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John Dewey And Ayn Rand

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Can someone explain to me the similarities and differences between Dewey and Rand, just basic differences, my problem lies in I have been learning Dewey in school. And most things he says make me wanna throw up but then my teacher says he believes in a single world as I think Rand does and my professor says that Dewey was in favor of individualism which of course I support, so can someone just explain this to me.

Thanks,

David C,

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Another question on top of this, what is the difference between Dewey and Pragmatism and Kant and Pragmatism?

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A good place to start would be pragmatism in the Ayn Rand Lexicon. You could then follow up on the entry's sources. For her evaluation of Dewey's educational theories see "The Comprachicos" in The New Left: the Anti-Industrial Revolution.

Dewey was a pragmatist. Kant was not; he lived and wrote several generations before the notion came along. If you find out a connection between Kant and pragmatism, let us know. If you find it in Peikoff, see below.

Dewey as individualist is a new one. This might allude to the undisciplined, unintellectual self-indulgence that his educational theories supposedly promote. If so, it's grossly incompatible with Rand's understanding of the term.

A word to the wise:

What I'm about to tell you might hurt at this stage of your Objectivist education, but it will only hurt worse if you put it off. Like many original and important philosophers at least as far back as Aristotle, Rand was not at her best as a historian or critic. You should not take her word (or Peikoff's) in these matters. See if you can spell out a case of your own for some claim you want to make in the history of philosophy. If you can't, keep it under wraps until you can.

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David,

In your class, are you reading things written by Dewey himself? What writings specifically are you reading by Dewey? Any?

Stephen

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Reidy- I definitely form my own opinions, regardless of what it pertains to, history, ethics, anything. This is what I like about Rand philosophy she never tells you just to believe it which I don't, a philosophy has to be logical to me for me to understand it, and with regard to history it has to factually proven by me or someone I believe speaks in facts and logic and reason. And yes Stephen we read a chapter or two from one of Dewey's books. I didn't think Dewey supported the individual from the readings it just didn't add up, that's why I was confused when my professor told me he was support in support of it, my professor said that Dewey believed that by supporting society and individualism in Dewey's eyes were a balancing act in constant motion, but to me that's a contradiction, and we all know those don't exist. :)

Thanks both of you,

David C.

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David,

I’ve only glimpsed some of Dewey’s ideas in political philosophy (e.g.) and only glimpsed some of his ideas in education theory. I know he was an outspoken opponent of totalitarian government.

I have studied some of Dewey’s philosophy in metaphysics and theory of knowledge. I posted here a paper I wrote in 1999 titled “John Dewey on Perception and Conception.” It is a canvas of Dewey’s views on those topics. Evaluation of their truth, as well as comparison with Rand, is left as an adventure for the reader, although there is one evaluative follow-up post I made “Taking Issue” in that thread.

Dewey’s theory of truth and its setting with his pragmatist cohorts Peirce and James has been canvassed and assessed here (wait a couple of minutes for it to load) by Merlin Jetton, a participant at OL.

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Stephen thanks a bunch

David C.

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David:

There are a number of threads that have discussed Dewey.

Just run his name in the search at the top right of your screen.

I find him to be one of the most malignant individuals in American educational history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horace_Mann common schools, common core, common child - Ellsworth Toohey:

We’ve taught men to unite. This makes one neck ready for one leash. We found the magic word. Collectivism.

That is from Toughy's speech to Peter in the Fountainhead, great piece of writing, here is the link to it:

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=004FMp

A...

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Hey thanks Selene, I don't use the search because I like specific answers to questions I have but still thanks for the suggestion, and I agree with point you made on Dewey, he brought in a ton of ideas that greatly hurt the education system.

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In the final chapter of his work The Public and its Problems (PAIP) John Dewey suggests that, despite the insistence of most social theorists, if we regard the so-called individual/social distinction as a gap to be bridged or as an antithesis to be synthesized then our nose for public & democratic reform has been tricked by a central red herring of political modernity:

The preliminary to fruitful discussion of social matters is that certain obstacles shall be overcome, obstacles residing in our present conceptions of the method of social inquiry. One of the obstructions in the path is the seemingly engrained notion that the first and last problem which must be solved is the relation of the individual and the social:—or that the outstanding question is to determine the relative merits of individualism and collective or of some compromise between them. [PAIP LW2:351]

A final solution...to a first and last problem...hmm where have I heard that before...?

