chapter  27
DEWEYAN PRAGMATISM AND AMERICAN EDUCATION
ByAlan Ryan
Pages 17

This essay has three purposes: to show the connection between Dewey’s pragmatism and his ideas about education; to link his conception of philosophy to his views about the character of modern society in general, and modern American society in particular; and to draw some lessons from these two discussions. I do not do this under these headings. I begin with the difficulty that many readers have in knowing quite what Dewey wanted to say about philosophy, education, and many other subjects, and then turn to an account of his educational ideas. I mostly concern myself with his early writings-that is, what he wrote in the ten years he was in Chicago and in the years immediately after that. The reason is that on education, these were the years of his greatest inventiveness, and thereafter he mostly defended himself against misunderstanding. On his politics, I focus, for what I think are good reasons, on his thoughts about American nationalism in the context of World War I. I end, very briefly, with an account of what I think we may learn from those First World War thoughts.