28 Pages

The Impersonal Point of View and the Personal

IN the first chapter of his Experience and Nature Professor Dewey attempts a task in which (as he himself has best shown) all others have failed; in which he also fails; and in which, as I think, he was bound to fail. Under the title of "Experience and Philosophic Method," what he undertakes to do is to lay a solid foundation for philosophy-to define a philosophical starting-point, or, in common terms, to establish a basis of fact-which shall be once for all independent of personal presuppositions, interpretations, prejudices. In this Professor Dewey is faithful to the academic tradition, which looks for truth and reality in the impersonal. Your true academicist is careful to confine himself to the third person or to the impersonal "It is so." "It is so" rather than "I think so," because the use of the "I" implies an immodest intrusion of his unworthy self into a realm divinely impersonal. His feeling is that his personal motives and prejudices should have no bearing whatever upon what he is to call real.