The very existence of science is evidence that experience is such an occurrence that it pene- trates into nature and expands without limit through it. These remarks are not supposed to prove anything about experience and nature for philosophical doctrine; they are not supposed to settle anything about the worth of em- pirical naturalism.
But they do show that in the case of natural science we habitually treat experience as starting- point, and as method for dealing with nature, and as the goal in which nature is disclosed for what it is. To realize this fact is at least to weaken those verbal associations which stand in the way of apprehending the force of em- pirical method in philosophy.
The same considerations apply to the other objection that. If experience actually pre- sents esthetic and moral traits, then these traits may also be supposed to reach down into nature, and to testify to something that belongs to nature as truly as does the me- chanical structure attributed to it in physical science. To rule out that possibility by some general reasoning is to forget that the very meaning and purport of empirical method is that things are to be studied on their own account, so as to find out what is revealed when they are experienced.
The traits possessed by the subject-matters of experience are as genuine as the characteristics of sun and electron. They are jound, experienced, and are not to be shoved out of being by some trick of logic. When found, their ideal qualities are as relevant to the philo- sophic theory of nature as are the traits found by physical inquiry. To discover some of these general features of experi- enced things and to interpret their significance for a phil- osophic theory of the universe in which we live is the aim of this volume.
From the point of view adopted, the theory of empirical method in philosophy does for experi- enced subject-matter on a liberal scale what it does for special sciences on a technical scale. It is this aspect of method with which we are especially concerned in the present chapter. If the empirical method were universally or even gen- erally adopted in philosophizing, there would be no need of referring to experience.
The scientific inquirer talks and writes about particular observed events and qualities, about specific calculations and reasonings. He makes no allu- sion to experience; one would probably have to search a long time through reports of special researches in order to find the word. Yet this was not always so. Before the technique of empirical method was developed and generally adopted, it was necessary to dwell explicitly upon the importance of "experience" as a starting point and terminal point, as setting problems and as testing proposed solutions.
We need not be content with the conventional allusion to Roger Bacon and Francis Bacon. The followers of Newton and the followers of the Cartesian school carried on a definite controversy as to the place occupied by experience and experiment in science as compared with intuitive concepts and with reasoning from them. The Cartesian school relegated experience to a secondary and almost accidental place, and only when the Galilean-Newtonian method had wholly triumphed did it cease to be necessary to mention the importance of experience. We may, if sufficiently hopeful, anticipate a similar outcome in philosophy.
But the date does not appear to be close at hand ; we are nearer in philosophic theory to the time of Roger Bacon than to that of Newton. In short, it is the contrast of empirical method with other methods employed in philosophizing, together with the striking dissimilarity of results yielded by an em- pirical method and professed non-empirical methods that make the discussion of the methodological import of "experience" for philosophy pertinent and indeed indispensable.
The distinction is one between what is experienced as the result of a minimum of incidental reflection and what is experienced in consequence of con- tinued and regulated reflective inquiry. For derived and refined products are experienced only because of the inter- vention of systematic thinking.
The objects of both science and philosophy obviously belong chiefly to the secondary and refined system. But at this point we come to a marked divergence between science and philosophy. For the natural sciences not only draw their material from primary experience, but they refer it back again for test. Darwin began with the pigeons, cattle and plants of breeders and gardeners. Some of the con- clusions he reached were so contrary to accepted beliefs that they were condemned as absurd, contrary to common- sense, etc.
But scientific men, whether they accepted his theories or not, employed his hypotheses as directive ideas for making new observations and experiments among the things of raw experience just as the metallurgist who extracts refined metal from crude ore makes tools that are then set to work to control and use other crude materials. An Einstein working by highly elaborate methods of reflec- tion, calculates theoretically certain results in the deflection of light by the presence of the sun.
