Dewey John


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Dewey John

(1859-1952) US pragmatist philosopher and writer on psychology and social affairs who also influenced American sociology, especially the work of G. H. MEAD. His contribution to PRAGMATISM (his own preferred term was ‘instrumentalism’) was to argue that knowledge is to be determined by its effectiveness, both in experiments and in practical accomplishments, and by its service to human interests and human needs. He rejected all forms of essentialism or idealist conceptions of knowledge which presented knowledge as timeless and as capable of being established by the solitary individual. He also rejected all forms of DUALISM (e.g. between mind and body or facts and values); for him, Man and nature were continuous, and knowledge always socially located.