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Ursula Renz

In the past few years, the philosophical debate about self-knowledge has presented itself in a strikingly ‘pre-Kantian’ fashion. Some claimed that all sorts of self-knowledge can be analyzed in the manner of the empiricists, or in terms of cognitive psychology (to use a more contemporary label), whereas defenders of rationalism have not grown tired of voicing the claim that there must be some sort of self-knowledge present and underlying, as it were, all sorts of epistemic self-concern. It is against this background that this paper advocates what I would call a ‘Kantian’ strategy to approach the problem of self-knowledge. Taking Kant as a model, it argues, we may come to see how the current divide between empiricism and rationalism may be overcome in philosophical theorizing about self-knowledge.

Christophe Point

With this proposal, we wish to revisit the Idea of the University in the perspective of the democratic project of the American philosopher and pragmatist John Dewey. Our hypothesis consists in the thesis that the deweyen project confronts the problem of the social distribution of knowledge, in the aim of giving us the means to transform the latter. In this way, if we consider that the university is part of this distribution through its student learning function, then our purpose is to demonstrate that this learning is currently guided by an individual intelligence paradigm harms that the development of collective intelligence. For John Dewey, the latter is one of the central means of his democratic project which would reconcile the Idea of a University with real University institutions. Therefore, according to him, if universities want to contribute to the democratic project, we must adopt a new pedagogical orientation promoting individual and collective intelligence.

Asger Sørensen

The idea of the university is habitually discussed in relation to German or English language classics. Instead, I will focus on the Spanish language periphery arguing that the discussions there merit attention for distinguishing between three central Old World models of the university, namely, apart from the English and the German, also a French one. Moreover, the marginal perspective stresses the social and political importance of the university. In this perspective, José Ortega y Gasset deserves attention for arguing for a university in the service of a modern republican state. Ortega stresses the importance of a cultural formation that includes the sciences to make enlightened decisions, the distinction between teaching a discipline and doing research within it, and that between a scientist doing research and a highly educated professional practitioner. Unfortunately, the role of knowledge and truth is neglected. The argument from the periphery is therefore necessary albeit not sufficient.

Matthew Festenstein

The analysis and defence of democracy on the grounds of its epistemic powers is now a well-established, if contentious, area of theoretical and empirical research. This article reconstructs a distinctive and systematic epistemic account of democracy from Dewey’s writings. Running like a thread through this account is a critical analysis of the distortion of hierarchy and class division on social knowledge, which Dewey believes democracy can counteract. The article goes on to argue that Dewey’s account has the resources to defuse at least some important forms of the broader charges of instrumentalism and depoliticization that are directed at the epistemic project. The gloomy conviction of the stratified character of capitalist societies and the conflictual character of their politics shapes Dewey’s view of political agency, and this article outlines how this epistemic conception of democracy is deployed as a critical standard for judging and transforming existing political forms but also serves as a line of defence for democratic political forms against violent and authoritarian alternatives.

Judy D. Whipps

The current global wave of nationalism threatens the process of shared critical reflection, driving many of us back to reading Hannah Arendt. These “dark times” are especially challenging from a Deweyan pragmatist perspective because critical and cooperative inquiry requires a free community of thinkers. Having lived in a near-fascist religious group for fifteen years, this essay brings personal experiences to the questions of how we think as well as create spaces for diverse yet shared realities to think and act in freedom. Drawing on Arendt as well as Dewey, Addams, and Minnich, this essay explores three necessities for integrity in dark times: (a) Radical honesty and reflection which requires facing up to reality and being mindful about events in our world; (b) Building communities: creating shared reality and public spaces to appear, (c) Developing the skills of engaged thinking and the capacity for deep reflection as a foundation for action together.

Kenneth W. Stikkers

Economist Amartya Sen’s and philosopher Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities approach to economic development enjoys global attention, and there has been considerable interest in connections between it and pragmatism.1 This paper argues, first, that there are indeed strong, productive affinities between Sen’s and Nussbaum’s understanding of ‘capabilities’ in rethinking how economies are to be developed and measured, on the one hand, and John Dewey’s notion of ‘growth’ and applications of pragmatism to economics, by economists such as Thorstein Veblen, John Commons, and, more recently, Daniel Bromley, to rethink and to reconstruct their discipline, on the other. Second, the paper suggests that Dewey’s notion of ‘growth’ can do much to strengthen and to deepen Sen’s and Nussbaum’s “capabilities approaches” to economics. Third, it suggests that Dewey enriches notions of ‘science’ and ‘democracy’, which are largely underdeveloped in capabilities approaches.

Aaron Pratt Shepherd

John Dewey’s role as a “public philosopher” is well-documented; his political activism, however, has not received much attention from philosophers. While Dewey is well remembered as a philosopher who escaped the walls of the academy to speak to and write for general audiences, he also lent his name, status, and intellectual energy to political organizations and movements in American politics. In the first part of the paper, I provide an introduction to Dewey’s activism and its relation to the philosophical project of “democratization.” I consider present-day parallels between Dewey’s diagnosis of America’s political problems and the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, as well as the structural and methodological challenges facing a Deweyan progressive politics. I conclude by advocating for a new conception of “public pragmatism” that reflects lessons learned and contemporary conditions for political activism by philosophers seeking to follow in Dewey’s footsteps.