnold, substitute literature for philosophy as the central discipline of the university, and, therefore, also of national culture. The possibility of a unified national culture is defined explicitly in terms of the study of a tradition of national literature (or canon, as in the case of the United States). Literature and the function of criticism is entrusted with a social mission in the Anglo-American university. In England, the idea of culture gets its purchase in opposition to science and technology, partly as a result of the threat posed by industrialization and mass civilization. Newman gives us a liberal education as the proper function of



the university, which educates its charges to be gentlemen, not through the study of philosophy, but through the study of literature. Readings argues that For Arnold, as for Eliot and Leavis after him, Shakespeare occupies the position that the German Idealists ascribed to the Greeks: that of immediately representing an organic community to itself in a living language.31 In The Idea of a University F. R. Leavis proposes that all study should be centred in the study of literature, centred in the seventeenth century and based on Shakespeare as the natural origin of culture. Leavis believes that the University of Culture can provide the lost center and heal the split between organic culture and mass civilization. In Literature: A Lecture in the School of Philosophy and Letters delivered in 1858, Newman32 explicitly positions as the site of the development both an idea of the nation and the study of literature as the means of training national subjects.33 Newman suggests that A literature, when it is formed, is a national and historical fact; it is a matter of the past and present, and can be as little ignored as the present, as little undone as the past.34 National language and literature defines the character of every great people, and Newman speaks of the classics of a national literature by which he means those authors who have had the foremost place in exemplifying the powers and conducting the development of its language.35 The grand narrative of the university, centered on the cultural production of a liberal, reasoning, citizen subject, in the wake of globalization, is no longer credible. As Readings argues: The University ... no longer participates in the historical project for humanity that was the legacy of the Enlightenment: the historical project of culture.36 Excellence has become the last unifying principle of the modern university, yet the discourse of excellence brackets out the question of value in favor of measurement and substitutes accounting solutions for questions of accountability. As an integrating principle excellence is entirely meaningless: it has no real referent. 5. Democracy, the University and the Ends of Literature In the wake of globalization, Readings argues the university can no longer sustain the historical project of culture that was the legacy of the Enlightenment. The idea of the university has been superseded by the empty ideal of excellence. Yet this thesis requires closer examination. National literatures do not easily disappear. They were always written outside the university though they may have been canonised within it. Readings is arguing that insofar as the university depended upon the idea of a national literature, if we contemplate the end of national literature then we also contemplate the end of the idea of the university that is, the university based on a single sustaining idea providing for its unity. But the question of the end of national literatures

Acts of Education: Rorty, Derrida, and the Ends of Literature


requires as much scrutiny as the thesis that proclaims the end of literature. We might argue that national literatures in fact have become more resistant to the pressures of globalization through a series of internal strategies that admit greater differentiation of the canon through decolonization, engenderization, multiculturaization all examples of why the study of literature has collapsed into cultural studies. And even cultural studies, now pass in some circles, is internationalised, commodified, and institutionalized.37 Yet the process of ending is also a point of historical transformation. As Miller points out by reference to Derrida, the new regime of telecommunications is bringing literature to an end by transforming all those factors that were its preconditions or its concomitants.38 As he explains further, The concept of literature in the West has been inextricably tied to Cartesian notions of selfhood, to the regime of print, to Western-style democracies and notions of the nation-state, and to the right to free speech within such democracies. It is precisely these conditions and the old inside/outside dichotomies on which they are based that are problematized by the new regime of telecommunications. It is this sense of the public, and by implication, the private, that Derridas The Post Card gently ironizes: the post card is both an oldfashioned remnant of the rapidly disappearing culture of handwriting, print, and the postal system as well as a proleptic anticipation of the publicity and openness of the new communications regimes.39 In this paragraph, Miller provides the following commentary, germane to our purposes: Derrida expresses his sense of the way the new regime of telecommunications brings about the decline of the nation state (about which we hear so much these days) as well as a transformation of the individuals sense of identity and privacy. Derrida stresses the strange combination of solitude and a new kind of being with others of the person using a computer to reach the World Wide Web, as well as the breakdown of traditional boundaries between inside and outside brought about by new communication technologies. As this epochal cultural displacement from the book age to the hypertext age has accelerated we have, in Derridas view, been ushered ever more rapidly into a threatening living space. This new electronic space, the space of television, cinema, telephone, videos, fax, e-mail, hypertext, and the Internet, has profoundly altered the economies of the self, the home, the workplace, the university, and the nation-states politics. These were traditionally ordered around the firm boundaries of an inside-outside dichotomy, whether those boundaries were the walls between the homes privacy and all the world outside or the borders between the nation-state and its neighbours. The new technologies invade the home and the nation. They confound all these inside/outside divisions.



Thus, the new teletechnologies, not only bring the Other into our private spaces, they undermine traditional ideas of the self as unified. They work to dislocate not only traditional ideas of the unified self, but also other unities, and especially the unities of our institutions the national literature, the university, democracy. They also disassemble the idea that the self is unified precisely because it occupies a secure spatio-temporal location in the grid or system of reference, anchored by a particular culture-bound place, often nationalist sentiments of one-culture, one-language, one-nation, sometimes a more encompassing and less politically threatening single national culture with its territory, its boundaries, and its ethnic and cultural unity. As Miller acknowledges, Derrida calls this set of assumptions the ontopolitopologique and he quotes and translates Derrida as follows: a new and powerful advance in the technological pros-thesis that, in a thousand ways, ex-propriates, de-localizes, de-territorializes, extirpates, that is to say, in the etymological and therefore radical sense of this word, uproots, therefore de-etymologizes, dissociates the political from the topological, separates from itself what has always been the very concept of the political, that is, what links the political to the topical, to the city, to the territory, to the ethno-national frontier.40 These are themes that Derrida has now consistently developed elsewhere.41 For instance, in an interview with Richard Beardsworth, he talks in Nietzschean terms of democracy to come. As Beardsworth observes the promise of democracy is not the same as either the fact of democracy or the regulative idea (in the Kantian sense) of democracy. On Derridas account of diffrance we might expect deconstruction to challenge, perhaps, heavily centralist and structured representationalist models of democracy and to favour a greater recognition of difference and the Other; possibly even, in conjunction with these emphases, an emphasis on the promotion of local autonomy and greater global world democracy. In response to Beardsworth, Derrida comments upon the ways technologization of politico-economic processes alter the structure of decisionmaking and diminish the sites on which the democratic used to be situated. He writes: The site of representation and the stability of the location which make up parliament or assembly, the territorialisation of power, the rooting of power to a particular place, if not to the ground as such - all this is over. The notion of politics dependent on this relation between power and space is over as well, although its end must be negotiated with. I am not just thinking here of the present forms of nationalism and funda-

Acts of Education: Rorty, Derrida, and the Ends of Literature


mentalism. Technoscientific acceleration poses an absolute threat to Western-style democracy as well, following its radical undermining of locality.42 In relation to the disappearance of the sites of democracy and the way that both assembly or parliament is being transformed by the media, Derrida suggests these issues do not sound the death-knell of democracy, but rather make it imperative that we begin to rethink democracy from within these conditions.43 The future of democracy must be thought in global terms. It is no longer possible to be a democrat at home and wait to see what happens abroad. In emphasizing the call to a world democracy, Derrida suggests the stakes of a democracy to come can no longer be contained within frontiers or depend upon the decisions of a group of citizens or a nation, or a group of nations. The call is for something new which is both more modest and yet also more ambitious than any overriding concept of the universal, the cosmopolitan or the human. Derrida distinguishes the difference between a rhetorical sense of democracy as politics that transcends borders (as one might speak of the United Nations) and what he calls a democracy to come which exhibits itself in decisions made in the name of the Rights of Man insofar as this term is at the same time alibis for the continued inequality between singularities. He indicates that we need to invent new concepts concepts other than that of state, superstate, citizen, and so forth for what he has called the New International. He says: The democracy to come obliges one to challenge instituted law in the name of an indefinitely unsatisfied justice, thereby revealing the injustice of calculating justice whether this be in the name of a particular form of democracy or of the concept of humanity.44 Elsewhere Derrida explains what he means by deconstructing the foundations of international law.45 While international law is a good thing, it is nevertheless rooted in the western concept of philosophy as he says, in its mission, its axiom, in its languages and the western concept of state and sovereignty, which acts as a limit. In order to rethink the international order and think of a democracy to come, we must deconstruct the foundations of international law and the international organisations built upon it. The second limit is that the international organisations are governed by a number of powerful, rich states, including the United States. Derrida is attempting to deconstruct the political tradition not in order to depoliticize but in order to interpret differently the concept of the political.


MICHAEL A. PETERS So justice and gift should go beyond calculation, which doesnt mean that we shouldnt calculate, we should calculate it as rigorously as possible but there is a point or a limit beyond which calculation must fail ... And so what I tried to think or to suggest is a concept of the political and of democracy which would be compatible, which could be articulated with these impossible notions of the gift and justice.46, 47

The complexity of the question is overwhelming. Yet we might say with Derrida just as we must rethink the concepts of the political in the face of a political project of globalization and the new regime of teletechnologies, we must also rethink, re-invent, re-juvenate, the ideas of literature and the university, and their relations, in this new context. Against Rorty, I argue that Derrida helps us to rethink politics in an age of globalization. He does so by contemplating literature and the university as institutions tied to modern notions of the nation-state, freedom and democracy, a set of interrelations that are deeply undermined in terms of their unitary purposes by the new regime of teletechnologies that break open the traditional distinctions and dichotomies that govern the closed systems and institutions of the modern period.

1. The notion of acts of education is a play on Jacques Derridas Acts of Literature, ed. Derek Attridge (London: Routledge, 1992). Parts of this essay draws on Michael A. Peters, The University and the New Humanities: Professing with Derrida, Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 3 (2004), pp. 4157. 2. J. Hillis Miller, On Literature (London: Routledge, 2002). 3. Miller, On Literature. 4. Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979). 5. Rorty, Philosophy and Social Hope (London: Penguin, 1999). 6. Rorty, Achieving our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth Century America (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998). See also Michael A. Peters, Achiev-ing America: Postmodernism and Rortys Critique of the Cultural Left in Richard Rorty: Education, Philosophy and Politics, ed. Michael A. Peters and Paulo Ghiraldelli, Jr. (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002), pp. 187203. 7. Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. 8. Rorty, Achieving our Country. 9. Michael A. Peters and James D. Marshall, Wittgenstein: Philosophy, Postmodernism, Pedagogy (Westport, Conn.: Bergin & Garvey, 1999). 10. Rorty, Deconstruction, in The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism: From Formalism to Poststructuralism, ed. Raman Selden (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 193. 11. Rorty, Deconstruction, p. 194.

Acts of Education: Rorty, Derrida, and the Ends of Literature


12. Ibid., p. 193. 13. Ibid., p. 196. 14. See also Rorty, Is Derrida a Transcendental Philosopher? in Essays on Heidegger and Others: Philosophical Papers, Vol. 2 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 119128. 15. Rorty, Remarks on Deconstruction and Pragmatism, in Deconstruction and Pragmatism, ed. Chantal Mouffe (London and New York: Routledge, 1996), p. 16. 16. Ibid. 17. Rorty, Habermas, Derrida, and the Functions of Philosophy, in Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers, Vol. 3 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 307. 18. Rorty, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 310311. 19. Chantal Mouffe, Deconstruction, Pragmatism and the Politics of Democracy, in Deconstruction and Pragmatism, ed. Chantal Mouffe (London and New York: Routledge, 1996), pp. 1318. 20. Rorty, Habermas, Derrida, and the Functions of Philosophy, pp. 307308. 21. Mouffe, Deconstruction, Pragmatism and the Politics of Democracy, p. 3. 22. For other autobiographical takes on his intellectual life, see Jacques Derrida and Geoffrey Bennington, Jacques Derrida, trans. Geoffrey Bennington (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999). 23. Derrida, The Principle of Reason: The University in the Eyes of its Pupils, Diacritics: A Review of Contemporary Criticism 13 (Fall 1983), pp. 320. 24. Derrida, Telepathy, Oxford Literary Review 10 (1988), p. 37. 25. Ibid., pp. 3738. 26. J. Hillis Miller, Derrida and Literature, in Jacques Derrida and the Humanities: A Critical Reader, ed. Tom Cohen (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 6263. 27. Ibid., p. 63. 28. Derrida, Remarks on Deconstruction and Pragmatism, in Deconstruction and Pragmatism, ed. Chantal Mouffe (London and New York: Routledge, 1996), pp. 7980. 29. Bill Readings, The University in Ruins (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996). 30. This section on Bill Readings is drawn from Michael A. Peters, The PostHistorical University? Prospects for Alternative Globalisations, Jahrbuch fr Bildingsund Erziehungphilosophie special issue on Globalisierung: Perspektiven, Paradoxien, Verwerfundgen (1999), pp. 105124. For very different approaches to the question of the university, see also Derrida, The Principle of Reason: The University in the Eyes of its Pupils and Jrgen Habermas, The Idea of the University: Learning Processes, New German Critique 41 (Spring-Summer 1987), pp. 322. On Kant and Humboldt in relation to the university, see Timothy Bahti, Histories of the University: Kant and Humboldt, MLN 102 (1987), pp. 437460. On Readings, see The University in Ruins: Essays on the Crisis in the Concept of the Modern University, Oxford Literary Review 15 (1995). On the future of the university, see Michael A. Peters and Peter Roberts, University Futures and the Politics of Reform (Palmerston North, New Zealand: Dunmore Press, 1999).



31. Readings, The University in Ruins, p. 78. 32. John Henry Newman, The Idea of the University (New York: Holt, Rhinehart, and Winston, 1968), pp. 201221. 33. Readings, The University in Ruins, p. 76. 34. Newman, The Idea of the University, p. 230. 35. Ibid., p. 240. 36. Readings, The University in Ruins, p. 5. 37. The world-renowned Birmingham Cultural Studies Center was closed by the Vice Chancellor as a result of the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise. 38. J. Hillis Miller, Stay! Speak, speak. I charge thee, speak. An Interview by Wang Fengzhen and Shaobo Xie, Culture Machine (2000), http://culturemachine.tees. 39. Ibid. 40. Derrida, cited in Miller, Stay! Speak, speak. I charge thee, speak. 41. See for example Jacques Derrida and Bernard Stiegler, Echographies of Television: Filmed Interviews, trans. Jennifer Bajorek (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2002). 42. Derrida, Nietzsche and the Machine: Interview with Jacques Derrida by Richard Beardsworth, Journal of Nietzsche Studies 7 (Spring 1994), pp. 766, at p. 57. 43. Ibid., p. 58. 44. Ibid., pp. 6061. 45. Derrida, Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International, trans. Peggy Kamuf (London: Routledge, 1994). 46. Ibid. 47. It is these themes that Derrida pursues more fully in The Politics of Friendship, trans. George Collins (London: Verso, 1997), where he suggests that the Greek tradition of friendship considered as the most fundamental social relation holds the promise of democracy and a better social order, once it has been divested of all the patriarchal figures of friendship which prescribe fraternity. By making friendship (and enmity) the sign of his configuration of politics, Derrida bypasses the liberal tradition of political thought dominated by accounts of the social offered by the emphasis of Hobbes and Rousseau on the contract. Starting from Montaignes O my friends, there is no friend, Derrida explores the promise of democracy on the basis of the linkages and associations among the terms friend, familial, and fraternalist: a democratic politics that goes beyond the principle of fraternity.