A technically equipped expedition is sent to South Africa so that by means of experiencing a thing an eclipse in crude, primary, ex- perience, observations can be secured to compare with, and test the theory implied in, the calculated result. The facts are familiar enough. They are cited in order to invite attention to the relationship between the objects of primary and of secondary or reflective experience.
But just what role do the objects attained in reflection play? Where do they come in? They explain the primary objects, they enable us to grasp them with understanding, instead of just having sense-contact with them. But how? Well, they define or lay out a path by which return to experienced things is of such a sort that the meaning, the significant content, of what is experienced gains an en- riched and expanded force because of the path or method by which it was reached. Directly, in immediate contact it may be just what it was before hard, colored, odorous, etc.
The phenomena observed in the eclipse tested and, as far as they went, confirmed Einstein's theory of deflection of light by mass. But that is far from being the whole story. The phenomena themselves got a far- reaching significance they did not previously have. Per- haps they would not even have been noticed if the theory had not been employed as a guide or road to observation of them. But even if they had been noticed, they would have been dismissed as of no importance, just as we daily drop from attention hundreds of perceived details for which we have no intellectual use.
This empirical method I shall call the denotative method. That philosophy is a mode of reflection, often of a subtle and penetrating sort, goes without saying. The charge that is brought against the non-empirical method of phil- osophizing is not that it depends upon theorizing, but that it fails to use refined, secondary products as a path point- ing and leading back to something in primary experience.
The resulting failure is three-fold. First, there is no verification, no effort even to test and check. What is even worse, secondly, is that the things of ordinary experience do not get enlargement and enrich- ment of meaning as they do when approached through the medium of scientific principles and reasonings. This lack of function reacts, in the third place, back upon the philosophic subject-matter in itself. Not tested by being employed to see what it leads to in ordinary experience and what new meanings it contributes, this subject-matter becomes arbitrary, aloof what is called "abstract" when that word is used in a bad sense to designate something which exclusively occupies a realm of its own without contact with the things of ordinary experience.
As the net outcome of these three evils, we find that extraordinary phenomenon which accounts for the revul- sion of many cultivated persons from any form of phil- osophy. The objects of reflection in philosophy, being reached by methods that seem to those who employ them rationally mandatory are taken to be "real" in and of themselves and supremely real. Then it becomes an insoluble problem why the things of gross, primary ex- perience, should be what they are, or indeed why. They become means of control, of enlarged use and enjoyment of ordinary things.
They may generate new problems, but these are problems of the same sort, to be dealt with by further use of the same methods of inquiry and experimentation. The prob- lems to which empirical method gives rise afford, in a word, opportunities for more investigations yielding fruit in new and enriched experiences.
But the problems to which non- empirical method gives rise in philosophy are blocks to inquiry, blind alleys; they are puzzles rather than prob- lems, solved only by calling the original material of primary experience, "phenomenal," mere appearance, mere impres- sions, or by some other disparaging name. Thus there is here supplied, I think, a first-rate test of the value of any philosophy which is offered us: Does it end in conclusions which, when they are referred back to ordinary life-experiences and their predicaments, render them more significant, more luminous to us, and make our dealings with them more fruitful?
Or does it terminate in rendering the things of ordinary experience more opaque than they were before, and in depriving them of having in "reality" even the significance they had previously seemed to have? Does it yield the enrichment and increase of power of ordinary things which the results of physical science afford when applied in every-day affairs? Or does it become a mystery that these ordinary things should be what they are; and are philosophic concepts left to dwell in separation in some technical realm of their own?
These general statements must be made more definite. We must illustrate the meaning of empirical method by seeing some of its results in contrast with those to which non-empirical philosophies conduct us. We begin by not- ing that "experience" is what James called a double- barrelled word. It is "double-barrelled" in that it recognizes in its primary integrity no division between act and material, subject and object, but contains them both in an unanalyzed totality. Life denotes a function, a comprehensive activity, in which organism and environ- ment are included.