The above is from a Vanderbilt University paper [http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Poli/PoliZema.htm]

Mr. Zeman, the author explains that:

The Socioeconomic Ideology of Individualism

According to Dewey, the first and foremost socioeconomic individualist was John Locke, and for a basic, if expedient, reason: To help curb the abuses wrought by late-feudal authorities upon landowners, Locke created—under the influence of Hobbes, Robert Boyle, and, more directly, the Earl of Shaftesbury—a system of negative rights. That is, partly to stem the tide of religious intolerance which had risen with the Protestant Reformation, but also partly to counter the excessive taxation of land-owners by oft-capricious rulers, Locke generated a strategically convenient argument for natural rights, the chief right being, by course, the individual right to secured property, to property the interference of which by another is illegal because "unnatural" or "ungodly". Indeed, although Locke formally suggests at times that property originates when an individual "mixes" himself through his labor with some hitherto unappropriated and unmixed object of desire, he often goes so far as to include under the rubric "property" anything belonging to an individual's "life, liberties, and estates", anything or anyone, that is, inherited (or produced) which can be considered one's "own"—including one's slaves or one's very "self". He comes to mean by property, then, that which government and political society ought to protect, that which, by reciprocal extension, political society and government can interfere with, regulate, or organize only when the owner of this property has himself trespassed upon another property owner's affairs.

For Dewey, this contingently situated political strategy helped to produce and fuel the main engine of the ideology we are here calling individualism. On the one hand, by radically challenging the rather whimsical and unchecked power of dynastic authority, Locke cultivated the rights-infused ground upon which the first 'democracies' could grow. To limit government's authoritarian power it becomes natural, felicitous, and just to establish government by consent—a "social contract" between rulers and the individuals so ruled. Limited governmental authority and limited citizen freedom are in this respect formed through mutual, if negative, exchange: Only by paying those taxes and submitting to those laws agreed upon in social contract will any citizen receive in return policing protections under which to more or less freely pursue private interests. Reciprocally, political authority will gain social consent and, as such, legitimize its regulation of private pursuits—demanding submission to laws here or the payment of taxes there—only by protecting the citizenry from internal deviants and external invaders. If government endangers or breaks the "inalienable" rights of citizens who consent to its authority, however, the citizenry involved can emend the contract or even revolt so as to establish a new one. Indeed, it is well known that Locke helped to inspire and philosophically justify the French and American Revolutions as well as the American Declaration of Independence. At least so goes the positive and popular version of Locke's legacy.

That's as far as I've gotten.

It has the dude's e-mail. you should contact him and start a discussion.

A...

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In the late 1920's John Dewey visited Soviet Russia and wrote glowing reports of what he saw for the New Republic magazine, later collected in a book. Here it is online:

Impressions of Soviet Russia

Ayn Rand doesn't mention this anywhere. I wonder if she knew of it.

Mark

ARIwatch.com

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In the late 1920's John Dewey visited Soviet Russia and wrote glowing reports of what he saw for the New Republic magazine, later collected in a book. Here it is online:

Impressions of Soviet Russia

Ayn Rand doesn't mention this anywhere. I wonder if she knew of it.

Mark

ARIwatch.com

Yep, a real believer in the "individual" and individualism as long as it is absorbed into the body, the collective.

Despicable human being.

A...

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In the late 1920's John Dewey visited Soviet Russia and wrote glowing reports of what he saw for the New Republic magazine, later collected in a book. Here it is online:

Impressions of Soviet Russia

Ayn Rand doesn't mention this anywhere. I wonder if she knew of it.

Mark

ARIwatch.com

I wonder if Dewey got the Potemkin Village tour.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Side point: though I don't have any citations at hand, I've read that Dewey, like Peikoff and Rand, considered Kant's duty-centered ethics a source of Naziism.

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.

Peter, your memory is true. You missed that link in #6. The citation is at hand. From my paper:

"In 1942 Dewey issued a second edition of German Philosophy and Politics, adding a large Introduction in which he applied his earlier analysis to the rise of Hitler and the new world war. I shall discuss Dewey’s extended account and the criticisms of his account made by two Kantians shortly after World War II. Then comes Leonard Peikoff 1982."

Thanks for the link in #11, Mark. And Adam, for the link in #10.

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