Tarso Mazzotti
Teaching, politics, dramaturgy, music, painting, and sculpture are all techniques or arts1 that aim at altering in some way the beliefs, values, and attitudes of people. However, when we take each of these activities as objects, we perceive that this statement is problematic. In fact, they try, with higher or lower levels of intentionality, to alter the attitudes, values, and beliefs of their audiences. However, there is a huge controversy concerning the efficacy and efficiency the effectiveness of the acts of the educators, politicians, and artists in general. This controversy is supported by the critic of the following modal statement: it is possible to modify beliefs, values, and attitudes of learners, voters, political opponents, multiple audiences. Being a modal statement, it says nothing about how that is possible, since it only affirms something presumably verifiable. If a target belief is altered, then the statement is confirmed, even though the explanation presented cannot be corroborated. If a literary work mobilizes the passions of the reader who decides to change convictions about something, can we say that this effect corresponds to what was intended by the author? Certainly not, since the author may not have intended to modify those beliefs, but other beliefs instead that remained unaltered. This limitation upon the intentions of the author, and his or her dependence upon the readers, or listeners, shows that there are serious obstacles for the pertinence of this modal statement. To say that we can modify beliefs, values, or attitudes is vague. We know by experience that many times we are able to teach, or that our writings can lead others to certain reflections because our own reflections can be affected by our readings, by the debate about some issue, by the appraisal of some work, as well as by learning. This conviction is questioned every time we try to go from the possible to the necessary, since we cannot affirm that a given procedure necessarily leads to this or that teaching or political objective, for example. In fact, the author can have one purpose, while the audience, in the whole or in part, apprehends something totally different. 1. Of the (Im)possibility of Modifying Values, Attitudes, and Beliefs The critic of the modal statement, of the effectiveness of the technical acts, assumes, then, its role. There are, at least, two skeptical attitudes: (a) the one



that sustains the impossibility of intentionally modifying values, beliefs and attitudes of others, because we cannot apprehend what they are in themselves and by themselves; (b) the one that sustains that people are taken by forces that can not be totally apprehended, what prevent some intentional actions from producing the intended alterations. The first skeptical attitude presumes the existence of something subjacent, a human nature in itself and by itself (in the proper sense of absolute), a nomen, that moves people. The effectiveness of an educative action, for example, is explained by the coincidence the conjoined incidence of the speaker with the audience, in a process of mutual identification. In this case, the listeners do not modify their beliefs, values, and attitudes by the action of the speaker; they only reinforce an idea they already agreed with and that the speaker expressed in a more complete way. This is the situation presented in the Paradox of Meno and in its solution: through the questions posed by Socrates, what is already in the respondents mind is exposed (drawn out) by his answers, turning explicit what the respondent already unconsciously knew. The second skeptical attitude considers the unconscious to be inaccessible or almost inaccessible. In this perspective, the analyst, as the speaker who reflects in the specular sense what the patient transmits to him, can eventually help the patient to reach consciousness of the hidden forces that move him. But the analyst does not modify those forces; he only helps the patient to understand what is going on within him. The task of the patient can be facilitated by the experience and the acuity of the analyst, but he does not modify the attitudes, beliefs, and values of the former. In fact, that is not an educative task. It does not lead the patient from an estate of unconsciousness to one of consciousness known by the analyst. The patient learns to analyze his unconscious material and, through this way, he can or cannot modify himself. This is the position of Freud and Freudians. A variation of this position states that the unconscious is found in language (langue), which talks through us. Thus, language, by its own structure producing discourse, expresses the unconscious; it uses the person to express itself. We may know languages surface, but its deep structure is resistant to any rational discourse. I refer here to the position of Lacan, but also to a certain structuralism, in particular that of Lvy-Strauss. These skeptical positions, although they seem recent, find shelter in the criticism of the effectiveness of discourse presented by one of the great rhetoricians: Gorgias de Leontine. Gorgias affirms the huge power of rhetoric, but he also exposed its limits. Consider the presentation of fundamental ideas of Gorgias as Sextus Empiricus bequeaths us.2 There, Gorgias affirms that the discourses are not the things that subsist,3 for words are not things: they limit themselves to present things, therefore they do not have the power to completely modify the listeners, since they need to understand what was said.

The Rhetoric Turn


The presentation needs to be consistent with what the audiences consider pertinent, otherwise the discourse will be ineffective. The speaker is only able to modify the judgments of the audiences when he knows what they think and feel, so that he can make use of the appropriated persuasion technique. We have, thus, the limit of speakers action: he is unable to modify what is nonnegotiable to the audience. Whence, Gorgias and others concluded that true knowledge about the world is impossible, since the discourse will always be a replica of what is already known. Lets examine, then, these limitations. 2. Science of the Limits of the Art of Persuading The appropriate technique for discourses in the assembly (that deliberate about the future), for judicial issues (that deliberate about the past) and for the reaffirmation of values of a social group (epidictic), were presented in a systematic way by Aristotle in the Rhetoric. In that work Aristotle presents a knowledge, or science, of the art of persuasion, saying that rhetoric has the purpose of finding the persuasive in each situation. Rhetoric is a science, a reliable knowledge that orientates the work of the speaker in a search for that discourse capable of moving the audience in the desired direction. If the speaker does not attain her purpose, she should review her discourse because, being a technique, it is not and cannot be precise or rigorous, but is instead conditioned, contingent, and unpredictable. Every technique is a permanent adjustment between what was idealized and what is done or can be done. We just introduced a reliable knowledge about techniques in order to stress the limits of human action. We have here a very strong affirmation: the knowledge of the incompleteness of the art is condition of its science, of its knowledge. Knowing it is contingent, we also know what is liable to systematization and teaching. The speaker who knows the limitations of her art knows that she does not persuade any and every audience, but only an audience to which her discourse is adequate. Moreover, even when talking to a friendly audience, she can make a mistake and ruin everything. This gives us, immediately, the conviction that there is no universal audience, because it is not feasible to have a universal speaker who is understood by every and each listener. We speak to particular audiences, supporting our discourse on the values, beliefs, and attitudes of each one of them, even when we intend to speak to a supra-particular or universal audience. That is, even we intend to speak to gods, we speak to the people who consider those gods. The same occurs with the fine arts, the expressive arts. In the Poetics, Aristotle shows that the poets in the Greek sense speak to a given public and aim at mobilizing its passions. The most complete form of these arts is the tragedy, for producing the purification, or catharsis, of social circumstances that need to be known, to become conscious. Therefore, that form facilitates



changes in attitudes, values, and beliefs of the audience in relation to the narration, even though this does not occur with everyone. However, this is a special case. If we still appreciate the Greek tragedies, this is not due to the fact that they transcend their time, but because they deal with themes common to the Occidentals, since they are members of this historical community. In fact, our senses are educated in and for this community.4 Certainly, we can be moved (ex movere) by other dramaturgy, other literature, or other forms of expression, but, for this to happen, we need to get somehow involved in the ways of life of the human groups that produced them, we need to be educated in it, otherwise we will not apprehend its sense. Whence, education fundamentally aims at learning the senses, the shared meanings, through the negotiation of differences. But, if there are limits for the effectiveness of the discourses, and the speaker should negotiate meanings with the audience, could there be a discourse that escapes from this constraint? 3. Negotiation of the Premises of Syllogisms Generally, it is considered that the negotiation of meanings occurs in the rhetorical situation in its diverse instances of realization. From this point of view, the negotiation of meanings is the expression of the fragility of rhetoric, since its effectiveness is strongly conditioned by the social groups, by the particular audiences. It is affirmed, then, that the proper purpose of Philosophy and of the Sciences is to create discourse that persuades anyone, to be the expression of an entailment of reasoning that is beyond all social groups. This conception, which is dominant, considers that the arguments sustained in the analytical syllogisms are free from social traits and idiosyncrasies. Let us examine the pertinence of this reasoning. Aristotles Anterior and Posterior Analytics present the technical instruments for exposition that requires a certain independence from ndoxa.5 This is the case of discourse used for teaching an established knowledge, in which the speaker talks and the listener can only have the attitude of an apprentice, accepting what is enunciated.6 Since the analytic syllogism is used for teaching established knowledge, a question remains: how was this knowledge constituted? For Aristotle, reliable knowledge scientific knowledge originates from dialogue that seeks truth, in the dialectical situation exposed in the Topics and in the Sophistic Refutations. The statement that syllogistic (analytic) arguments are the ones that allow us to talk to a universal audience implies that the teaching situation applies to any exposition of knowledge already constituted. Still, according to the Greek philosopher, the only ones able to teach are those who know the causes or the principles of a science.7 In fact, a rigorous presentation, being an exposition of the known, is an art, a technique that

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requires rigorous systematization of its statements, connecting them in such a way that each one is necessary to the other, in order to guarantee the truth of what is taught. Being a technique, it is contingent, and therefore the limitations previously mentioned remain valid. Thus, even rigorous exposition is dependent upon the particular audience, since there is no way of presuming the existence of a universal audience. However, the form of analysis of the rigorous exposition is considered universal and, thus, presumes that each and every audience should admit it and comply with its rules. The rigorous entailment of thought, of arguments, has some starting-point that should be admitted by the listener: the axioms or postulates, the minimal meanings that should be admitted in order to learn a science. During the exposition of the teaching of that science, there is no place for dialectical debate, because the axioms were already established and therefore have to be accepted. Nevertheless, some obstacles are posed to the speaker. The greatest of them are the mistakes and fallacies according to Analytics which ought to be examined before exposition begins, in order to guarantee the perfect entailment of reasoning. The premises of the analytic syllogism were established through a debate that obeyed the rules of dialectic, of which rhetoric is a part. That is, the starting-points of the exposition of a science are negotiated among the persons considered as notable specialists in a given field of knowledge. At the time of the exposition or teaching of that science, all previous debate disappears and the entailment of thought is presented in its deductive or analytic form. We can already perceive that, in order to be established, the axioms were previously negotiated by a group of people; therefore, the premises of a syllogism are dependent upon that group. To comply with the correct form of inference is obligatory, and therefore it can be considered universally required for each and every valid discourse in rigorous contexts. The fact that the analysis of syllogisms can be improved exposes a fact: it is liable to modifications after disputes. Thus, although the entailment of correct reasoning should obey strict rules, these rules can be modified.8 Although they are universal at any given moment, they are not in themselves and by themselves universal and are not absolute, since they can be improved. Those rules are the result of a historically determined agreement. In this sense, and only in this, they are universal, because all the authorities in that field of knowledge, at that time, admit those rules: ndoxa. In addition, the evaluation of the premises of a discourse requires higher or lower level of rigor according to the destination or purpose of the discourse; that is, the situation or institution in which it occurs.9 In rhetorical discourse, whose purpose is to persuade, the premises do not need to be very well explained, because it will be hard for listeners to remember what was initially sustained. In this case, jumps, passages not demonstrated, are admitted because the audience is already persuaded of the



argumentative bases. The syllogism proper to rhetoric the enthymeme is characterized by this economy of passages, since it supports itself on what is already admitted by the audience. The enthymeme is not only brief, it is a selection of admitted statements that permit sustaining some thesis under judgment.10 The audience judges arguments, trying to verify if the speaker commits the logical fault of petitio principii. This fault has been categorized as merely belonging to logic (analytical); however, as Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca11 argue, it is better categorized as argumentative. When we are in the ambit of analytical exposition, that takes and develops formal statements, whose elements are self-referent symbols, there is no reason for talking about petitio principii. This fault is exposed in dialectical and rhetoric argumentation when others, the audiences, demand that such and such premise is shown or demonstrated, whenever they do not seem to be sufficiently clear or demonstrated.12 We have, then, that the fault petitio principii is the preferential target of questioning, and the negation of what was presented becomes the focus of the debates. Without agreement about the statements that sustain an argument, there is no point in continuing the debate. Since the elimination of the petitio principii requires debate, allowing the establishment of the characteristics of the issue at stake, the most complete freedom for the contestants is necessary. The degree of freedom, however, depends on the institution where the debate takes place. In the case of Law, for example, the existent agreements closely restrict what can be argued. In the legal forum, the lawyer can not argue against the laws and norms, though he can produce opposite discourses as theses to be debated in the institutions that establish or re-establish the laws. In the case of the scientist, she organizes her investigation work by supporting it on what is already, in the ndoxa of his field of work, its rules and norms. Scientists rarely question the premises of their science and when they do it in a plausible and convincing way they produce significant alterations in their theories. Other institutions, however, do not admit the contestation of its premises, as in the report of Rubenstein13 about the nature of Jesus Christ. Among philosophers we also find institutional limitations if and when a philosophical system becomes doctrine. A good example is what occurred with Karl Marxs system, that originated several Marxisms as doctrines that require dogmatic adhesion. The necessary condition, though insufficient, for the development of knowledge, more properly of human intelligence, is the freedom to examine any doctrine, philosophy, or statement. No authority can be invoked, except those of the argumentative techniques: analytic, dialectic, and rhetoric. These constitute, in fact, the instrument the organon common to those who argue. I include the Rhetoric in the Organon of Aristotle.

