Quotations by Dewey, John


Any theory and set of practices is dogmatic which is not based upon critical examination of its own underlying principles.

John Dewey (1859-1952) American teacher and philosopher
Experience and Education, ch. 1 (1938)
Added on 2-Nov-09 | Last updated 2-Nov-09
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Let us admit the case of the conservative. If we once start thinking, no one can guarantee what will be the outcome, except that many objects, ends, and institutions will be surely doomed. Every thinker puts some portion of an apparently stable world in peril, and no one can wholly predict what will emerge in its place.

John Dewey (1859-1952) American teacher and philosopher
Experience and Nature, ch. 6 “Nature, Mind and the Subject” (1929)
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Book form of the inaugural Paul Carus lectures, given by Dewey in 1925.
Added on 30-Dec-20 | Last updated 30-Dec-20
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There are two schools of social reform. One bases itself upon the notion of a morality which springs from an inner freedom, something mysteriously cooped up within personality. It asserts that the only way to change institutions is for men to purify their own hearts, and that when this has been accomplished, change of institutions will follow of itself. The other school denies the existence of any such inner power. … It says that men are made what the are by the forces of the environment, that human nature is purely malleable, and that till institutions are changed, nothing can be done. … There is an alternative to being penned in between these two theories. We can recognize that all conduct is interaction between elements of human nature and the environment, natural and social.

John Dewey (1859-1952) American teacher and philosopher
Human Nature and Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology, Introduction (1922)
Added on 15-Feb-13 | Last updated 15-Feb-13
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No individual or group will be judged by whether they come up to or fall short of some fixed result, but by the direction in which they are moving. The band mans is the man who no matter how good he has been is beginning to deteriorate, to grow less good. The good man in the man who no matter how morally unworthy he has been is moving to become better. Such a conception makes one severe in judging himself and humane in judging others.

John Dewey (1859-1952) American teacher and philosopher
Reconstruction in Philosophy, ch. 7 “Moral Reconstruction” (1919)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 30-Dec-20
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