經驗與民主–杜威政治哲學基礎研究

Translated title of the contribution: Experience and Democracy: Investigations into Fundamental Problems of John Dewey's Political Philosophy

Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This book uses Dewey's political philosophy as the basic topic, and explores the possibility and basis of his "democratic" ideal. The author tries to analyze the basic problems and internal structure of Dewey's political philosophy from the inside of Dewey's philosophy, and tends to regard Dewey's "democratic" ideal as an expression of his fundamental philosophical spirit. Based on this, we can see the inherent connection between Dewey's "democracy" belief and his "empirical methods". Dewey thus established the philosophical possibility of his "democracy" ideal. What it means for real life. Because, in Dewey's view, philosophy is a universal study and exploration of daily life experience, and its basis is not in a priori reason, but in life itself. As a result, the "democratic" ideal is also reflected in Dewey's philosophy as a belief in daily life and life itself. It is demonstrated through the establishment of a new type of "individualism": that is, everyone shares his Participate in the life of the community and gain your own unique character and path to growth.

[Extract]
We are involved in a changing world. Confused and frustrated as we are, we still should he faced with it. That is our destiny. And the problems are prevailing, whether in the east or in the west. Through the inquiry into western philosophy, we can acquire not only intellectual pleasure, but a challenge hack to our own situation . Inquiry will never end. The problem is where we should stand, and from which to begin our journey. It lies in how we look into the tradition that has been still alive in our life . That is the main reason for me to choose Dewey as my thesis .
John Dewey's philosophy is very complicated, for he is not a philosopher in a traditional sense. He concerns for concrete and urgent situation of human life as well as the technical articulation in philosophy. On one hand, he has a strong rejection to the western philosophical tradition. On the other hand, he always attempts to try a· kind of reconstruction. In a sense, to put some new wine into the old bottle, and in another sense, the wine also has the potentiality to shape the bottle to make it more suitable.
That is, the heart of Dewey's philosophy is to express some kind of interaction and interpenetration as the background for the consideration of our concrete problems. He realized the importance of intelligence in our living experience, not from the priority of reason, but from its lively transformation embodied in ordinary life. That is the key issue for us to understand Dewey's "instrumentalism". First, it contains a much broader view of "experience" in its significances for life and history. Second, it implies a kind of creative dynamics for its growth, and that is the reason why Dewey emphasizes on the important function of "tools" in his pragmatism.
The problem for me is how to find a proper manifestation for his intention in philosophical reconstruction. As Dewey thinks the task of philosophy is to study life-experience in a philosophical way. That is, how to meet the challenges from the concrete living situation in a critical perspective and to take the responsibility of diagnosis and prognosis. So I chose Dewey's political philosophy as an expression and articulation to expose his philosophical standpoint.
The crucial point for the study of Dewey's political philosophy is how to illustrate his faith and ideal in democracy. To express it more properly, how a kind of democratic way of life is possible? In this sense , Dewey doesn't think it is only due to some type of public institutions or a kind of duty by some social elite. It is a promise coming from a fruitful way of social inquiry. As a matter of fact, the term "inquiry" is related to the traditional theory of cognition, but for Dewey, it is contained in a much more fruitful empirical process. The key issue is that "inquiry" must be "social", and that implies the way for us to understand Dewey's method to treat the traditional notions and problems of political philosophy.
In Dewey's view, what is central for political philosophy is the problem concerning about the relationship between "the individual" and "the social". Since the relationships have been established on the former separations, it must be artificial. Thus the task for us is to reconsider the premise of the problem and start from a kind of background that has been determined by certain forms of interactions and interdependence . For Dewey, the creative potentiality of "individuals" is developed by its distinctiveness in the participation of communal life. That is, only as genuine "communication" realized in ordinary life, there would be a kind of possibility for community and democracy, for "democracy" is a way of life that finally would express it in the unique "characters" of individuals.
So it is very important to understand the function of education and art in a democratic community. For Dewey, they are the means for the growth of meanings and it is the task of philosophy to make all kinds of living experiences communicable. In this sense, philosophy is general and pervasive as "criticism of criticisms" . It is the study in and of the life itself, through the complicated processes of social inquiry. So what embodies in Dewey's ideal of democracy is the faith that there is a kind of capability lying in ordinary life to attain and express the genuine growth of human beings.
Original languageChinese
Place of PublicationShanghai
PublisherFu Dan University Press
ISBN (Print)7309033663
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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