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In short, the activity proper to humanity is speaking which aims at modifying the values, beliefs, and attitudes of others, or reaffirming them, as well as organizing some activity. Speaking is effective through proper techniques according to the institution in which the speaker and the audience maintain a discursive relation. The examination of the premises of arguments is established by the institutions that determine its level of freedom. In all of them some premises are considered basic and indisputable, while others can be questioned. Thus, the greater the freedom of the members of an institution, the greater is the probability that some people will question the admitted principles, since they will not be censored for this behavior, as long as they follow the rules appropriate to each kind of issue. It is not admissible, for example, to appeal to the enthymeme in a mathematical demonstration, and the rules of mathematical demonstration can be refused in a judicial debate. However, it is perfectly feasible to find mathematical statements that are not supported by demonstrations but rather by analogies that are formalized afterwards and developed as demonstrations, as shown by George Polya.14 A lawyer can make use of an argument that seems mathematical in order to sustain his cause. Such an argument, however, can be rejected as improper to the cause. If the opponent succeeds in convincing the auditors (judges), the near-mathematical argument and even the mathematical argument loses its argumentative value and the cause is lost. But, the judges might accept the argument and, in this case, the victory is not of the mathematical or almost mathematical statement, but of the judges adhesion to it. Nevertheless, as we already noted, the syllogism has constraining rules so strong that it is seen as a machine that controls the speaker and obliges the audience to admit what it states. 4. Syllogism: A Machine that Discards the Speaker and Imposes itself on the Audience Since any argumentation supports itself by some kind of syllogism, we can say that the syllogism is essential to reason, as Hegel sustained. In fact, Hegel affirms that the syllogism is the reasonable, and everything reasonable,15 placing it at the very center of his philosophical system. This system, as we know, constitutes a discourse about being, an ontology, something that seems distant from what I have been presenting. However, as I will try to show, some comprehension of the Hegelian system will improve what I have been presenting. What does Hegel affirm in the presentation of his system? Hegel tells us that the other sciences, those that do not deal with thought as such, can rely on given principles, because they were constituted from these principles, which do not need to be demonstrated. The Science of Logic, the science of first philosophy, cannot rely on established principles, since it is supposed to establish them. This is so not for some insufficiency, some lack of



knowledge or lack of investigation, but for being the start of first philosophy. In fact, first philosophy deals with what is primary in thought, and this is not exposed or taken by consciousness because it is immediate, undetermined, and infinite. All thinking begins and develops from what is primary in thought, which is alien to the realm of the other sciences, being treated only by philosophy. What is a given to the other sciences is not so for philosophy, because its purpose is to examine being (Sein) in itself and by itself (absolute), what is primary in thought. Being in itself and by itself is undetermined, infinite, and immediate, and is therefore is determined by negation: it has no limits in time and space, it does not present any mediation (or middle term that allows going from one point to another). Hence, being is limited in time and space by non-being, which is the medium term that leads to the being-there (Dasein), that presents the limits resulting from its mediation by non-being: this is middle term to the primary syllogism of the Science of Logic. The unfolding of the Hegelian system can not discussed here, but it is necessary to remember its doctrine of the syllogism. Since reason is the syllogism and the syllogism constitutes rationality, we see that Hegel not only recognizes the best of Aristotle, but also presents his contribution to the theme. This contribution is exposed when he alters the order of the figures (schemes) of the syllogism, presenting them in form of another syllogism that encompasses all of them. 5. The Alterations Effectuated by Hegel The first figure of the syllogism presented by Aristotle has as major premise the Singular, as middle term the Particular, and concludes itself in the Universal (S-P-U). This scheme is the syllogism of presence or qualitative, in the Hegelian nomenclature (184). In the reorganization presented by Hegel, this figure remains in the first place. The figure Universal-Singulars-Particular (U-SSS-P), which in the Aristotelian order is the third, moves to second place, becoming the middle term of the qualitative syllogism (183) which is the theme of the paragraphs that we are summarizing. This is the figure of the contingent syllogism (184186). In the third position, or conclusion, is the figure Particular-Universal-Singular (second in the Aristotelian order, 187). Thus, Hegel presents a syllogism among the figures of the syllogisms that has the form: S-P-U o U-SSS-P o P-U-S.16 From this syllogism among the figures of the syllogism, it gets to the reflexive syllogism (190) and, from this to the syllogism of necessity (191), from which is reached the object (194ff). Now, from this conjoined, the syllogism of quality is the major premise, the reflexive is the middle term, and the syllogism of necessity is the conclusion that determines the object, restarting the process from there.

The Rhetoric Turn


Such alterations and interpretations of the syllogism and its figures permit the development of the Hegelian dialectic, which is that of the spirit that knows and which the philosopher exposes. The figures of the syllogism that are presented separately in Aristotle, and in all sciences of logic after him, are in a flux, in an interchange that permits us to say that being is always in a conceptual devir (becoming). This devir is the expression of the general syllogism of thinking, the rational. The detailed exposition of this affirmation requires a detailed study. Here I only intend to show that the syllogism and its figures are essential in the Science of Logic of Hegel. It is important, however, to say that for Hegel the content of knowledge of logic is the syllogism in its several moments, which exposes the form and the content of thinking of the logos, the logic. But Hegel did not deal with rhetoric, except sporadically in the Esthetic, in which he recognizes its value even though it cannot be incorporated into rigorous rationality. Its syllogisms are always defective since they do not expose completely what they sustain.17 Besides, there is another reason why rhetoric is distant from the philosophical system of Hegel. Rhetoric has no place in the Hegelian system because in his system the speaker who uses the syllogism (the rational) is extra-human: the speaker is the Spirit (Geist). For Hegel, the one who takes consciousness of himself is not the person, but the Spirit (Geist), who uses humanity in this task. Thus, the worldhistorical individual (the hero) when trying to achieve his particular interests effectuates, without knowing it, the interests of the Spirit. Other people recognize in the hero what they effectively wish and follow the hero, even though they do not know why. In following the hero they perform what the Spirit has already accomplished in itself and by itself. Therefore, education of children and youngsters can only be formal, because is immediately external to each one. The essential education has already been determined by the hero, who is the real educator of the people, for having constituted its Spirit, the Spirit of the People (Volksgeist). The formation of children can only be the conformation of each one to that Spirit and, according to each social class, to achieve the subsection of the natural in the culture (Kultur, Volksgeist). Each social class has its particular interests and therefore each one needs the education that is proper to that class in order to guarantee, in society as a whole, the harmony established by means of the conflicts mediated by the State (Stat, Volksgeist). Those who can reach science, the higher level of learning proper to the sciences, are educated by learning, in Greek, the works of Greek poets, making possible the most complete alienation of the learners individuality, a condition for the transformation of the animal into a person of culture (Kultur). The other classes obtain its conformation to the Spirit of the People through religion.18 Assuming that the ndoxa is the Spirit of the People, the best speaker is the one who expresses it, persuading all those who have already effectuated



their trajectory towards the objectivities proper to their social classes. That is why rhetoric is a chapter of Aesthetics, not of the Science of Logic. As the art of persuasion, rhetoric is marked by the audience and the audience here is a people (Volks) in whom the Absolute Spirit makes its experience in the world. The Hegelian speaker expresses the Spirit of the People and the educator is the historical individual. Education is the conservation of the Spirit of the People and to conserve is to produce, according to Hegel. The speaker expresses what is inside; therefore, his technique is one of the expression, of the exposition of what he or she is: the historical individual or someone educated, alienated in the Spirit of the People who speaks through him or her. Thus, the circle is closed: the new comes from the Spirit (Geist), everything else is the effectuation of what was attained by the Spirit; it is an application of the rational in the world, its objectivities. Just as in Platos Gorgias, according to the interpretation I present here, we can not surpass or produce something that is not in the ndoxa, now viewed as Volksgeist. Marx, a disciple of Hegel, proposed an inversion of the Hegelian system, by showing that the Spirit of the People is produced in and by the social relations of production that institute being in each historical moment. For Marx, such moments are not linked to one another, except in the trajectory of the Occident.19 In this particular trajectory of humanity, the radical separation between the worker and tools and the means of work was created. This fact characterizes the means of capitalist production, whose foundation is the separation of concrete work the work done by individuals that is objectified in the value of use from the abstract work, the average work socially necessary to produce something. Capital consists of the goods that are immediately presented to each one of us and that hide their origins in the social relations of production. Marxs social theory is a criticism of theories of political economy, not a discourse made by the social classes themselves; it is a work of thought about other thoughts and composed in an aporetical way. It seeks, in fact, to constitute a science, a reliable knowledge about the social relations of production, setting aside other aspects of human and non-human life.20 The sciences are thought of as an aporetical process, more or less endless, not intending to establish a first philosophy, which is viewed in a negative way since the materiality of the sciences is simply that of the instruments for rigorous thinking. Such instruments can and should be improved, but they do not refer to something beyond the conditions of production of knowledge. The social classes have their thinkers, their ideologists, who express their fundamental interests. For this reason, it is a task of science to surpass those particular, regional thoughts, trying to apprehend the way by which they oppose and articulate their social interests. This procedure of criticism is what was pointed out by Aristotle in Topics and Sophistic Refutations: to expose the contradictions and the aporias in order to verify what statements should be

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kept, what should be excluded, as well as those that can be combined, as Aristotle did in Metaphysics. The social classes necessarily move themselves by their interests, according to Hegel and Marx, since they are all in a social arena moved by their specific interests; these interests are always in conflict but can sometimes be reconcilable. For Hegel, the administration of the inevitable conflicts of interests requires a State (Staat) capable of apprehending the several determinations of the social classes by operating above the classes so that it can achieve the interest proper of the Volksgeist, which is reason itself, and hence the State is rational. For Marx, the State is not the incarnation of Volksgeist, but the administrator of the conflicts of interests in name of the social classes which, in a given historical moment, dominate the social life and represent their interests as the expression of the rational, as universal. In Marx, the working class is equivalent to the historical individual in Hegel. Thus, the working class presents itself as the expression of rationality, what the bourgeois class was in a given historical moment. The fundamental interests of the working class are expressed in the regulation of the socially necessary work to produce goods. As an essential part of that regulation, individual daily working hours must be reduced to the minimum in relation to the productivity of the socially necessary work. This directive is presented as the rationality required for the life of each and every one. Only in that way, Marx believes, everyone will have time for free development, since time is the field of human development.21 Thus, from Marxs perspective, the social classes try to persuade the others that their own interests are everyones, presenting their discourses as being beyond each class. But how, then, can it be claimed that the discourse of the working class is universal? In fact, the universality of working class discourse expresses a conception of history, in which that class is presented as the legitimate and necessary successor of the bourgeois class. The rhetoric of the working class affirms itself in the conception of progress, even though, in more than one place, Marx, as its spokesperson, has said that such progress cannot be taken for granted and, if it does not occur, a new barbarism would be established. In Marx, the efficient speaker expresses something that is present in the social classes conceived as the result of the social relations of production and not by the objectification of the Spirit (Geist), as in Hegel. The speaker, the leader of the working class, is supposed to understand the necessary the fundamental interests of the class he or she represents in order to organize discourse and lead the others to the achievement of whatever is already present in potency. The modifications to beliefs, values, and attitudes require the reliable, correct knowledge of what is effectively necessary for each class. Certainly, in Marx, it is necessary to apprehend the true interests of the



working class, since the other classes do not represent rationally necessity in this historical moment. Marx tries, then, to constitute a knowledge that is undeniable, even to the working classs opposition, by criticizing existent knowledge about political economy and offering a justification for the domination of the working class. In these positions summarily presented, the effectiveness of the speaker results from the immanent in social life, presumed or real. Although we have not examined this issue, we can understand that structuralism and much of what is called post-structuralism supposes that the speaker is spoken by the language, the culture, or some extra-human thing.22 In this case, once more rhetoric should be set aside, because the speakers excellence expresses the social structure as only a mediator. The syllogism, the entailment of thought, is made by something other than situated and contingent people. The syllogism is presented as a machine that speaks through the speaker and constrains the audience. The constraint of the speaker and of the audience by the apodictical logos is clearly expressed in modern logic that presents itself as calculation and as the only valid mode of reasoning. The recovery of rhetoric begins by exposing the failure of this point of view, affirming that, from the beginning, the axioms and postulates of logic (analytical) are due to a process of negotiation. This negotiation requires obedience to the rules of dialectic and its counterpart, rhetoric, and these are instruments that can be improved. From this standpoint we have the criticism of the philosophy that intends to be propositional, as we will see next. 6. Surmounting Propositionalism in Philosophy Lets try to apprehend something that was escaping us: Aristotle, Hegel, Marx, and many other philosophers tried to answer questions that they posed themselves or that were posed to them. Thus, philosophy was either confounded with the sciences, or presented as a rival of sciences when trying to ground its propositions on something determinable. This was the case of Marx, who sought to reestablish a scientific political economy by surpassing its regional statements as determined by its theorists social place. To answer philosophical questions by sustaining propositions is to turn philosophy into a repository of answers, or to affirm its grounds in the propositional. The best criticism of propositionalism was only radically achieved by Michael Meyer,23 a disciple of Perelman, when he showed that the function of philosophy is not to provide answers, but to problematize. However, philosophy has avoided problematizing the notion of the problem, seeking answers in the affirmation of some foundation. These foundations can be the Spirit (Geist) in Hegel; the Cartesian Cogito; Marxs social classes; the structure for

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structuralism; etc. What is sought is an agent, something that sustains the discourse, that supports the discourses premises. Sometimes the discourse is spoken by the Spirit, as in Hegel; sometimes it expresses the interests of the classes, as in Marx; sometimes it is the language that speaks through people, as in Lacan; or it is the unconscious that disposes of people, in Freudianism. Everyone seeks for a foundation that silences debate around the problematic. Some get support from some particular science, while others seek to be rivals to the sciences when they fail to provide the elements for whatever is wanted. The perception of the problemic could only occur with the development of the sciences and by the recovery of rhetoric in the middle of the 20th century. The recuperation of rhetoric by Perelman and Toulmin has the same origin: the procedures proper to logic are calculations. Such calculations intend to substitute for humanity in the production and development of knowledge; or, paraphrasing Quine,24 logic should substitute for the scientist by conducting thought in an automatic way, like a machine that in fact it is. However, there is an insoluble problem with propositional logic: the material implication or the conditional. In conditional judgments, every time that the antecedent is true, regardless of the consequent, a true conditional (implication) is obtained. For example: let cows are herbivorous be p, and cows fly be q; so p o q is valid. That is, (if) cows are herbivorous, (then) cows fly. Obviously, some logicians (Quine, for example) will say that we should abandon the expression if ... then, letting the form dominate the thought and leaving out the material content; but in scientific practice this is an absurdity.25 Attempts to completely formalize the Law, trying to make decisions automatic, faced similar problems Trying to overcome these difficulties, a movement was initiated to examine the so-called natural logic from which all logics get their support. In this examination, Perelman on one side, and Toulmin on the other, reconsider Aristotle. This rethinking of Aristotle in the 20th century, without the doctrinal limits of the Scholastics, permitted a review of the role of rhetoric.26 Now we can say that we are in a rhetoric turn, which implies taking into account that every discourse any argument is made considering the speaker, the audience, and the discourse. Or, as Meyer says (1999, pp. 289ff), we consider the ethos (speaker), the pathos (audience), and the logos (discourse). The function of rhetoric is the negotiation of the meanings that allows reducing the distance between the speaker or author and the audience or reader. Persuasion is always a process of negotiation, since the pathos is never passive but the judge of what is presented. The same occurs with the expressive arts: literature, dramaturgy, music, and fine arts. One of the implications of the rhetoric turn is that any discourse, including that of science, is marked by the rhetoric condition: the exposure and negotiation of the meanings in a proper context (ndoxa), and of the audience that always judges what it reads, listens, and sees.



