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Experience and Nature Perfect Paperback – June 1, 1958

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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Enlarged, Revised edition (June 1, 1958)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486204715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486204710
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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74 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Gabriel on April 22, 2000
Format: Perfect Paperback
In this excellent read, John Dewey further exploits his concept of "experience" as foundational to human knowledge. Dewey's concept of "experience" represents a breakthrough in empiricism, as "experience" for Dewey is not merely "sense impressions" as it was for earlier empiricists. Dewey's "experience" is an iterative process and thoroughlly embodied; the qualities of each individual experience become functioning parts of one's experience in a larger sense, serving to transform the qualities one will experience under certain conditions in the future. Fot the sake of illustration, consider a child's first experience of fire: it is beautiful, exciting, and enticing, until the child gets burned: then each subsequent experience of fire contains an element of fear and danger, as the previous experience transforms the experiences to come.
Dewey uses this concept of experience to provide a theory he calls "naturalistic empiricism"; a pragmatic theory of knowledge that provides a basis for his later inquiries into knowledge and human experience. His treatment of the ontogeny of knowledge provides a compelling, thoroughly materialistic, and Darwinian account of the development of thinking in the human animal without lapsing into an isolating solipsism or into a fanciful dualism. The prevalence of Hegelian philosophy in Dewey's earlier philosophic work and his training as a psychologist provide him with an eye for solid methodology, a powerful sense of the role of social structure in human thinking, and a talent for synthesis.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A.E.V. on March 19, 2007
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
After deciding to work my way through every Dewey book I could still find in print, I finally got into this one. Dewey's other works are good, but this one is great.

This book is, minimally, essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the epistemology underlying Dewey's educational theory. Or, in fact, any of his other theories.

More than that, it is possibly the best single articulation of pragmatic philosophy; where William James applied pragmatic method to specific issues of morals and metaphysics, Dewey has here expounded on many of the broad implications of that method. The central ideas of this book are the inclusion of quality and ends in natural existence, which are shown to have broad implications for topics such as scientific inquiry, theories of value, and aesthetics. This is one of the best works of epistemology I have ever read. Best of all, it is rigorous and wide-ranging without becoming a System.

At most, it may be the most important work of philosophy ever written in the history of the universe. I'm not going to go that far, though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gary L. Herstein on April 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dewey's major attempt at metaphysics is not without its flaws, but no major work of philosophy ever is. This is an important contribution to Western thought -- not on a scale of Whitehead's "Process and Reality," or Murdoch's "Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals," but far above the irritating twaddle that passes for "analytical metaphysics," or the fatuous "rejection" (as though that was possible!) of metaphysics by 1st and 2nd generation continental thinkers.

This book challenges the reader, and demands considerable thought and attention. Even if one ultimately concludes that Dewey's argument is flawed, the attempt at that argument is already a major step beyond the primary assumptions of Cartesian dualism, Kantian facultative psychology, and the mangled attempts to make sense of the world by so many thinkers today who variously accept those assumptions (even if that acceptance is only in the form of the naïve rejection thereof.)

This Kindle edition is a true eBook, with an active ToC, and hypertexted footnotes. This is an important contribution to digital scholarship.
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Format: Hardcover
John Dewey (1859-1952) was an American philosopher (best known as a Pragmatist), psychologist, and educational reformer whose ideas of “progressive education” have been very influential (as well as controversial, in some circles). He wrote many books, including Reconstruction in Philosophy, The Quest for Certainty, A Common Faith, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to the revised 1929 edition of this book, “I believe that the method of empirical naturalism presented in this volume provides the way, and the only way---although of course no two thinkers will travel it in just the same fashion---by which one can freely accept the standpoint and conclusions of modern science: the way by which we can be genuinely naturalistic and yet maintain cherished values, provided they are critically clarified and reinforced. The naturalistic method… destroys many things much cherished; but it destroys them by revealing their inconsistency with the nature of things… But its main purpose is not destructive… it inspires the mind with courage and vitality to create new ideals and values in the face of the perplexities of a new world.” (Pg. ii-iii) Similarly, he began the first chapter with the statement, “The title of this volume… is intended to signify that the philosophy here presented may be termed either empirical naturalism or naturalistic empiricism, or, taking ‘experience’ in its usual signification, naturalistic humanism.” (Pg.
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