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Psycology » Persons » Thinkers » John Dewey (1859-1952)

John Dewey worked during a time of tremendous upheaval in the world of the First World War, the revolution in different countries, the Great Depression - the global economic crisis.

"The lack of security and the fight became so universal that the dominant mood is restless and pessimistic uncertainty." Social tensions, instability, uncertainty about the future prompted Dewey look for ideas that would, in his words, "reconstructed" philosophy and made her acting, helping people survive in a radically changing world. Updated ideas Dewey pragmatism is called instrumentalism, which, according to the author, should be a method of detecting and interpreting the most serious of the conflicts that occur in life, by the moral and political diagnosis and prognosis.

The main categories of instrumentalism is an experience in which subject and object merge, "coordinated". Dewey emphasizes the importance of the rational, intellectual activity in human experience. However, the concept of "experience" is interpreted very broadly (experience - is not only rational, but also madness, illness, confusion, nonsense, etc). Experience, Dewey, not just a continuous stream of life, and a series of situations: "The statement that individuals live in the world, means specifically that they live in a series of situations." Experience for Dewey is an important quality - focus on the future. It aims to transform the environment and the desire to control it in new directions. In this regard, the experience is always intertwined real (that should change) and ideal (plans to transform).

Dewey considers the idea as a means of influencing and changing the reality of the situation in the desired direction for the person. He insists that the truth of ideas is determined by their efficacy, success in solving the problems a person. The idea is true if it corresponds to the situation as "the key meets the conditions imposed by the castle."

Lot of hard work on the problems of Dewey "Man and Society", "human rights and democracy", "Democracy and Education". Watching the changes taking place in American society and associated with a rapid process of industrialization, noted philosopher real deformation of democratic ideas "founding fathers of the state." How to keep and strengthen the democratic foundations of society? The answer to this question Dewey finds a new interpretation of the concept of "democracy". He persisted in the idea that the essence of democracy is not in the form of control, it is not only associated with the policy and can not be reduced to the concepts of "control" and "controlled." Democracy, according to Dewey, - it is a way of human life, is "a form of bringing people together, by which the individual realizes himself and promotes the common good."

The notion of "democracy" in the works of Dewey carries no political and administrative, and ethical sense.

Dewey regarded man as a combination of biological and psychological characteristics, and he especially emphasized the importance of the social element in the development of the individual person for Dewey - the active substance, which is inseparably linked with the social environment.

Ideas about human behavior in a rapidly changing society, which became the U.S. at the turn of the centuries, Dewey outlined in many of his writings: "Human nature and behavior" (1922), "How We Think" (1910), "Democracy and Education", (1916), "Individualism - old and new" (1930) and others, Dewey argued that democracy creates the most stable and united society people. It all or most have the ability and freedom to take the initiative and create something new, and thus "the individual continuously reveals forms and reorganizes his" I "as a member of the community for its well-being."

In a traditional society, in which the changes are slow and almost imperceptible, a man by his actions and behavior is guided by instinct, the prevailing social traditions. The situation is different in a rapidly changing society. The speed of change in it is so great that there is no reason to speak of a priori concepts, values ​​of "good" and "bad," says Dewey.

He justifies the category of "reflective morality", the essence of which the human capacity for self-regulation of behavior. In every life situation a person should make decisions and determine the nature of the actions and behavior consistent with the good of society. Democratic society, Dewey points out, "provides individual freedom, but at the same time it imposes on him the responsibility for their actions", requires the development of the mind and the ability to determine their own actions, "not letting others besot myself."

"Reflective ethics" was subjected to severe criticism in the United States and in other countries. Dewey accused of amorality, moral relativism. Critics tried not to notice that the philosopher not only substantiated the idea of ​​"reflective morality", but also developed the concept of how to prepare a person to self-regulate behavior. This is the subject of his book, "How We Think" (1910).

In an autocratic society, says Dewey, from the person required obedience, obedience, following prescribed instructions. In a democracy, the person having the freedom initiatives and actions to be developed independently, "reflective" thinking. Last, Dewey - is "active, persistent, careful consideration of the sum of knowledge or beliefs in light of the foundations on which they are based, and further development of their own conclusions." Reflective thinking is always associated with the search for a way out of the difficulties, the need to solve problems arising in human situations.

Choice situation encourages people to resort to the use of methods and levels of knowledge specific to science.

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