In the case of the sciences, the rigor of their discourse follows rules established by their constitutions. Such rules, controlling what should be followed by everyone, were instituted by the verification of mistakes, frauds, and fallacies committed. Thus, to learn a science is, above all, to apprehend the rules by which that science produces its discourse about the relevant questions, derived from the negotiation of meanings proper to that science. These rules involve argumentative techniques developed over centuries and condensed as logic, as dialectic with its criteria for induction and/or statistical inference and, on the whole, as methodologies. To educate someone in the sciences is to turn him into a member of a community that obeys its norms of discourse and morality. Fraud, for example, is a lack of morality, not a logical or inferential lack. Fraud should be punished as criminal and it cannot be easily forgiven, while someone who commits a mistake in reasoning or accidentally produces something questionable is not morally blamed. The sciences institute their collective as the subject of knowledge and in this collective they build on their conquests and failures. We can say that, in the sciences, is necessary to recognize that there is a subject of discourse, a collective that speaks or the subject-of-the-knowledge that produces and reproduces knowledge. This collective is not a inhuman being, but a group of people who work in determined social conditions. To be integrated into this collective, one is required to undergo an education that requires the modification of ones values, beliefs, and attitudes. In opposition to those who deny the pertinence of scientific education to the formation of students, claiming that it would leave aside morality, we affirm that it requires a rigorous morality. This morality demands that the members of the community restrain their inferences (methodology); that they never commit fraud; that they respect the liberty of the others; that they never criticize a position making use of arguments against the person (ad personam). Those rules imply the examination of discourses, regardless of who pronounce them. These norms lead to a strong decentering of the individual in relation to herself and to social groups she belongs to, like family, church, political party, and others groups external to the scientific community. Being contingent, a group of scientists depends on its members, who need to be always watchful about the intervention of values, beliefs, and attitudes that would destroy its norms. This is a social situation, in which values are ratified (epiditic discourses) and theses, procedures, and the conduct of its members are judged (discourses for the assembly and for the tribunal of scientists and philosophers). Here, knowledge is presented and evaluated according to the rules of logic, reviewed by logicians. Knowledge is constituted in this hostile-friendly dialogue whose rules are found in the dialectic, a method of argumentation by equals who search to establish knowledge. This set of procedures aims at developing a science and maintaining the cohesion around a minimal set of norms, which favor group existence and stability.

The Rhetoric Turn 7. Does the Same Occur with Groups of Philosophers?


It surely does. The difference that appears in the history of groups of philosophers, of the philosophical schools, is the search for rules that sustain them in a fundamental way that stops debate, by proposing a first philosophy. But, should a first philosophy sustain itself in this way? Definitely not. First philosophy can only be problematological and, as such, does not offer answers; it exposes problems and, therefore, discards the subject. It is a movement of thought that challenges established knowledge, and this can only occur in situations of freedom. This attitude emerges in any field of knowledge. It is not necessary to find the foundation for the problematological, since it is posed by the presence of problematic answers. It is not done in an institution only for philosophers, but in the totality of human life. In this sense, first philosophy is the examination and systematization of the problematic, a systematic discourse about the problem of the problem. Thus, in a group of philosophers, the same demands of the hostile-friendly dialogue of the scientists are posed as well. The same rules imposed on scientists should be obeyed, with the difference that, in philosophy, it is a matter of examining the verisimilitude, the reasonable, the apodictic answers presented by others. It is in this sense that philosophy is either a problematizer or is dogmatic. To recognize the philosophical attitude as problematizing leads us to ask about method. That is what we will treat next. 8. The Rhetoric Situation, Negotiation of the Predicates, of the Premises It is not the method that discourses as in Discourses on Method but rather the people who question answers. Questioning is a negotiation of meanings and, as such, is open, dependent on agreements that are confirmed or rejected. In the rhetoric situation, these meanings are negotiated. Negotiation is initiated by the establishment of what is, what those involved in the dialogue consider to be something, based on an examination of the institutive discourses in order to verify if they commit the argumentative fallacy of petitio principii. To say what is something is to establish its predicates or categories, a process that is carried on by contradicting each answer presented. Immediately, predication is made through the processes of transference of meanings from what is already known to what is not known yet. In other words, predication is made by metaphorization that condenses analogies. Metaphor is not, then, a mere ornamental figure of language, as it was considered for a long time, but it is rather cognitive, expressive, and praxiological. Metaphor is cognitive, for approximating the not similar or comparable, by attributing certain predicates of one object to another through an analogical relation.27 Metaphor is expressive, for exposing the desirable or undesirable for a social group. Metaphor is praxiological, for orienting what



should be done.28 For example, in the statement the child is a delicate plant a human situation is taken as a natural one. This metaphor also establishes a rule of conduct: the child, just like a delicate plant, needs the sun, the warmth of affection, of love, as well as feeding; that is, the child should be very well taken care of. Once admitted, a metaphor that sustains the arguments has established an agreement that will determine the entailment of reasoning. It is necessary to emphasize, once more, that metaphor is not superficial to language. Metaphor operates in the cognitive, expressive, and praxiological semantic realms, coordinating discourse by the assimilation of novelty to what is already known. 29 We can observe the role of metaphors by apprehending the structuring they make and how they convince or persuade audiences. Such analyses can not be made by any mechanism, by any calculation, as it occurs in the logic of predicates, for example. If it were feasible to mechanize the production and identification of metaphors, we would already have an algebra of literary theory and of philosophy of science. The identification of metaphors requires rhetorical analysis, exposing what the speaker and the audience consider established, as well as the reasons through which both dispute meanings. The techniques that try to affect people and their beliefs cannot be apprehended only by logical analysis, because logical analysis can only expose the entailments of discourse. Logical analysis is certainly relevant, since it detects fallacies and mistakes committed by the speaker or writer. However, discovering the effectiveness of each technique that tries to modify, in some way, the attitudes, beliefs, and values of humanity requires rhetorical analysis that assumes, from the beginning, the relations among the speaker, the audience, and the discourse through which they negotiate their differences. Rhetorical analysis, then, permits to overcome the aporia established by the modal statement we know that it is possible to modify the values, beliefs, and attitudes, since the explanations presented are inconsistent with the rules of inference rigorously established by logic. That practical certainty is not, therefore, liable to validation by some logic of the statements. Only when we recognize the rhetorical situation we can sustain a non-apodictical explanation, which is the locus of the reasonable. 9. Final Considerations From our certainty, given in our experience, about the possibility of modifying peoples attitudes, beliefs, and values, we can not reach apodictic, categorical certainty. In fact, the modal statement says much and nothing. Overcoming this conceptual limitation is possible through the recognition that we are always in a rhetorical situation, a counterpart of the dialectic proper to any human group. Thus, knowledge is validated through the observance of argumentative rules established through history and maintained through a constant dialogue among

The Rhetoric Turn


the members of social groups. The specific difference between a lay group and one of scientists or philosophers is the conceptual critical apparatus recognized as necessary in the construction and communication of knowledge. The critic of the modal statement of the effectiveness of techniques aimed at changing attitudes, values, and beliefs requires the rhetorical analysis that make us aware of operating in the contingent, and thus exposes the precariousness of the arts. This contingency is not, in fact, exclusive to social techniques, because in all techniques we find limits posed by the particularities and singularities of the situation. Hence, the pragmatist affirms that we are always rehearsing to do something in a perfect and complete way, but we never achieve perfection. Similarly, explanations are also rehearsals and, therefore, fallible. In fact, explanations of failure are found at the very center of the production of theories, since they are also fallible and liable to improvement. Rules for success are needed, but this task requires abandoning the apodictic by affirming the problematic. The recognition of the necessity of those rules is expressed in the attitude developed in the sciences from their very beginning in the 16th and 17th centuries. When trying to explain the effectiveness of social techniques trying to modify peoples values, attitudes, and beliefs, it is necessary to remember that the Greeks were extremely skilled in such arts. Vernant and Vidal-Naquet remind us that the technique most developed by the Greeks was politics and this art had rhetoric at its heart. Rhetoric is today reconsidered and recognized in new circumstances. For example, the challenge to constitute reliable knowledge about the art of educating, for example, needs to be dealt with using the instruments of rhetoric. This topic has been reexamined, in 1958 by Perelman and Toulmin, and has since been investigated by many others, in particular by Michael Meyer, Nanine Charbonnel, Patrick Tort, and Marc Fumarolli.30 The reconsideration of rhetoric leads us to consider that the art of persuasion requires the recognition of the reasons that sustain resistance from the audiences. Such resistance should not be attributed to hidden forces that the subjects themselves do not know, since they usually have good reasons to maintain their beliefs, attitudes, and values, as Boudon showed.31 Moreover, it is recognized that although people are both rational and irrational, is not necessary to distinguish such qualities in many situations. In fact, the social actor (a group of students, for example) presents a specific rationality regarding certain objects, which is independent of individual contingencies. Teachers and other social agents speak to human groups from their own social place, proposing goals they establish for themselves, talking about what they think is better for those groups, and naturalizing their view about life. To admit that the social actor is rational, is not to propose some suprahuman rationality, but only to consider the social actor as reasonable, for having good reasons to believe what he believes, to act as he acts, though these reasons may be strange to us.



If we cannot teach virtue (the paradox of Meno), we can teach the argumentative and/or rhetorical techniques that foster informed dialogue among people and thereby attain public virtues. The city, the polis, in their clashes continually adjusts rules for conduct and establishes the virtuous through its mechanisms of persuasion and, in the limit, of dissuasion. Any doctrine that intends to permanently establish, once and for all, the human way of life, as Plato wished, risks instituting a dictatorship. In this case, the constant negotiation, the focus proper to rhetoric, ceases to be effective and instead becomes the reciting of a lesson (dogma) to which everyone should conform. Against this, Aristotle had already presented his conception of social life, of the constitution (politics), condensed in the metaphor of a homonoia, which was finely translated by Cassin32 as the image of the society as a picnic, where each person brings what he or she has and participates in the disorder obtained from this picnics hostile-friendly conviviality. It remains to recognize that the arts and knowledge of argumentative and rhetorical procedures need to be taught so that the students can have the minimal instruments necessary for the sort of dialogue and debate that avoids altercation. Surely, those techniques do not lack ethical values. Their values are those of democratic life, of the hostile-friendly dialogue, of the recognition of the other in her integrity. They are practical values that oppose those instituted by some wise person, for some order found in History, for something that transcends human life. Finally, in exposing the conditions for an explanation of the effort to modify beliefs, values, and attitudes of others, it is necessary to recognize that others can disagree with the alterations intended. In this case, a negotiation of differences is necessary. As to teaching, the negotiation of meanings requires that students dominate the techniques of rhetoric and argumentation in order to be active and conscious participants in the process. This is what John Dewey intended, by comprehending the logic and history of the sciences.

1. Art is the Latin translation of the Greek work technique; thus, they are synonyms and I use them as such. 2. Sextus Empiricus, Adversus Mathematicos, VII, 6587; cf. R. J. Hankinson, The Sceptics (London and New York: Routledge, 1995), pp. 251292. 3. See Gorgias, Sobre o no-ente ou sobre a natureza, segundo Sexto Emprico, translated by M. C. M. N. Coelho, Cadernos de Traduo 4 (Sn Paulo, 1999). 4. J-P. Vernant and P. Vidal-Naquet, Mito e tragdia na Grcia Antiga (Sn Paulo: Brasiliense, 1991). First published as Mythe et tragdie en Grce acienne (Paris: La Dcouverte, 1986). 5. Aristotle defines ndoxa as those opinions are generally accepted, which are accepted by every one or by majority or the philosopher i.e., by all, or by majority, or

The Rhetoric Turn


by the most notable and illustrious of them. Topics, 100 b24. 6. All instruction given or received by way of argument proceeds from preexistent knowledge. This becomes evident upon a survey of all species of instructions. The mathematical sciences and all other speculative disciplines are acquired in this way, and so are the two forms of dialectical reasoning, syllogistic and inductive; for each of them make use of old knowledge to impart new, the syllogism assuming an audience that accepts its premises, and induction exhibiting the universal as implicit in the clearly know particular. Again, the persuasion exerted by rhetorical arguments is in principle the same, since they either use an example, a kind of induction, or an enthymeme, a form of syllogism. Aristotle, Posterior Analytics I, 71 a110. 7. Metafsica de Aristtles 1, 981 b51, ed. Valentin Garca Yebra (Madrid: Gredos, 1990). 8. See for example Newton C. A. da Costa, Logiques classiques et non classiques: Essai sur les fondements de la logique (Paris: Masson, 1997), chapter 1, Raison, logique et langage. 9. Francis Wolff, Trois techniques de vrit dans la Grce classique: Aristote et largumentation, Hermes 15 (1995), pp. 4171. 10. See, among others, E. F. Dyck, Topos and Enthymeme, Rhetoric: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric 20(2) (2002), pp. 105117; Alain Boyer, Cela va sans dire. loge de lenthymme, Herms 15 (1995), pp. 7390. 11. C. Perelman and L. Olbrechts-Tyteca, Trait de largumentation (Brussells: ditions de lUniversit de Bruxelles, 1958). 12. Hegel says that The species of concept that is used to distinguish as clear, distinct and adequate, do not sustain themselves in the concept, but in psychology, while, under the name of the clear and distinct concept, have in mind the representation... Encyclopdie des sciences philosophique en abrg, trans. Maurice de Gandillac (Paris: Gallimard, 1959), 165. Hegel sets aside rhetoric to be considered only in the Esthetics, but the criterion presented here is the petitio principii. This is so because the audience can consider some concept presented as clear, distinct and adequate for other it is not for it. Surely, is more psychosocial than psychological, this in the usual sense of subjective, individual. 13. Richard F. Rubenstein. Quando Jesus se tornou Deus (When Jesus Became God) (Rio de Janeiro: Fisus, 2001). 14. George Polya, Generalization, Specialization, Analogy, in New Directions in the Philosophy of Mathematics, 2nd edn., ed. Thomas Tymoczko (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1998), pp. 103124. 15. Hegel, Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences, 181. 16. The notation o is here understood as conditional or material implication. 17. It seems feasible to review the doctrine of the syllogism in Hegel in order to identify the place of enthymeme and, with this, to affirm that rhetoric is found to be incorporated in Hegels doctrine of the syllogism. The qualitative syllogism (183 189) is analogous to the enthymeme by presenting something for an audience, negotiating its meaning. From this perspective, we can anticipate a dialectic circularity among the species of syllogisms: rhetoric, dialectic, and analytic. See Tarso Mazzotti and Renato J. Oliveira, Cincia(s) da Educao (Rio de Janeiro: DP&A, 2000). 18, See, for example, Bernard Bourgeois, La Pdagogie de Hegel in G. W. F. Hegel, Textes pdagogiques (Paris: J. Vrin, 1998).



