The Later Works, 1925-1953: 1925

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Southern Illinois University Press, 1990 - Philosophy - 409 pages
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John Dewey’s Experience and Nature has been considered the fullest expression of his mature philosophy since its eagerly awaited publication in 1925. Irwin Edman wrote at that time that “with monumental care, detail and completeness, Professor Dewey has in this volume revealed the metaphysical heart that beats its unvarying alert tempo through all his writings, whatever their explicit themes.” In his introduction to this volume, Sidney Hook points out that “Dewey’s Experience and Nature is both the most suggestive and most difficult of his writings.”

 

The meticulously edited text published here as the first vol­ume in the series The Later Works of John Dewey, 1925–1953 spans that entire period in Dewey’s thought by including two important and previously unpublished documents from the book’s history: Dewey’s unfinished new introduction written between 1947 and 1949, edited by the late Joseph Ratner, and Dewey’s unedited final draft of that introduction written the year before his death. In the intervening years Dewey realized the impossibility of making his use of the word “experience” understood. He wrote in his 1951 draft for a new introduction: “Were I to write (or rewrite) Experience and Nature today I would entitle the book Culture and Nature and the treatment of specific subject-matters would be correspondingly modified. I would abandon the term ‘experience’ because of my growing realiza­tion that the historical obstacles which prevented understand­ing of my use of ‘experience’ are, for all practical purposes, insurmountable. I would substitute the term ‘culture’ because with its meanings as now firmly established it can fully and freely carry my philosophy of experience.”

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About the author (1990)

Sidney Hook, protégé, colleague, and friend of John Dewey, is Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace.

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