Only upon reflective analysis does it break up into external conditions air breathed, food taken, ground walked upon and internal structures lungs respiring, stomach digesting, legs walking. The scope of "history" is notorious: it is the deeds enacted, the tragedies undergone; and it is the human comment, record, and interpretation that inevitably follow. Objec- tively, history takes in rivers, mountains, fields and for- ests, laws and institutions; subjectively it includes the purposes and plans, the desires and emotions, through which these things are administered and transformed.
Now empirical method is the only method which can do justice to this inclusive integrity of "experience. Other methods begin with results of a reflection that has already torn in two the subject-matter experienced and the operations and states of experiencing. The problem is then to get together again what has been sundered which is as if the king's men started with the fragments of the egg and tried to construct the whole egg out of them.
For empirical method the problem is nothing so impossible of solution. Its problem is to note how and why the whole is distinguished into subject and object, nature and mental operations. Having done this, it is in a position to see to what effect the distinction is made: how the distinguished factors function in the further control and enrichment of the subject-matters of crude but total experi- ence. Non-empirical method starts with a reflective product as if it were primary, as if it were the originally "given.
Therefore it has upon its hands the problem of how it is possible to know at all ; how an outer world can affect an inner mind ; how the acts of mind can reach out and lay hold of objects defined in antithesis to them. Naturally it is at a loss for an answer, since its premisses make the fact of knowledge both unnatural and unempirical. One thinker turns meta- physical materialist and denies reality to the mental; an- other turns psychological idealist, and holds that matter and force are merely disguised psychical events.
Solutions are given up as a hopeless task, or else different schools pile one intellectual complication on another only to arrive by a long and tortuous course at that which nai've experience already has in its own possession. The first and perhaps the greatest difference made in philosophy by adoption respectively of empirical or non- empirical method is, thus, the difference made in what is selected as original material.
To a truly naturalistic em- piricism, the moot problem of the relation of subject and object is the problem of what consequences follow in and for primary experience from the distinction of the physical and the psychological or mental from each other. The answer is not far to seek.
To distinguish in reflection the physical and to hold it in temporary detachment is to be set upon the road that conducts to tools and technologies, to construction of mechanisms, to the arts that ensue in the wake of the sciences. That these constructions make possible a better regulation of the affairs of primary ex- perience is evident. Engineering and medicine, all the utilities that make for expansion of life, are the answer.
There is better administration of old familiar things, 'and there is invention of new objects and satisfactions.
E. M. Whetnall, DEWEY, J. -Experience and Nature, 2nd Edition - PhilPapers
The history of the development of the physical sciences is the story of the enlarging possession by mankind of more efficacious instrumentalities for dealing witth the conditions of life and action. But when one neglects the connection of these scientific objects with the affairs of primary experience, the result is a picture of a world of things indifferent to human interests because it is wholly apart from experience. It is more than merely isolated, for it is set in opposition. Hence when it is viewed as fixed and final in itself it is a source of oppression to the heart and paralysis to imagination.
Since this picture of the physical universe and philosophy of the character of physical ob- jects is contradicted by every engineering project and every intelligent measure of public hygiene, it would seem to be time to examine the foundations upon which it rests, and find out how and why such conclusions are come to. When objects are isolated from the experience through which they are reached and in which they function, ex- perience itself becomes reduced to the mere process of experiencing, and experiencing is therefore treated as if it were also complete in itself.
We get the absurdity of an experiencing which experiences only itself, states and processes of consciousness, instead of the things of nature. Since the seventeenth century this conception of experience as the equivalent of subjective private consciousness set over against nature, which consists wholly of physical objects, has wrought havoc in philosophy.
Let us inquire how the matter stands when these mental and psychical objects are looked at in their connection with experience in its primary and vital modes. As has been suggested, these objects are not original, isolated and self- sufficient. They represent the discriminated analysis of the process of experiencing from subject-matter experienced.