19. Karl Marx, Manuscrits de 18571858, Grundisse (Paris: Editions sociales, 1980), vol. 1, pp. 410425. 20. Extraits de la posface de la seconde dition allemande, in Karl Marx, Oeuvres, conomie (Paris: Gallimard, 1965), vol. 1, pp. 552559. 21. Salrio, preo e lucro, in Os Pensadores. Karl Marx, ed. Victor Civita (Sn Paulo: Abril Cultural, 1974), p. 98. See also Salaire in Karl Marx Oeuvres. conomie (Paris: Gallimard, 1968), vol. 2, pp. 143169. 22. The notion that there is an extra-human operator that produces the human condition gets its support in that philosophy of mathematics known as formalism. For an introduction see Vladimir Tasi, Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); and Thomas Pavel, Le mirage linguistique: Essai sur la modernisation intellectuelle (Paris: Les ditions de Minuit, 1998). 23. Michel Meyr, Histoire de la rhtorique des grecs nos jours (Paris: Le Livre de Poche, 1999); Meyr, De la problematologie. Philosophie, science et langage (Brussells: Pierre Mardaga, 1986). 24. W. V. O. Quine, Mthodes de logique (Paris: Colin, 1972). 25. In light of this impasse, other logics searching for a solution to the problem of implication were developed. See A. R. Anderson and N. D. Belnap, Entailment: The Logic of Relevance and Necessity (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1975); as well as da Costa, Logiques classiques et non classiques. 26. Enrico Berti, Aristteles no sculo XX (Sn Paulo: Loyola, 1997); also published as Aristotele nel novecento (Gius: Laterza & Figli, 1992). 27. See for example Tarso Mazzotti, Analyse des mtaphores: une approche pour la recherche sur les reprsentations sociales, in Les reprsentations sociales: balisage dun domaine dtudes, ed. Catherine Garnier and Willem Doise (Montral: Universit du Qubec Montral, Grupe dtudes sur lInterdisciplinarit et les Reprsentations sociales, 2002), pp. 207223. 28. See Nanine Charbonnel, Les aventures de la mtaphore (Strasbourg: Presses Universitaire de Strasbourg, 1991); Charbonnel, Limportant cest detre propre (Strasbourg: Presses Universitaire de Strasbourg, 1991); Charbonnel, Philosophie du modle (Strasbourg: Presses Universitaire de Strasbourg, 1993); and Charbonnel, Mtaphore et philosophie moderne, in La mtaphore entre philosophie et rhtorique, ed. Nanine Charbonnel and Georges Kleiber (Paris: Presses Universitaire de France, 1999), pp. 3261. 29. See Mazzotti, Analyse des mtaphores: une approche pour la recherche sur les reprsentations sociales, and Charbonnels writings referenced in note 28 above; see also Patrick Tort, La Raison classificatoire. Quinze tudes (Paris: Aubier, 1989). 30. Marc Fumarolli, Histoire de la rhtoric dans lEurope moderne 14501959 (Paris: Presses Universitaire de France, 1999). 31. See Raymond Boudon, LArt de se persuader des ides fausses, fragiles ou douteuses (Paris: Fayard, 1990); Boudon, Les juste et le vrai (Paris: Fayard, 1995). 32. Barbara Cassin, LEffet sophistique (Paris: Gallimard, 1995).


Paulo Ghiraldelli, Jr.

1. Introduction The Political Right loves the word globalization. It is music to their ears, telling them that the future has finally arrived. We can now enjoy the good life, surrounded by computers, websites, new medicines, diet Coca-Cola, fast food, spas, and so on. The Political Left hates the word globalization. It is not the future; it is the devil, creating hunger, social distance, racism, wars, and so on. The Left forgot the expression American imperialism, presently speaking of globalization, but the U.S. is still the guilty party. Between the Right and the Left there is a third position which says that the globalization process is not necessarily a bad thing. Behind the apparent evil, some good is to be found. Our task is to grasp whatever good we can find during the globalizing process. I do not share in any of these positions, because I do not use the word globalization. My statements need not contain the word globalization, and so I need not figure out the meaning of such a word. Thus, I would hope that I am free to think beyond labels. The world in which I live is a world full of featherless bipeds who display complex behavior. I see them and believe that they see me. And I think we all believe that we are in communication processes. In these processes, I try to help my fellow human beings to acquire and enjoy many things that the Right loves and to avoid a lot of things that the Left hates. And I try to persuade them that nothing is necessarily either good or bad. A venerable and valuable idea that can help us all is education, I firmly believe. As a consequence of such beliefs, I am interested in philosophy of education, or better, philosophies of education, concerning our future. What can we say about education and the future, and about education and new technology? Can neopragmatism give a reasonable answer to the questions? I think so. 2. Authors and Theories There are philosophies that can be easily linked to theories of education, and rules or suggestions for teaching. There are also philosophies that resist the



very idea of the educational process. But, we should realize that it is impossible to use the word philosophy as something isolated from the word education. In this chapter, what I begin calling philosophy of education is something that I previously expressed in the form of practical procedures to aid teachers. Thus, philosophies of education appear here first as schemes of teaching which are specific types of theories of education. Only at a further point of this inquiry will philosophy of education in general be explored. This chapter discusses five philosophies of education from Johann Herbart, John Dewey, Paulo Freire, Dermeval Saviani (a Brazilian Marxist), and myself. I believe that my own neopragmatist position points to the future. Featherless bipeds (rational human beings) can take a number of lessons from these five perspectives on education. I cannot believe that a teacher should have only one philosophy and/or theory of education in mind, and I do not think that people are happier having only one perspective to guide their educational process. With this in mind, the construction of my neopragmatist theory and philosophy of education naturally occurred after many years of experimenting with several alternative views. In 1999, upon returning to Brazil from my year in New Zealand, I elaborated a system for explaining theories of education to my students, referencing Herbart, Dewey, Freire, and my own position (see Ghiraldelli Jr., 2000, 2001). But now this system appears to be just a preliminary sketch needing elaboration. Here, Herbart, Dewey, and Freire are handled in a more reasonable way; furthermore, I will show that, in my country and similar locales where the pedagogically received material is that of Eurocommunism, a deep division emerged between Marxist pedagogy and Paulo Freire (occurring mainly between 1979 and 1990). Because of this divide, the views of a Brazilian teacher, Dermeval Saviani, are now included (Saviani 1983). And, finally, my own position is here elaborated in a more didactic way than its appearance in a book organized by Michael Peters and myself, titled Richard Rorty: Education, Philosophy, and Politics (Ghiraldelli 2002). 3. The Stages of Learning Offered by Theories of Education Any sophisticated theory of education describes ideal stages of learning. The chart below arranges the five theories of education according to their comparable stages. This arrangement is understandably controversial. My North-American friend John Shook may say he does not recognize my John Dewey (see Shook 2002); my Neo-Zealander friends Jim Marshall and Michael Peters may find the Brazilian Marxist Dermeval Saviani to be an odd Marxist; some disciples of Paulo Freire might accuse me of making impossible comparisons; and my professors Richard Rorty and Donald Davidson might not agree that their writings could authorize me to do what I do. However, I

Neopragmatism, Philosophy of Education, and Our Future


would expect that public school teachers will grasp my message. My arrangement compares theories of education across five stages of learning:
Preparation Displaying

Activity and interest Selection of problems

Experience (Vivncia) Exciting themes

Social practice Constructing problems from social practices

Narratives Linking problems from narratives and problems from common life Discussion of problems by constructing new narratives. No epistemological hierarchy between narratives. Incentive for creating personal novels. Elaboration of personal novels articulated to national (or humans) novels Cultural, social and political action

Association, assimilation of concepts using comparison

Collection of materials

Getting cognitive Formulating and moral problems from community themes instruments


Hypothesis and/or conscientiousness heuristic perspective



Experimentation and/or judgment

Political action

Social practice

A. First Stage For Herbart, the teaching and learning process starts from preparation. It consists in a specific activity of the teacher: recalling to attention a previously learned subject. Dewey does not see the teaching and learning process starting from Do you remember about our last lesson? but it starts from the students activity. In this situation, concerns emerge. These become problems and they impact the mind of the student. At that moment there is curiosity and interest, and the teacher takes the students interest as the beginning point. Freire holds that the teaching and learning process originates where the educator and learner are in the same community, and the educator notices the communitys problems it is a matter of experience (vivncia). The educator is also a learner, observing the social, historical, and psychological conditions of the community. Saviani turns to social practice as the starting point. Social practice is primarily a class struggle within some actual social context. Students and teachers alike are caught up in a permanent social conflict within the context of a capitalist system. And, at least in principle, the teacher has a more concrete



comprehension about the context of capitalism than the student. Students understand capitalism only in a vague way, while the teacher should understand capitalism in a synthetic sense as a result of her own past educational process and her present knowledge. B. Second Stage Herbartian theory says that after the preparation of the subject matter to be taught, the teacher proceeds to a displaying mode, explaining moral, scientific, and historical concepts. These concepts are what matters for the students; they are the driving force behind their learning process, stimulating their mental processes and gaining their interest, drawing them to the subject matter. Deweyan theory, in contrast, says that students interests bring the possibility of learning. For Dewey, the activity may be an activity of research, and it tends to be an exercise of curiosity, leading towards an investigation of the subject matter. This activity creates a situation which permits the teacher to see the problems encountered by the students in such activities. The teacher helps the students look for problems as problems. Thus, the second stage in the Deweyan theory is the selection of problems. Freire believes in fundamentally the same thing, but he finds that the problems do not work because they are general problems. For Freire, all problems are specific and determinate problems: problems centering on exciting themes coming from the community. In a community engaged in discussion within the context of the larger social community, the themes appear by means of key-words coming from educators and learners. Key-words enter the hearts and minds of the people, forming an important component of the social heart and mind. C. Third Stage Herbart believes that after new issues are introduced, that is, after moral, intellectual, historical and scientific concepts are established, they will be assimilated by students in so far as the students associate new concepts with old concepts. In other words, old concepts are the home of new concepts. Dewey believes that teaching should involve helping the students to formulate hypotheses or heuristic ways to solve problems noticed in the previous stage. To do this, the teacher first helps the students to collect the materials for formulating hypotheses. The students will try to focus on the precise nature of the problem before them, deciding on which factors in the situation are relevant to the problem. The relevant factors define the problem and prepare the students for thinking about how to manipulate those factors to achieve new results.

Neopragmatism, Philosophy of Education, and Our Future


Freire worked on the motivating themes for exciting the students, but what is meant by exciting? Does it mean those themes for provoking critical thought on the part of the student? Exciting is used as an adjective in this context, as Freire converts themes into problem situations. In order to make problem situations as they emerge from themes, according to Freire, we must keep an active horizontal dialogue going between the educator (who is also a learner) and the learner (who is also an educator). If this horizontal dialogue is not sustained, there will be no accessibility to the problem situations, because they become political problems. The relations of power within political struggles must be clear in so far as they do not entirely dictate the pedagogical process. If the relations of power dictate the pedagogical process, then that process cannot deal with problems, since there can only be a return to the original situation: the mere perception of themes without any intrinsic link between those themes and life. Strictly defined, political problems involve the oppression of institutions, the demagogy of elites, etc. Saviani meditates on the proper form of knowledge needed to face the conflicts arising from social practices. Thus, his third stage is acquiring cognitive and moral instruments. This is a necessary stage, because such instruments are necessary for the workers ability to confront and cope with the troubles of class conflict (Saviani views students as workers or future workers). Knowledge is, for Saviani, one of the principal instruments for the workers when the workers want to eliminate capitalist exploitation. The students, as workers or future workers or child laborers, exist within capitalism and need this knowledge as an instrument to elevate their own class in the class struggle. D. Fourth Stage In this stage, Herbart believes that the student has learned the new material because it has been associated with the old material. But now, the student needs to abstract from a particular situation towards a more general situation. Generalization is, thus, to make abstract what has been only empirical and particular. The teacher instructs the student to draw up generalities (instead of laws?) about particular matters and to compose definitions. The teacher, of course, can insist that the student must formulate generalities in several areas and check them by confrontation with reality. At this stage, Dewey wants the students to elaborate hypotheses or heuristic ways using their prior material choices. So, the activity of the teacher and students requires the interpretation of materials from libraries, the internet, video and audio media, museum artifacts, household articles, and so on. And, of course, the students can use remembered facts to bear on problems. The teacher helps the students to create a good empirical framework for the possible hypotheses, arriving at propitious choices through heuristic methods.



