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John Dewey's View On Truth. Essay

1544 words - 6 pages

In this paper I am going to discuss John Dewey's view on truth. John Dewey is a famous American philosopher whose works are very well-known and provide a list of ideas that changed the traditional view on philosophy and truth.One may consider Dewey's philosophy as the most successful attempt to remold the traditional Anglo-Saxon empiricism. He wanted to see in intelligence, though asserting its primacy in human endeavour, only the instrument of action, the sole effective means of universal reconstruction in a civilization which he, in spite of all denials of today, considers as essentially human, natural and democratic and which must - at its own risk - pursue its indefinitely progressive destiny through the unknown and the adventurous. Whereas in James remain some obscure elements, linked with his conception of the will to believe, Dewey has essayed with a radical and forceful candor to recover all the advantages of a practical idealism in a broadened positivism which is exclusively concerned with experience. His central purpose then seems to be to re-integrate human knowledge and activity into the general framework of universal evolution, without, at the same time, taking from man what distinguishes and exalts him among living creatures.Dewey points out that knowing as operational is a commonplace in the activities of science. The conviction that method is more important than conclusion is the very essence of scientific experimentalism. It was indeed this concentration upon technique instead of upon final ends that provided the magic to transform out of a supernatural theology and philosophy what we now know as physical science. But this very lack of novelty is, for Dewey, the impressive element, for it indicates a stupendous failure of philosophy, above all of social philosophy, to avail itself of recognized approaches to problem solving. The paralysis of method is the fatal disease here. However, no worship of physical science is intended in this connection. Dewey has argued repeatedly that all aspects of experience are equally real--science has no vested claim upon it. Experimentalism means much more than the use of tricky machinery. In its widest sense it signifies opposition to fixed ends, system-making, and changelessness; it signifies a refusal to divorce thought from action. It stands for provisionalism and reconstruction, the reliance, that is, upon working hypotheses rather than upon immutable principles. Thus, science is in no wise limited to the professional scientist. It represents an attitude that can function in any area of experience, an attitude of free and effective intelligence. The extension of such a temper would be indeed the "unified science" that is being sought in many circles.And the installation of this experimental methodology would constitute a true Copernican revolution in social and political philosophy. For it would dislocate the orbit of social thinking which to so great an extent is now centered in fixed...

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