Although breathing is in fact a function that includes both air and the operations of the lungs, we may detach the latter for study, even though we cannot separate it in fact. So while we always know, love, act for and against things, instead of experiencing ideas, emotions and mental intents, the attitudes themselves may be made a special object of attention, and thus come to form a distinctive subject-matter of reflective, although not of primary, ex- perience. We primarily observe things, not observations. But the act of observation may be inquired into and form a sub- ject of study and become thereby a refined object; so may the acts of thinking, desire, purposing, the state of affec- tion, reverie, etc.
Now just as long as these attitudes are not distinguished and abstracted, they are incorporated into subject-matter. It is a notorious fact that the one who hates finds the one hated an obnoxious and despicable character; to the lover his adored one is full of intrin- sically delightful and wonderful qualities. The connection between such facts and the fact of animism is direct. The natural and original bias of man is all toward the objective; whatever is experienced is taken to be there independent of the attitude and act of the self. Its "there- ness," its independence of emotion and volition, render the properties of things, whatever they are, cosmic.
It is obvious that a total, un- analyzed world does not lend itself to control; that, on the contrary it is equivalent to the subjection of man to what- ever occurs, as if to fate. Until some acts and their con- sequences are discriminatingly referred to the human organism and other energies and effects are referred to other bodies, there is no leverage, no purchase, with which to regulate the course of experience. The abstraction of certain qualities of things as due to human acts and states is the pou sto of ability in control.
There can be no doubt that the long period of human arrest at a low level of culture was largely the result of failure to select the human being and his acts as a special kind of object, having his own characteristic activities that condition specifiable consequences. In this sense, the recognition of "subjects" as centres of experience together with the development of "subjectiv- ism" marks a great advance. It is equivalent to the emer- gence of agencies equipped with special powers of observa- tion and experiment, and with emotions and desires that are efficacious for production of chosen modifications of nature.
Experience And Nature
For otherwise the agencies are submerged in nature and produce qualities of things which must be accepted and submitted to. It is no mere play on words to say that recognition of subjective minds having a special equipment of psychological abilities is a necessary factor in subjecting the energies of nature to use as instrumen- talities for ends. It concerns the influence of habitual beliefs and expectations in their social generation upon what is experienced. The things of pri- mary experience are so arresting and engrossing that we tend to accept them just as they are the flat earth, the march of the sun from east to west and its sinking under the earth.
Current beliefs in morals, religion and politics similarly reflect the social conditions which present them- selves. Only analysis shows that the ways in which we believe and expect have a tremendous affect upon what we believe and expect. We have discovered at last that these ways are set, almost abjectly so, by social factors, by tradition and the influence of education. Thus we discover that we believe many things not because the things are so, but because we have become habituated through the weight of authority, by imitation, prestige, instruction, the uncon- scious effect of language, etc.
We learn, in short, that qualities which we attribute to objects ought to be imputed to our own ways of experiencing them, and that these in turn are due to the force of intercourse and custom. This discovery marks an emancipation; it purifies and remakes the objects of our direct or primary experience. The power of custom and tradition in scientific as well as in moral beliefs never suffered a serious check until analysis re- vealed the effect of personal ways of believing upon things believed, and the extent to which these ways are unwit- tingly fixed by social custom and tradition.
In spite of the acute and penetrating powers of observation among the Greeks, their "science" is a monument of the extent to which the effects of acquired social habits as well as of organic constitution were attributed directly to natural events. The de-personalizing and de-socializing of? This great emancipation was coincident with the rise of "individualism," which was in effect identical with the reflective discovery of the part played in experience by concrete selves, with their ways of acting, thinking and desiring.
The results would have been all to the good if they had been interpreted by empirical method. For this would have kept the eye of thinkers constantly upon the origin of the "subjective" out of primary experience, and then directed it to the function of discriminating what is usable in the management of experienced objects.