For Freire, this stage is the most important. The teacher and students must find a link between their own lives and political power. This link is available because the previous stage permits the transformation of themes. The themes became problem situations: authentic problems, in so far as they are political problems. But now the necessary addition in the fourth stage is conscientiousness (conscientizaco). Students begin to create a political conscience; they become aware of their less than desirable place in the polis. Only upon establishing this political conscientiousness, can students take steps to improve their standing within the polis. In this stage Saviani uses the term katharsis (catarse). This term refers to the moment in which the social, political, and economic bases (the infrastructure in a Marxist sense) are elaborated by the students reflections and they become an articulated set of propositions in the students consciousness (superstructures in a Marxist sense). The achievement of katharsis is an appropriation of knowledge in its larger context, and this knowledge becomes genuine instruments for social transformation. E. Fifth Stage The last stage of Herbarts scheme requires application. Students must be able to apply the laws of nature, history, morality, etc., to different situations and new cases. The teacher asks students to answer questions, interpret texts, solve theoretical problems, etc. The student must be able to display an ability to discuss issues and use the concepts and definitions she has learned. In Deweys last stage, students should be able to discern which hypothesis is good or which heuristic method is productive, by knowing how to conduct experiments. The teacher and students are now at the stage of the experimental process on the basis of well-developed hypotheses. With respect to texts, heuristic methods of interpretation come to bear, which is the literary counterpart to the experimental method. As confirmations of problem solutions gradually accumulate, the students will develop ideas about reality, about what is true and what is false, etc. For Dewey, learning the learning process itself is more important than any conclusions, because students will possess a general scientific method for solving new problems in a changing society. The need to continually improve our factual knowledge is matched by our need to improve social conditions; in the experience of modern life we have only one thing that is immutable: the ever changing process of life itself. The last stage in Freires theory of education entails political action. The community assumes the existence of power and the existence of actions that are to a great extent contrary to acquisition of the essentials of life. Each problem claims a solution. The community contains people motivated to struggle to solve the problems against the political power of the rich and

Neopragmatism, Philosophy of Education, and Our Future


strong. This action the building of motivation and the struggle itself can be the action aroused within a political party. The last stage in Savianis theory of education is social practice. At this point, students will not fully understand social practice in a syncretic way, but only in a vague way. They will understand it as a synthesis, in a concrete way, in Marxs sense as a synthesis of multiple determinations. The students should now be at the same level of the teacher. If the teacher is now on another level, even so, the students are still in a desirable situation, for they are in a position to further engage in social practices as a struggle, a class struggle, in which the winners are those who possess more instruments of knowledge. 4. Constructing a Neopragmatist Theory of Education I do not believe that we can select any one of the above theories while disregarding the rest. This is not to say that I am a Nietzschian perspectivist, but simply that I am a reasonable man. The theories depend on each other and should be understood comparatively, which will be pursued later in this essay. If I understand a set of theories, I feel compelled to formulate yet another theory to take account of additional knowledge. Our knowledge is always changing, and our teaching tasks have changed. I have observed that some professors in the Occident are teaching in a divergent way from the methods discussed here. And my teaching is changing, inspired by the literature of philosophers such as Richard Rorty and Donald Davidson, and the Frankfurt School (see Ghiraldelli Jr., 2000, 2001, 2002a). In light of this view of learning, knowledge, and teaching, I propose a fifth neopragmatist theory about the stages of learning. A. First Stage I do not believe the process of teaching and learning starts when problems or themes or matters or questions are displayed to the students. Problems do not simply appear in a brute and pure way, for the student or for anyone else. We all observe problems through our attention to books, movies, literature, newspapers, websites, radio, television, medical prescriptions, sounds, singing, poetry, photos, conversation, jokes, nonsense, and so on. I refer to these information channels as narratives and they all tell us something. When I see or listen to something and I say it make sense, then a narrative takes hold of me. When I say it does not make sense to me, a narrative also takes hold of me. Sooner or later, I am confronted by a story about something that I call a narrative. Because I must attempt to initially interpret a narrative, problem situations arise: problems constructed by story authors or problems added by our interpretations. Our life is not isolated; it is a cultural life, and within our cultural life we are surrounded by narratives and problem situations. This, I



suggest, is the unique first stage of any teaching process: a narrative that sooner or later impels our curiosity, saying go ahead. It is not important, here, if our understanding of a movie, for example, is good or bad. The important point is that the movie brings a problem situation to the fore. Perhaps the specific problem for a particular movie viewer is not the same as the problem emerging from the same movie for a more educated viewer; but it is a problem nonetheless. Narratives, and thus language games, are the first stage in the process of teaching and learning. B. Second Stage The teacher and students pick up the more important or significant narratives, sometimes contingently, and sometimes following a plan formed according to several parameters: the aims of instruction, the schools environment, the lives of students, their performance in the classroom, etc. A particular narrative that has been selected can be a modest text, and perhaps even a future-prediction or a horoscope. It can also be some aspect of a movie highlighted by the teacher for understanding that particular cinematic feature. Perhaps a student brings an interesting photo from a website, or the teacher suggests that censured music should be discussed. This opening activity can serve to bring teacher and students together. The teacher is the party responsible for this union of minds and thought: he must know how to call the students attention to the selected piece. And the teacher can begin to establish a link between the problems emerging from the narrative that reveals some aspect of the lives of both teacher and students. Our history, our novels, are saved in our memories and in our bodies. The teacher and students must together search for personally meaningful narratives. Thus the teacher needs to be sensible and intelligent; she must be a philosopher and a historian. Most importantly she needs to be a person who belongs to the earth, to the world, to real life experiences. She can dream, but she needs to realize that the students can also have their dreams. C. Third Stage The teacher continues the discussion of linking between narratives coming from teacher and students, and starts the task of constructing new narratives. This can be done in a variety of ways. Narratives do not prohibit theories. You can use sociology or psychology, etc., as models. But the teacher needs to remind students that narratives include other discourses, other forms of communication, other language-games: fiction, medicine, movies, etc. It is not necessary to understand sociology, for example, in order to construct an insightful narrative of a movie. In this stage, the student must construct her

Neopragmatism, Philosophy of Education, and Our Future


own narrative. The teacher should encourage students to explore many narratives without pre-judging them according to an epistemological hierarchy. All narratives at the most fundamental level involve ones own evaluation: I want that? or I want this? Why? Because the link between our lifes narrative (or our novel) and the narratives under discussion can only emerge if the narratives suggest how each student can perceive his own personal and social story in which his life is imbedded in family life and in community life. The teacher should (1) permit the students to create their own stories about their lives in the regional context, and (2) avoid the epistemological temptation to evaluate student narratives as more or less truthful and accurate. D. Fourth Stage This crucial stage deals with the construction of new narratives. The teacher involves each student in this activity by becoming a companion with the student in his narrative. The students conception of the world will be changing during the construction of a new narrative, and the teacher must have his mind and soul opened to read and listen to the students novel. The teacher must possess a keen sense of sensibility when it comes time to criticize the student. In this stage the student tells his narrative. It is his novel that there is a kind of ego-history. It is not a biography, or intellectual biography, or a biography made into fiction. The student tells a history of his life, or a short piece of that history. Here, the student works like a historian. He tries to find documents. He must treat his life objectivity. He will link his lifes narrative and sociology theory, or philosophy argument, or national history, or national novels, and so on. He is a thinker taking his life as aim and issue. E. Fifth Stage If the student comprehends what the teacher imparts to him in the previous stage, the groundwork has been prepared. Now, the new narratives have to be given to other individuals, and they can provoke actions that may serve to change the language games that have been established. Other individuals can now recognize something in their life in that has a bearing on the short paper written by the student. Why not? And the student can do this too! Now, the student must write his narrative, his novel; his ego history is just a ground for the fictional narrative. And it will be his product. Of course, a good story can be exhibited in several ways. His narrative will receive a form: essay, picture, music, movie, drawing, website, dancing show, theater show, comic book, book, or something else. The teacher must provoke interaction between student and colleagues using that product. Peers, in the room, will be the first critical public.



All products made by students would have a interventionist (cultural, social, or political) feature. They will be valuable insofar as they grasp the hearts and minds of peers: what is created to tell a personal story must tell human things, national things, crazy and normal things it would be realized as a piece of idiosyncratic and universal advice. It is the product in which the schools traditional knowledge will be connected to alternative knowledges, vocabularies, disposition and metaphors. Three things should rule student work: imagination, good style, and discipline. Imagination is the ground for creativity, because the narratives can be about any issue: a student can talk about herself, her country, and math, for example. Good style is a way to be clear if the issue is complex. Discipline is needed to keep the students mind focused on the issues: science, literature, math, and so on. The students life and experience will be joined together in the narrative. 5. History of Philosophy of Education Thus far I have addressed myself to the theory of education. Now I will say a few words about my interpretation of the history of philosophy of education, and look to the future by discussing some philosophical problems that bear on philosophy of education. The history of philosophy of education, as I construct it, has five revolutionary concepts. These concepts have largely determined the course of debates over teaching and the learning process in the modern world since 1800. They are: mind, democracy, oppression, socialization (of knowledge), and narrative. Mind, democracy, and oppression are linked to the names of Friedrich Herbart, John Dewey, and Paulo Freire. They involve Germany, America, Latin America, and Africa. The socialization (of knowledge) involves Marxism, primarily as it is interpreted in Brazil, France, and Italy. Narrative is the most recent term used by those who now question whether we live in a modern world or a postmodern world. A. Mind and Herbart In pedagogical discussions, mind is a concept that became very important in the nineteenth century, as psychology became recognized as a science. Herbart is the principal thinker in this revolutionary conversation on pedagogy, because he created a theory of education according to which concepts are necessary for the teaching and learning process. Concepts are ideas, and collections of ideas arouse a persons curiosity. The interaction of ideas is not a process of the soul or the spirit, but a process of the mind. In America and elsewhere, at the end of the nineteenth century, several educational societies appeared under the label of Herbartian societies. Of course, when John Dewey and

Neopragmatism, Philosophy of Education, and Our Future


others began to write that curiosity is necessary for learning and that knowledge is a derivation of activity, curiosity, and interest, Herbarts psychology was quickly forgotten. The associations of education in America abandoned the title Herbartian for a more neutral title, such as the American Educational Association. However, the victory of the notion that mind is an important word for education was not surrendered. Since Herbart, if you want to be a teacher, you must understand mental processes and you must study psychology (see Ghiraldelli Jr. 2000). B. Democracy and Dewey The second important concept for present pedagogical discussion is democracy. John Dewey is responsible for this terms noteworthy use. Between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Dewey developed his philosophical theory of the educational process grounded on the notion of experience. Experience for Dewey does not simply refer to experiments, but to all of life. Experience in Deweys pedagogy represents a union of two German notions that Dewey acquired during his early idealist phase: Erlebnis and Erfahrung. In German thought, when you mean psychological experience you can use Erlebnis, but when you mean experience as social and historical experience you must use Erfahrung. Erlebnis remind us of inner mental process, Erfahrung reminds us of knowledge and know-how. Experience for Dewey is a complex formed by these two German notions, but Dewey enlarged their joined meaning because he considered the common process of Erfahung and Erlebnis germane to the process of education, a process in which experience receives re-signification that transforms life, since social and historical life is also changing. So, education is life and life is education. Education helps us to solve problems in a continuously changing modern life. Naturally, many questions remain to be answered: How does life change? When we are in democracy? But after Dewey, if you want to be a teacher, you need to learn sociology and social philosophy, you need to live the human experience of democracy, and you need to put the word experience in your vocabulary together with the word democracy (see Ghiraldelli Jr. 2000). C. Oppressed and Paulo Freire Paulo Freire read John Dewey and accepted the importance of the word democracy. He also realized that Dewey did not advocate liberal democracy in the old sense. Deweys vision for democracy shows a tendency toward a welfare state, as an improvement of democracy. The Roosevelt New Deal, which occurred after the publication of most of Deweys works, is the American equivalent of the European Welfare State. Freire also realized that education depends on democracy. Freire, from the 1950s into the 1960s, saw



how one can find democracy together with the welfare state in Brazil and Latin America, and later in Africa and other countries. If Dewey proclaimed the necessity of education in a democratic society, Freire attempted to find an education for a democracy in the Third World. Between 1960 and 1990, masses of people left rural lands to migrate to the cities, becoming victims of the big companies of propaganda (the mass media), political demagogy, loss of roots, loss of language etc. They are the poor people. They are the oppressed. After Freire, if you want to be a teacher, you must thoroughly and profoundly understand the word oppressed. D. Socialization (of Knowledge) and Marxism Paulo Freire lived in exile between 1964 and 1979, returning to Brazil after the political pardon (Anistia Politica). Upon returning, he found the discussion of educational issues in Brazil in a quite different situation. The Eurocommunism phenomenon, principally in Italy and France, had influenced the intellectuals of the Left in Brazil. Philosophers of education read books by Georges Snyders and Mario Manacorda. Gramsci had become an important point of reference. Many university professors were committed to democratic socialism, but this type of socialism was different from European social-democracy. Brazilian socialism was guided by communist parties that had discarded Moscow and became similar to an Italian Communist Party; it accepted the vote and bourgeois democracy. In Brazil, in this new culture of the Left, Dermeval Saviani created the expression socialization of knowledge as an educational equivalent to the social-economic Marxist expression socialization of the mean of production (Ghiraldelli Jr. 2002b). Of course, Savianis phrase does not have the same fame of Freires slogans, but this development is an important turning point for pedagogy in Brazil, and in Europe, because the Left was starting to insist upon the appropriation of the bourgeois knowledge. The revolution was not only an economic and social phenomenon, nor was it merely a cultural phenomenon, but instead it was a phenomenon dependant on the bourgeois school for all social classes. E. Narrative Turn These theories all have historical utility, but they lack sufficient legitimacy because they do not consider three new situations in social, political, and philosophical fields: the accelerated process of globalization, the geopolitical transformation after the end of USSR, and the decadence of communism, and the emergence of postmodernism. Specifically, in philosophy of education we now recognize the impact of postmodernism by taking seriously Lyotards formula: in the postmodern world we no longer believe in

Neopragmatism, Philosophy of Education, and Our Future


metanarratives. Between 1980 and 2000 there have been numerous articles and books in philosophy of education trying to understand the consequences of this discrediting of metanarrative for the theory of education and pedagogical processes. This change was necessary, since all previous theories of education have some link to Enlightenment and its project of philosophical foundationalism. Philosophical foundations are the great narratives. Philosophers of education in the last 15 or 20 years have been asking themselves if we are living in an educational postmodern era. I believe that the presence of this sort of questioning is a kind of answer: if this question is widely asked, then we are already in a kind of postmodern age. In this age we need to consider narratives without metanarratives: educational process is narratives just narratives. There are at least three reasonable responses to the postmodern situation: the German perspective (Habermas), the French perspective (Lyotard), and the American perspective (Rorty). The American perspective is what I take to be the neopragmatism project in philosophy of education and theory of education. The American perspective agrees with the French perspective on one thing: both perspectives say that there is no need for a foundationalist program. The American perspective agrees with the German perspective on one thing: both perspectives say that we need liberal democracy, the welfare state, and a theory of education. I believe we can construct and/or improve liberal democracy, the welfare state, and theory of education. The Rortian philosophical program includes a clear framework for a philosophy of education, discussed in my books (Ghiraldelli Jr. 1999, 2002a). By taking the term narrative in a broad sense, I try to explain a kind of pedagogical formulation that Rorty philosophy permits, structuring my theory of education outlined above. My stages can be used for any and all issues. Any issue is accessible. It means: we have a narrative. My viewing of narratives is plural and is not linked to the dualism that generally characterizes metaphysics and epistemology. I have no need for katharsis (Saviani) or conscientiousness (Freire). In the Freire and Saviani doctrines there is a common presupposition that there is a special narrative, the final narrative, that agrees with the World As It Is. Consequently, such a narrative is epistemologically superior and perhaps is a metaphysical place, or a history very close to a metaphysical Archimedean point. Possessing this presupposition, intentionally or not, the teacher operates like a Platonic philosopher or a Marxist philosopher: he belongs to a vanguard because he knows the road to The Truth. If he does not know The Truth, he at least believes that he can achieve The Truth together with his students. I do not have a superior narrative and I do not understand any superiority or inferiority to the students narratives. I only want to construct narratives that emerge from other narratives. But what do I wish to achieve?



