John Dewey’s Philosophy

John Dewey’s Philosophy

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

For Dewey, philosophy, as it is for all pragmatists, should not be an intellectual pursuit that is disconnected from everyday life, making the problems of practical life even more complex and incomprehensible, but should be a practical effort to help people solve their problems.

According to Dewey, for example, “is knowledge possible?” It is useless to deal with such questions. Philosophical inquiry must proceed from the problems of various human activities and raise ideas that bring solutions to them.

In this respect, Dewey’s philosophical stance is rooted in a philosophy and understanding of knowledge that goes back to Bacon. can be said to have received.

Dewey opposes all kinds of dualism based on opposing dichotomies such as end-means, soul-body, individual-social, thought-action, organism-environment, human-nature, worldly-religious, fact-value in traditional philosophy. According to him, these dualisms are remnants of different social systems and cultures, and far from being useful for philosophy, they complicate things even more.


According to Dewey, man is a product of biological evolution and is a part of nature. Nature, on the other hand, is an organic whole that is constantly in formation. There is no room for radical disconnection and dualism in it. After these thoughts, which seem to be clearly influenced by evolutionism and the evolutionist biology of the period, Dewev rejects the audience epistemology altogether. According to him, traditional epistemologies separated the subject and the object (the knower/known) and made the relations between the two mysterious.

The main purpose of man, who is a part of nature, is to adapt to the natural and social environment. Experience takes place in this framework, and transactions between the organism and its environment are exchanges.


According to Dewey, knowledge will guide us in harmonizing our interaction with our environment, not the passive observation and recording of facts. It is a constructive activity for the formation of concepts. Thinking and conceptual frameworks (knowledge) that emerge as a result of thinking are also a tool for the organism’s response and solution for the solution of problematic situations that arise during the adaptation process. Herein lies the essence of Dewey’s aim.


According to Dewey, “research”, which is indispensable for scientific thought, begins with the recognition of the problematic situation in which the usual responses to the environment are insufficient to meet the needs and desires. Naturally, questionable situations are situations in which people’s habitual responses to the environment are insufficient to meet their needs and desires.

The second stage of the research is the definition of the situation.

The third stage is the reflection stage, in which ideas, assumptions, and institutions are developed as hypothetical solutions to the problematic situation.

In the last stage, these developed solutions (assumptions, theories, etc.) are tested and put to the test. In this context, scientific thinking and research for Dewey is nothing more than a developed, thoroughly cultivated form of common sense (common sense).


According to Dewey, truth is not a relationship of conformity, overlap or reciprocity between beliefs and facts, as advocated in all epistemology based on the distinction between the knowing subject and the known object, in the audience/audience epistemology; As with all pragmatists, it is he who succeeds in practice: “Truthfulness is what works or gives satisfaction.” If the solution proposals developed during the research process are successful in eliminating the problematic situation, the results of that research can be accepted as correct. According to Dewey, there is no such thing as certainty.

According to him, people can be wrong; Dewey, like all advocates of pragmatism, is fallible. In the final analysis, for Dewey, there is no difference between the truths in science and the truths about beliefs in terms of human life. It makes no sense to pragmatism in general and Dewey in particular that they assert themselves as truthful without making the slightest contribution to human life, whether scientific theories or belief-based designs. It doesn’t matter if this or that theory or design is correct if it brings practically no positive change in human life in the context of practice.