instrumentalism


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instrumentalism:

see Dewey, JohnDewey, John,
1859–1952, American philosopher and educator, b. Burlington, Vt., grad. Univ. of Vermont, 1879, Ph.D. Johns Hopkins, 1884. He taught at the universities of Minnesota (1888–89), Michigan (1884–88, 1889–94), and Chicago (1894–1904) and at
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Instrumentalism

 

the subjective idealist doctrine of the American philosopher John Dewey and his followers, a variety of pragmatism.

In the instrumentalist view, consciousness (or intelligence, in Dewey’s terms) is a means of adaptation to changing environmental conditions: logical concepts, ideas, and scientific laws and theories are all simply instruments (hence the name “instrumen-talism”), tools, “keys to situations,” or “plans for action.” In thus rejecting the objective content of knowledge and the view that truth is a reflection of material reality, instrumentalism regards truth in purely functional respects as something that “assures success in a given situation.” Taking the concept “situation” as central, instrumentalism singles out the organism (for example, an animal, a human being, or a society) and the environment as the chief aspects of a situation and declares the central problem to be the analysis of the relations between them. Insofar as the instrumentalist point of view regards environmental features as derivative from the actions of the organism, the organism appears as something primary, a view that makes it possible to characterize instrumentalism as one of the many varieties of subjective idealism.

The leading instrumentalists (Dewey, S. Hook) are active opponents of socialism and of Marxist-Leninist theory.

B. E. BYKHOVSKII

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This attention to language and the re-writing of the curriculum as it is related to transcending the hold and sway of metaphysical instrumentalism with its reified categories of classification, importantly, reflects directly on the conception and understanding of the living human subject.
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Chapter 6 addresses ideology drawing from Marx and the Frankfurt school for examples of how the media have dominated culture through instrumentalism.
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