My stages are not a method of solving problems (Dewey). I do not want to give my students a method of solving problems because I do not have such a thing. My stages are not a method to define things (Herbart). I do not know how to define things. My teaching is simple. My pedagogical activity with my students is only the activity of writing a letter or drawing a picture or composing a piece of music, and so on. But, of course, such activities are narrative ways for the students life to be linked to his countrys life, and to be linked to the life of humanity in general. These links enlarge the group that Rorty calls one of us. Narratives are useful if they promote some improvement of solidarity. I believe that a democratic way is to improve the students wish for democracy. However, I realize that this formulation is generally taken as a relativist position. And relativism is a cousin of skepticism. We know that skepticism is the principal enemy of philosophy; because of this, perhaps, some teachers will reject our stages. What, then, should I do? 6. Philosophy of Education In the philosophical literature the problem of skepticism appears in several forms. Sextus Empiricus talks about five situations that can cause us to suspend judgement: discrepancy, regress ad infinitum, hypothesis, circular reasoning, and relativism (Fogelin 1994, pp. 113122). Generally, in philosophy of education, only relativism is discussed. The situation is funny because it involves the following conversation. The teacher says to the students: It is the true theory. The students accept this, but a student says: Professor, I understand it and I agree, but on TV I saw another theory about this. The teacher says: Oh my young boy, of course, it is possible too. The student replies: Professor, but if I understood correctly we either have your theory or we have the TV theory. Teacher says: Yes,...but... Student: Do we have two theories and two truths? Teacher: Yes, we have two theories... Student: And do we have two truths? But the first theory denies the second, and do we have truth or we do not have truth? The teacher says: No, of course we can have the truth! The student says: But when do we have the true truth and when do we have a truth that is not completely the true truth? The teacher says: I teach the true theory! The student says: Is the TV theory false? But you told me that it was true! The teacher says: We have my theory and it is true, and the other theory is another perspective, but it does not mean that I am a relativist. The student says: Professor, sorry, but I understand nothing anymore. The teacher shouts: But now I cannot explain because I need to take my children! (Take his children where? Are his children the students?)

Neopragmatism, Philosophy of Education, and Our Future


This funny situation is not a joke. It happens because the teacher can no longer account for an explicit or implicit metanarrative. And the contemporary role of philosophy of education is not to provide a kind of new metanarrative. It would be useless. The funny situation happens, according to neopragmatism, because there are two things taken in an absolute way: a theory or narrative must correspond to the real it is true if and only if it is a kind of picture of the real, and our language can be an accurate representation of the external world and it can be an accurate expression of our inner world, our soul or mind etc. The educator makes himself insecure, and so he enters into the postmodern world. Why? Because since the Enlightenment he avoids seriously considering the pragmatists suggestions: we need not answer whether a theory or a narrative is something discovered or fabricated. We can abandon this question and accept another paradigm in philosophy of education. We can instead understand that all narratives in our classroom are tools. When you want a tool you are thinking about transformation, changing, pushing things, etc., but you are not thinking about the World As It Really Is. You are not thinking about an exact representation. A tool helps us deal with the environment in order to have more and more accurate predictions. But a tool does not fix aims. We human beings fix aims. It means that the educational process does not go on automatically, but it needs us, the educators. The educator needs to fix aims, the collective and individual targets. The narrative does not solve problems in education. The teaching and learning process depends on the continued activity of the educator to points out the values of the very process of education. In our case, we have the situation of the neopragmatist teacher and his particular characteristics and interests: democracy, freedom, present and future social rights, tolerance, and empathy. 7. Conclusion All theories of education prior to the neopragmatist theory had excessive confidence in method. Herbart and Dewey, and mainly Freire and Saviani, as I read them, seem to believe that method runs together with aims. This is not the case. At least it is not the case in the manner in which they believe it is the case. In the light of powers and processes such as globalization, changing geopolitics, postmodernism, and new paradigms, the standard theories and methods of teaching and learning are empty. The teacher only has narratives, and he can inquire into narratives or other people. In a certain sense, my method is saying that there are no educational methods. Or better: teachers do not have a pedagogical machine to defend the idea of mind as necessary to education; or democracy to education; or education for the oppressed; or education for the purpose of grasping knowledge for the working class; and so on. Teachers need to decide every day about what their aims are,



here and now. Teachers decide every day about the nature of their particular narratives. They need to begin teaching with a fresh start every day, over and over again. They must tell pragmatic stories and inquire into the nature of pragmatic stories. And if they want to persuade others that, for example, democracy, freedom, empathy, etc., are good things, they need to find narratives that instill in others a desire for democracy, freedom, empathy, and so on. The students will eventually agree with these aims if the stories couched in pragmatic assumptions and processes are put before them effectively. I can envision a beautiful teaching and learning method. But it will be accepted and it will educate someone only if it offers advantages over current theories and methods. The teacher has control over only narratives. In neopragmatic philosophy of education, the professor becomes of utmost importance. It is a philosophy of education for our future? Why not? It is a philosophy of education for a kind of postmodern world, a world with skeptical questions, many technological means, and teachers working at their jobs.

Fogelin, Robert J. (1994) Pyrrhonian Reflections on Knowledge and Justification. New York: Oxford University Press. Ghiraldelli Jr., Paulo. (1999) Richard Rorty: a filosofia do novo mundo em busca de mundos novos. Petropolis: Vozes. . (2000) O que voc precisa saber em didtica e teorias educacionais. Rio de Janeiro: DPA. . (2001) Neopragmatismo, Escola de Frankfurt e marxismo. Rio de Janeiro: DPA. . (2002a) Truth and Trust: Rortys Davidsonian Philosophy of Education, in Richard Rorty: Education, Philosophy and Politics, ed. Michael Peters and Paulo Ghiraldelli, Jr. (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield). . (2002b) A Filosofia Da Educacao na Escola Brasileira Contemporanea (unpublished). Saviani, Demerval. (1983) Tendncias e correntes da educao brasileira, in Filosofia da educao, ed. Dumerval Trigueiro Mendes (Rio de Janeiro: Civilizao Brasileira). Shook, John R. (2000) Deweys Empirical Theory of Knowledge and Reality. Nashville, Tenn.: Vanderbilt University Press.


Philip Cam is Associate Professor in the School of Philosophy at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia. Recent publications include Twenty Thinking Tools: Collaborative Inquiry for the Classroom. Phyllis Chiasson is the Director of Davis/Nelson Company for research and development of Relational Thinking Styles in Port Townsend, Washington. She has published Peirces Pragmatism: The Design for Thinking. Marcus Vinicius da Cunha is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Education of the University of So Paulo at Ribeiro Preto in Brazil. He has published many articles about education, Dewey, and pragmatism. Paulo Ghiraldelli, Jr. has been a Professor of Philosophy at several Brazilian universities. Among his many books are Caminhos da Filosofia, Filosofia da Educao, and Histria da Educao. Rosalind Ekman Ladd is Professor Emerita of Philosophy at Wheaton College, Massachusetts, and has lectured at Brown University Medical School in Rhode Island. She has edited Childrens Rights Re-Visioned and Ethical Dilemmas in Pediatric Medicine. Matthew Lipman is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Montclair State University in New Jersey, where he was Director of the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children. He has authored many books, including Philosophy Goes To School and Thinking in Education. Tarso Mazzotti is a Professor of Philosophy of Education at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He has published two books and many articles on philosophy of education, epistemology, and rhetorical analysis. Kerstin Michalik is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education, Psychology and Human Movement at the University of Hamburg, Germany. His research interests include philosophizing with children and curriculum design. Gordon Mitchell is Professor for Religion and Intercultural Education at the University of Hamburg, Germany. Most of his publications are in the overlapping fields of religious studies, inter-religious dialogue and peace education.


About the Editors and Contributors

Jrgen Oelkers is Professor of General Education at the University of Zrich, Switzerland. In addition to his dozens of publications about pedagogy and philosophy, he edited Dewey and European Education and Pragmatism and Education. Michael A. Peters is Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has published numerous books and articles about philosophy and education, and is the editor of Educational Philosophy & Theory and Policy Futures in Education. Richard Rorty was Professor of Comparative Literature at Stanford University, and he also taught at Princeton University and the University of Virginia. Among his books are Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Consequences of Pragmatism, and Philosophy and Social Hope. Naoko Saito is Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education of Kyoto University in Japan. Her interests include philosophy of education and a dialogue between East and West on democracy. She published The Gleam of Light: Dewey, Emerson, and the Pursuit of Perfection. Helmut Schreier is Professor of Education at the University of Hamburg, Germany. He has published over thirty books in the areas of elementary education, philosophy of education, philosophy with children, and pragmatism. Michael Taylor is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Oklahoma State University. His research interests include the philosophy of John Dewey, pragmatism, philosophy of education, and political philosophy. Celal Trer is Associate Professor in the Theology Faculty at Erciyes University in Turkey. He has published books and articles on William James, pragmatism, philosophy of religion, and social philosophy.

Adorno, Theodor, 187 aesthetics, 68, 82, 84, 87, 8990, 144146, 176177, 214 a. and religion, 89, 112113 Almeida, Jane Soares de, 110 Anaximander, 78 Anderson, Alan R., 24 Anderson, Douglas, 41 a priori, 99104 Arcilla, Ren Vincent, 81, 92 Aristotle, 101, 133, 136, 207, 208, 210, 212217, 222223, 224 Arnold, Matthew, 48, 65, 113, 197, 198 atheism, 114, 130131 Attridge, Derek, 202 Bahti, Timothy, 203 Baldwin, James Mark, 63 Bauer, Jochen, 125 Beardsworth, Richard, 200 Beauchamp, Tom L. 157, 161 behaviorism, 4344, 63, 69, 81 Belnap, Nuel D., 224 Benjamin, Martin, 161 Bergson, Henri, 53, 65, 70 Berti, Enrico, 224 Biesta, Gert, 58, 63, 70 bioethics, 153161 Blake, Nigel, 92 Blewitt, Trevor, 51, 66 Boisvert, Raymond, 7778, 83, 84, 93, 94 Boler, Megan, 78, 93 Bosanquet, Bernard, 146 Boudon, Raymond, 221, 224 Bourgeois, Bernard, 223 Boutroux, Emile, 41 Boydston, Jo Ann, 67, 93, 122, 140, 161 Boyer, Alain, 223 Brauner, C. J., 40 Brickman, W. W., 70 Bruner, Jerome, 136 Buchler, Justus, 27, 145, 151 Burgess, Ernest, 66 Burgt, R. J. V., 41 Burns, H. W., 40 Cam, Philip, 132, 139, 163 Cassin, Barbara, 222, 224 casuistry, 157158 Cavell, Stanley, 76, 8287, 93, 94, 95 Chambliss, J. J., 40 Charbonnel, Nanine, 221, 224 Chiasson, Phyllis, 1, 27 child, c. and philosophy, 127139, 148150, 155156, 171174 c. education, 127, 4851, 58 62, 9192, 9798, 108109, 116122, 127139, 147 150, 167180, 188190, 226234 c. psychology, 127, 6061 Childress, James F., 157, 161 Chomsky, Noam, 186, 187 Civita, Victor, 224 communication, 21, 44, 5153, 58, 101, 115, 174175, 232 tele-c., 199 community, 47, 60, 82, 101, 114, 187, 195, 218, 230 c. and democracy, 50, 52, 79 80, 120 c. and school, 97, 108109, 155156, 228 global c., 8081 inquiry of c., 45, 133134, 149, 166169 concept, 46, 19, 21, 33, 36, 100, 105, 136, 149, 167, 170, 201, 223, 227, 228, 234 consciousness, see mind Cooley, Charles Horton, 49, 51, 65, 66, 67 Cordasco, Francesco, 70 Cremin, Lawrence A., 70 Cunha, Marcus Vinicius da, 97, 110

curriculum, 37, 49, 9192, 116122, 127131, 136139, 149, 167 168 Da Costa, Newton C. A., 223 Darwin, Charles, 53, 76, 79, 80, 81, 93, 94, 138 Davidson, Donald, 185, 226, 231 Debs, Eugene, 185 deconstruction, 86, 135, 193194, 200201 democracy, 7986, 120121, 155, 187189, 194197, 200202, 204, 235238 d. and education, 37, 4652, 56 57, 61, 67, 105, 108, 113, 117, 121, 134137, 191, 198200, 238240 d. and religion, 77, 84 Dennis, Lawrence J., 70 Derrida, Jacques, 78, 86, 191204 Der Veer, Valsinerivan, 63 Descartes, Ren, 49, 58, 138, 199, 216 De Tarde, Gabriel, 5354, 59, 6567 Dewey, Alice, 48 Dewey, John, 4, 7, 26, 27, 36, 4357, 6365, 67, 69, 70, 71, 7595, 97110, 111125, 127, 134 140, 143151, 153161, 163 181, 185189, 192194, 222, 226230, 234240 Dickstein, Morris, 93 Dilthey, Wilhelm, 63 Doedens, Folkert, 124 Doise, Willem, 224 Durkheim, mile, 53, 66, 106, 107 Dyck, E. F., 223 economics, 4446, 88, 121, 153, 154, 188, 214, 236 Eddy, Lyle, 146 Edman, Irwin, 143 education, child e., 127, 4851, 5862, 9192, 9798, 108109, 116122, 127139, 147

150, 167180, 188190, 226234 e. and democracy, 37, 4652, 5657, 61, 67, 105, 108, 113, 117, 121, 134137, 191, 198200, 238240 philosophy of e., 2631, 3740, 46, 76, 8892, 106, 144, 167, 187189, 234240 Eliot, Charles William, 46, 48, 49, 50 Eliot, George, 198 Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 7577, 8095 empiricism, 104, 194 radical e., 38, 79 epistemology, 36, 40, 58, 136, 167, 192193, 227, 237 ethics, 7, 8, 65, 79, 107109, 130131, 136, 153, 156161, 155156, 222 experience, aesthetic e., 68, 82, 84, 87, 89, 112113, 144146, 176 177, 214 e. as evidence, 35, 127, 164 experiment, 11, 35, 43, 79, 107, 113, 115116, 122, 138, 169, 172 173, 227, 230 Filho, Manuel B. L., 110 Fogelin, Robert J., 238, 240 Fontinell, Eugene, 41 Foucault, Michel, 192 Frankena, William K., 40 Franzosa, S. D., 70 Fraser, Nancy, 195 Freire, Paulo, 226234, 237239 freedom, 32, 37, 39, 40, 4447, 50, 60, 8084, 98, 106, 108, 112, 186 187, 190, 219 f. of speech, 191, 196197, 199, 210211 free will, 47 Freud, Sigmund, 206, 217 Frisby, David, 63 Froebel, Friedrich, 50, 56, 65 Fumarolli, Marc, 221, 224

