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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Through a comparison, Friedman's methodological stance is interpreted as a case of causal inadequacy hence instrumentalism. This methodological comparison is independent of any historical speculation, it is thus applicable regardless one gives credit to the historical account.
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