But for lack of such a method, because of isolation from em- pirical origin and instrumental use, the results of psy- chological inquiry were conceived to form a separate and isolated mental world in and of itself, self-sufficient and self-enclosed. Since the psychological movement neces- sarily coincided with that which set up physical objects as correspondingly complete and self-enclosed, there resulted that dualism of mind and matter, of a physical and a psychical world, which from the day of Descartes to the present dominates the formulation of philosophical problems.
With the dualism we are not here concerned, beyond pointing out that it is the inevitable result, logically, of the abandoning of acknowledgment of the primacy and ulti- macy of gross experience primary as it is given in an un- controlled form, ultimate as it is given in a more regulated and significant form a form made possible by the methods and results of reflective experience. The out- come was, that while in actual life the discovery of personal attitudes and their consequences was a great liberating in- strument, psychology became for philosophy, as Santayana has well put it, "malicious.
It is taken almost at random, because it is both simple and typical. To illustrate the nature of experience, what experience really is, an author writes: "When I look at a chair, I say I experience it. But what I actually experi- ence is only a very few of the elements that go to make up a chair, namely the color that belongs to the chair under these particular conditions of light, the shape which the chair displays when viewed from this angle, etc. One is that "experience" is reduced to the traits connected with the 1 Because of this identification of the mental as the sole "given" in a primary, original way, appeal to experience by a philosopher is treated by many as necessarily committing one to subjectivism.
It accounts for the alleged antithesis between nature and experience mentioned in the opening paragraph. It has become so deeply engrained that the em- pirical method employed in this volume has been taken by critics to be simply a re-statement of a purely subjective philosophy, although in fact it is wholly contrary to such a philosophy. Certain patches of color, for example, assume a certain shape or form in connection with qualities connected with the mus- cular strains and adjustments of seeing.
These qualities, which define the act of seeing when it is made an object of reflective inquiry, over against what is seen, thus become the chair itself for immediate or direct experience. Log- ically, the chair disappears and is replaced by certain qualities of sense attending the act of vision.
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There is no longer any other object, much less the chair which was bought, that is placed in a room and that is used to sit in, etc. If we ever get back to this total chair, it will not be the chair of direct experience, of use and enjoyment, a thing with its own independent origin, history and career; it will be only a complex of directly "given" sense qualities as a core, plus a surrounding cluster of other qualities revived imaginatively as "ideas.
There is the chair which is looked at; the chair displaying certain colors, the light in which they are displayed; the angle of vision implying reference to an organism that possesses an optical apparatus. Reference to these things is compul- sory, because otherwise there would be no meaning as- signable to the sense qualities which are, nevertheless, affirmed to be the sole data experienced. It would be hard to find a more complete recognition, although an unavowed one, of the fact that in reality the account given concerns only.
The instance cited is typical of all "subjectivism" as a philosophic position.
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Reflective analysis of one element in actual experience is undertaken; its result is then taken to be primary; as a consequence the subject-matter of actual experience from which the analytic result was de- rived is rendered dubious and problematic, although it is assumed at every step of the analysis. Genuine empirical method sets out from the actual subject-matter of primary experience, recognizes that reflection discriminates a new factor in it, the act of seeing, makes an object of that, and then uses that new object, the organic response to light, to regulate, when needed, further experiences of the subject- matter already contained in primary experience.
The topics just dealt with, segregation of physical and mental objects, will receive extended attention in the body of this volume. Reference to the primacy and ultimacy of the material of ordinary ex- perience protects us, in the first place, from creating arti- ficial problems which deflect the energy and attention of philosophers from the real problems that arise out of actual subject-matter.
In the second place, it provides a check or test for the conclusions of philosophic inquiry; it is a constant reminder that we must replace them, as secondary reflective products, in the experience out of which they arose, so that they may be confirmed or modi- fied by the new order and clarity they introduce into it, and the new significantly experienced objects for which they furnish a method. In the third place, in seeing how they thus function in further experiences, the philosophigal re- 1 Chapters IV and VI.