Gadamer, Hans-Georg, 135 Gandillac, Maurice de, 223 Garnier, Catherine, 224 Garrison, James, 93 Ghiraldelli, Paulo, Jr., 185, 202, 225 240 globalization, 75, 88, 198, 199, 202, 225, 236 Gloy, Horst, 124 Gomann, Hans-Christoph, 124 Gorgias, 206, 222 Gramsci, Antonio, 236 Gunter, Pete A. Y., 70 Habermas, Jrgen, 185, 187, 203, 237 habit, 2324, 32, 35, 45, 55, 84, 102, 150, 171172 Hankinson, R. J., 222 Hansen, Kenneth H., 41 Haskins, Casey, 93 Hausman, Carl, 41 Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 78 Heidegger, Martin, 95, 192, 193, 194, 203 Hegel, G. W. F., 50, 76, 7980, 93, 94, 146, 211217, 223 Henderson, Archibald, 41 Henderson, Barbara, 41 Henning, Leoni, 187 Herbart, Johann Friedrich, 50, 226 229, 234, 235, 238, 239 Hoffmeyer, Jasper, 27 Hook, Sidney, 77, 78, 93 hope, 40, 75, 7882, 8688, 136, 192, 194 Hudson, W. H., 89, 90 human nature, 31, 36, 40, 7879, 101, 192, 206 Humboldt, Alexander von, 197, 203 individual, 3239, 4647, 56, 84, 135, 199, 213215 i. and society, 19, 34, 44, 4748, 52, 5861, 97, 106109, 155, 185189

inquiry, 99108, 133138, 145150, 153156, 159160, 163179, 189 intelligence, creative i., 8790 engaged i., 9 practical i., 4345, 62, 77, 78, 87, 103107, 164, 210 retarded i., 16 social i., 5355, 114 James, William, 4, 2942, 4344, 63, 65, 69, 87, 95, 124 Jefferson, Thomas, 135 Joas, Hans, 41 Johnston, James Scott, 123 Jonsen, Albert R., 161 Kant, Immanuel, 65, 136, 195, 197, 200, 203 Ketner, Kenneth Laine, 27 Kierkegaard, Sren, 79 King, Martin Luther, Jr., 185 Kleiber, Georges, 224 Knauth, Thorsten, 124, 125 knowledge, k. and argument, 207210, 217 219, 222 k. and belief, 185, 188, 207 k. and values, 179 k. as practical, 32, 44, 56, 99, 106, 138, 163 k. as social, 4546, 64, 98, 108, 120, 207, 234236 k. as warranted assertion, 99 101, 154, 189 Lacan, Jacques, 217 Ladd, Rosalind Ekman, 153 Langer, Susanne, 133 language, 1316, 21, 45, 101, 135, 174175, 189190, 193, 206, 219, 239 l. games, 232 La Taille, Ives de, 110

Laubach, Hans-Jrgen, 124 learning, l. and inquiry, 4, 7, 32 35, 56, 99108, 133138, 153156, 163179 l. as social, 4345, 49, 5354, 5960, 118 l. impaired, 15 stages of l., 226234 Leavis, F. R., 198 Leibniz, Gottfried, 58 Lewis, J. David, 70 Lipman, Matthew, 131, 133, 139, 143, 151, 153161, 163181 Locke, John, 163 logic, 35, 810, 15, 26, 27, 54, 58, 64, 67, 133, 145, 148, 216218, 220, 224 l. and psychology, 97110, 170172 l. and syllogism, 210213 Lombroso, Cesare, 66 Lubbock, John, 67 Luhmann, Niklas, 54, 66 Lyotard, Jean-Franois, 237 Maeterlinck, Maurice, 94 Malthus, Thomas, 45 Manacorda, Mario, 236 Manis, J. G., 70 Maritain, Jacques, 40 Marshall, James D., 202, 226 Martens, Ekkehard, 139 Marx, Karl, 204, 210, 214, 217, 224, 231, 234 Marxism, 186, 210, 226, 230, 231, 236237, 240 materialism, 81, 144 Matthews, Gareth, 132, 139 Mazzotti, Tarso B., 110, 205, 223, 224 McBride, Eldon, 27 McDermott, John J., 91, 95 McGee, Glenn, 161 Mead, George Herbert, 4371 metaphysics, 34, 36, 40, 44, 51, 78, 79, 81, 86, 136, 192195, 215, 237 Meltzer, B. N., 70

Meyer, Michael, 216, 217 Meyr, Michel, 224 Michalik, Kerstin, 127 Miedema, Siebren, 124 Mill, John Stuart, 194 Miller, J. Hillis, 191, 196, 202 mind, m. and body, 31, 101102 m. as practical, 3140, 164165, 171, 192 m. as social, 21, 44, 5758, 63, 70, 71, 213 unconscious m., 7, 206, 217 Misumi, Issei, 63, 70 Mitchell, Gordon, 111 Monroe, Paul, 46, 49, 63 Montaign, Michel de, 163 morality, 3739, 58, 6895, 106110, 113114, 158159, 176178, 192195, 218, 230 m. and perfectionism, 7692 Moran, J. S., 70 Morse, Donald, 93 Mouffe, Chantal, 195, 203 Mulvaney, Robert J., 95 multiculturalism, 75, 88, 121, 122, 199 narrative, 91, 159, 171, 174, 193, 227, 231239 naturalism, 64, 7981, 99, 101, 194 nature, 49, 54, 56, 61, 81, 86, 113, 129, 189 law of n., 53, 230 Neibuhr, Reinhold, 114 Neiman, Alvin, 189 Newman, John Henry, 197, 204 New School movement, 97, 108, 109 Nietzsche, Friedrich, 79, 8283, 191 194, 200, 204, 231 Nishihira, Tadashi, 92 Oelkers, Jrgen, 43, 50, 56, 70, 71 Olbrechts-Tyteca, L., 210, 223 Oliveira, Renato J., 223 Otto, Max Carl, 112 Palmer, George H., 50, 69

panpsychism, 79, 81 Park, Robert, 66 Paulsen, Friedrich, 63 Pavel, Thomas, 224 Peirce, Charles Sanders, 38, 13, 18 27, 70, 93, 94, 102, 145146 Perelman, Chaim, 216, 217, 221 Pestalozzi, J. H., 50 Peters, Michael A., 191, 202, 203, 226 Piaget, Jean, 58, 97110 Plato, 58, 79, 154, 175, 185188, 192, 214, 222, 237 pluralism, 30, 34, 38, 115, 118, 121, 158, 237 Polya, George, 211, 223 pragmatism, 4, 18, 27, 32, 44, 53, 70, 71, 8788, 93, 188189 definition of p., 3536, 43, 76 78, 120 neo-p., 191194, 225, 231234 p. and democracy, 5253, 79 80, 192 prophetic p., 87 problem solving, see inquiry psychology, 3032, 40, 47, 57, 101 103, 223, 234235 child p., 34, 97 gestalt p., 146 social p., 57, 70, 71 teleological p., 3239, 76 Quine, Willard V. O., 217, 224 quality, 1, 315, 1925, 33, 64, 112, 146, 151, 212, 221, 223 Ramsey, Bennett, 40 Ratner, Joseph, 143, 151 Rawls, John, 194 Readings, William, 197, 198, 203 reality, 36, 12, 18, 3538, 56, 103 104, 114, 128, 138, 154155, 185, 192194, 229230, 240 reason, 78, 16, 2627, 87, 100109, 114, 149150, 168, 176, 197, 209212, 215221 r. and inquiry, 153160, 163 Reed, Ron, 140

relation, 4, 1314, 17, 18, 21, 32, 35, 57, 189 relativism, 76, 7982, 8789, 92, 190, 238 religion, 21, 7981, 89, 111116, 120 122, 186, 213 r. in school, 115120, 130131 Renger, Paul, 63, 71 rhetoric, 205222 Ritter, Andre, 124 Roberts, Peter, 203 Rockefeller, Stephen, 77, 93, 122124 Rodrigues, Alberto Tosi, 187 Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, 235 Rorty, Richard, 75, 76, 7987, 9294, 135, 140, 185190, 191204, 226, 231, 237, 238, 240 Rose, Arnold, 71 Rosenthal, Sandra, 41 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 49, 55, 56, 66, 69, 204 Royce, Josiah, 65, 69, 77 Rubenstein, Richard F., 210, 223 Ryan, Alan, 122 Saito, Naoko, 75, 93, 94 Santayana, George, 146 Sato, Manabu, 92 Samson, Richard, 27 Saviani, Dermeval, 226231, 236, 239, 240 school, s. and democracy, 46, 5051, 108109 s. and religion, 115120, 130 131 s. as a society, 51, 98, 155 s. reform, 4849, 9798, 108 Schreier, Helmut, 127, 132, 139, 140 Schroeder, Joachim, 125 science, 40, 43, 63, 7779, 109, 116, 159, 192, 197, 201 s. and inquiry, 37, 20, 87, 99, 106, 113, 137139, 179, 207222, 230 s. education, 5051, 57, 127, 131, 147148, 171, 218, 228

Seiple, David I., 93 Selden, Raman, 202 semiotics, 3, 21, 25, 26 Sextus Empiricus, 206, 222, 238 Shakespeare, William, 198 Shook, John R., 226, 240 Sieg, Ursula, 124 sign, 35, 12, 14, 1921, 27 Simmel, Georg, 44, 51, 53, 63, 65, 68, 69 skepticism, 205206, 238 Sleeper, Ralph, 81, 94 Smeyers, Paul, 92 Smith, Philip G., 40 Smith, Richard, 92, 93 Smith, Robert L., 70 Snyders, Georges, 236 society, 4461, 121122, 135, 155, 176, 197, 213 s. and individual, 19, 34, 44, 47 48, 52, 5861, 97, 106109, 155, 185189 Socrates, 185 Steinbeck, John, 25 Standish, Paul, 83, 92, 93, 94, 95 Stickle, George W., 70 Stottlemeyer, Harry, 139 Strauss, Anselm, 63, 71 Suckiel, Ellen Kappy, 41 symbol, 19, 21, 33, 5859, 62, 65, 66, 98, 102, 133, 174, 196, 210 symbolic interactionism, 45, 65, 70 Tanner, Laurel N., 71 Tasi, Vladimir, 224 Teixeira, Ansio, 100, 101, 110 theology, 111114, 119121, 196 liberal t., 114, 116 liberation t., 119, 120, 186 Thomas, Carl, 143 Thomas, William I., 49 Thorndike, Edward L., 63, 69 Tillich, Paul, 116 Tolman, Charles W., 124 Tort, Patrick, 221 Toulmin, Stephen, 157, 161, 217, 221 tragedy, 7594, 207, 208

Troehler, Daniel, 51, 71, 122 truth, t. and belief, 6, 23, 185186, 237238 t. and inquiry, 3638, 99100, 113, 154, 178, 208 t. as correspondence, 62, 186 187 t. as objective, 64, 75 t. as practical, 3638, 43, 195 Trer, Celal, 29 Tymoczko, Thomas, 223 Upton, Albert, 27 Valsiner, Jaan, 63, 71 value, 8, 2325, 3739, 109, 121, 157 160, 163, 176179, 205208, 222 Van Der Veer, Ren, 63, 71 Vernant, Jean-Pierre, 222 Vidal-Naquet, Pierre, 222 Washington, Booker T., 50, 65, 70 Watson, John B., 44, 63 Weie, Wolfram, 124, 125 West, Cornel, 7778, 81, 86, 87, 93, 94 Westbook, Robert, 112, 122, 123 Whitman, Walt, 79 Wiener, Philip P., 27, 53, 71 Wilshire, Bruce, 40, 41 Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 95, 192, 202 Wolff, Francis, 223 Wooden, John, 23 Wordsworth, William, 90, 113 Wozniak, Robert, 63, 71 Wundt, Wilhelm, 58 Wynne, J. P., 63, 71 Yebra, Valentin G., 223 Young, Ella Flagg, 51, 70 Zeltner, Philip M., 95

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Titles Published Volumes 1 - 155 see 156. John Ryder and Krystyna Wilkoszewska, Editors, Deconstruction and Reconstruction: The Central European Pragmatist Forum, Volume Two. A volume in Studies in Pragmatism and Values 157. Javier Muguerza, Ethics and Perplexity: Toward a Critique of Dialogical Reason. Translated from the Spanish by Jody L. Doran. Edited by John R. Welch. A volume in Philosophy in Spain 158. Gregory F. Mellema, The Expectations of Morality 159. Robert Ginsberg, The Aesthetics of Ruins 160. Stan van Hooft, Life, Death, and Subjectivity: Moral Sources in Bioethics. A volume in Values in Bioethics 161. Andr Mineau, Operation Barbarossa: Ideology and Ethics Against Human Dignity 162. Arthur Efron, Expriencing Tess of the DUrbervilles: A Deweyan Account. A volume in Studies in Pragmatism and Values 163. Reyes Mate, Memory of the West: The Contemporaneity of Forgotten Jewish Thinkers. Translated from the Spanish by Anne Day Dewey. Edited by John R. Welch. A volume in Philosophy in Spain 164. Nancy Nyquist Potter, Editor, Putting Peace into Practice: Evaluating Policy on Local and Global Levels. A volume in Philosophy of Peace 165. Matti Hyry, Tuija Takala, and Peter Herissone-Kelly, Editors, Bioethics and Social Reality. A volume in Values in Bioethics 166. Maureen Sie, Justifying Blame: Why Free Will Matters and Why it Does Not. A volume in Studies in Applied Ethics 167. Leszek Koczanowicz and Beth J. Singer, Editors, Democracy and the Post-Totalitarian Experience. A volume in Studies in Pragmatism and Values 168. Michael W. Riley, Platos Cratylus: Argument, Form, and Structure. A volume in Studies in the History of Western Philosophy

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183. Daniel P. Thero, Understanding Moral Weakness. A volume in Studies in the History of Western Philosophy 184. Scott Gelfand and John R. Shook, Editors, Ectogenesis: Artificial Womb Technology and the Future of Human Reproduction. A volume in Values in Bioethics 185. Piotr Jaroszyski, Science in Culture. A volume in Gilson Studies 186. Matti Hyry, Tuija Takala, Peter Herissone-Kelly, Editors, Ethics in Biomedical Research: International Perspectives. A volume in Values in Bioethics 187. Michael Krausz, Interpretation and Transformation: Explorations in Art and the Self. A volume in Interpretation and Translation 188. Gail M. Presbey, Editor, Philosophical Perspectives on the War on Terrorism. A volume in Philosophy of Peace 189. Mara Luisa Femenas, Amy A. Oliver, Editors, Feminist Philosophy in Latin America and Spain. A volume in Philosophy in Latin America 190. Oscar Vilarroya and Francesc Forn I Argimon, Editors, Social Brain Matters: Stances on the Neurobiology of Social Cognition. A volume in Cognitive Science 191. Eugenio Garin, History of Italian Philosophy. Translated from Italian and Edited by Giorgio Pinton. A volume in Values in Italian Philosophy