"A major contribution to the ongoing effort to come fully to grips with the most significant American philosopher of the twentieth century. Richard Gale's reading of John Dewey as a 'Promethean mystic' is analytically acute and persuasive. And, not least, it is marked by the sort of caustic wit one rarely finds in gray earnestness of much of the Dewey literature." --Robert Westbrook
, professor of history at the University of Rochester and author of John Dewey and American Democracy
"The astonishing revival of interest in John Dewey continues to produce thoughtful appreciations and vigorous critiques of his work. Richard Gale's new book is a vibrant attempt to assess Dewey's contribution to philosophy. Although his criticisms of Dewey will be widely criticized, the picture he paints of this philosophical giant cannot be ignored. Gale brings great energy, clear vision and a measure of love for Dewey to his task." --John Lachs, Centennial Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University and author (most recently) of A Community of Individuals (Routledge).
"This admirably compact book presents an integrated view of John Dewey's philosophy of inquiry, metaphysics, education, and aesthetics, and it allows us to see--better than any work that I know--the degree to which Dewey is a systematic thinker. In Gale's convincing systematization of Dewey's thought 'growth' is the summum bonum, with inquiry just below, then moral democracy and education all serving that end. Yet Gale is a critical as well as a systematic thinker, and he is especially good at identifying deep, recurring tensions in Dewey's system in a clear and convincing manner: for example, between Dewey's claim that situations have an ineffable character and the central role of communication in his philosophy of education and theory of inquiry. Readers of Gales' earlier writings on William James will expect a certain ribald character to his examples, which along with autobiographical episodes about his life delivering payola in the recording industry, help define the literary character of one of the best expositors and critics of the classical pragmatists writing today." --Russell B. Goodman, Regents Professor of Philosophy, University of New Mexico, Author of Wittgenstein and William James (Cambridge, 2002), American Philosophy and the Romantic Tradition (Cambridge, 1990); editor, Pragmatism: Critical Concepts in Philosophy (Routledge, 2005), Contending with Stanley Cavell (Oxford, 2005), Pragmatism: A Contemporary Reader (Routledge, 1995).
"Much of the Dewey scholarship proceeds on the belief that Dewey is never truly criticized, but only misunderstood. This article of faith is shattered by Richard Gale's important new book. Here we have a philosophically nuanced and thoroughly researched critical assessment of Dewey's philosophy. To be sure, the mystical and metaphysical Dewey that emerges from Gale's sharp analyses will disturb contemporary members of Dewey's flock, but Gale's arguments are powerful and compelling. This book introduces into literature a desperately-needed antidote to the Dewey-worship that presently prevails." --Robert B. Talisse, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University,Author of A Pragmatist Philosophy of Democracy