John Dewey's Philosophy of Spirit: With the 1897 Lecture on Hegel

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John Robert Shook, James James Allan Good
Fordham University Press, 2010 - Philosophy - 197 pages
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This book furthers the research begun in John Shook's "Dewey's Empirical Theory of Knowledge and Reality" (2000) and James Good's "A Search for Unity in Diversity: The 'Permanent Hegelian Deposit' in the Philosophy of John Dewey" (2006). Both authors have countered the traditional narrative of Dewey's intellectual development by arguing that he never made a clean break from Hegel. This volume explores Dewey's philosophy of religion in general and his inheritance of a 'philosophy of spirit' from Hegel in particular. Shook and Good agree that Dewey did have a philosophy of spirit, that it was heavily indebted to Hegelian themes, and that Dewey's mature philosophy of religion is a key component of his social and political theory. In addition to Dewey's 1897 lecture on Hegel's Philosophy of Spirit, the book contains an essay by Shook that examines the role of religion throughout Dewey's oeuvre, and an essay by Good that closely analyzes Dewey's lecture. The primary thrust of the volume is to demonstrate that Dewey's understanding of the functions of religion, religious experience, and democratic politics are profoundly indebted to Hegel. Of special significance for Dewey's maturing thought is his historicist and progressive view of Hegel's treatment of freedom, religion, morality, and politics. For Dewey, Hegel's philosophy of spirit leads directly towards the democratic fellowship of common humanity, which becomes the cornerstone of Dewey's own politics.

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About the author (2010)


John Shook is Research Associate in philosophy at the University at Buffalo and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, New York.

James A. Good is Professor of History and Chair of the Department of Social Sciences at Lone Star College, North Harris in Houston, Texas.

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