There is another important result for philosophy of the use of empirical method which, when it is developed, intro- duces our next topic. Philosophy, like all forms of reflec- tive analysis, takes us away, for the time being, from the things had in primary experience as they directly act and are acted upon, used and enjoyed. Now the standing temptation of philosophy, as its course abundantly demon- strates, is to regard the results of reflection as having, in and of themselves, a reality superior to that of the material of any other mode of experience. The commonest assump- tion of philosophies, common even to philosophies very different from one another, is the assumption of the iden- tity of objects of knowledge and ultimately real objects.
The assumption is so deep that it is usually not expressed ; it is taken for granted as something so fundamental that it does not need to be stated. A technical example of the view is found in the contention of the Cartesian school including Spinoza that emotion as well as sense is but confused thought which when it becomes clear and definite or reaches its goal is cognition.
That esthetic and moral experience reveal traits of real things as truly as does intel- lectual experience, that poetry may have a metaphysical import as well as science, is rarely affirmed, and when it is asserted, the statement is likely to be meant in some mystical or esoteric sense rather than in a straightforward everyday sense. Upon this basis, reverie and desire are pertinent for a philosophic theory of the true nature of things; the possibilities present in imagination that are not found in observation, are something to be taken into account.
The features of objects reached by scientific or reflective experiencing are important, but so are all the phenomena of magic, myth, politics, painting, and penitentiaries. The phenomena of social life are as relevant to the problem of the relation of the individual and universal as are those of logic; the existence in political organization of boundaries and barriers, of centralization, of interaction across boundaries, of expansion and absorp- tion, will be quite as important for metaphysical theories of the discrete and the continuous as is anything derived from chemical analysis.
The existence of ignorance as well as of wisdom, of error and even insanity as well as of truth will be taken into account. That is to say, nature is construed in such a way that all these things, since they are actual, are naturally possible; they are not explained away into mere "appearance" in contrast with reality. Illusions are illusions, but the occur- rence of illusions is not an illusion, but a genuine reality. What is really "in" experience extends much further than that which at any time is known. From the standpoint of knowledge, objects must be distinct; their traits must be explicit; the vague and unrevealed is a limitation.
Hence whenever the habit of identifying reality with the object of knowledge as such prevails, the obscure and vague are explained away. It is important for philosophic theory to be aware that the distinct and evident are prized and why they are. But it is equally important to note that the dark and twilight abound.
Strain thought as far as we may and not all consequences can be foreseen or made an express or known part of reflection and decision. In the face of such empirical facts, the assumption that nature in itself is all of the same kind, all distinct, explicit and evi- dent, having no hidden possibilities, no novelties or ob- scurities, is possible only on the basis of a philosophy which at some point draws an arbitrary line between nature and experience.
In the assertion implied here that the great vice of philosophy is an arbitrary "intellectualism," there is no slight cast upon intelligence and reason. By "intellectual- ism" as an indictment is meant the theory that all experi- encing is a mode of knowing, and that all subject-matter, all nature, is, in principle, to be reduced and transformed till it is defined in terms identical with the characteristics presented by refined objects of science as such.
The as- sumption of "intellectualism" goes contrary to the facts of what is primarily experienced. For things are objects to be treated, used, acted upon and with, enjoyed and endured, even more than things to be known. They are things had before they are things cognized. The isolation of traits characteristic of objects known, and then defined as the sole ultimate realities, accounts for the denial to nature of the characters which make things lovable and contemptible, beautiful and ugly, ador- able and awful.
It accounts for the belief that nature is an indifferent, dead mechanism; it explains why characteris- tics that are the valuable and valued traits of objects in actual experience are thought to create a fundamentally troublesome philosophical problem. If we start from primary experience, occur- ring as it does chiefly in modes of action and undergoing, it is easy to see what knowledge contributes namely, the possibility of intelligent administration of the elements of doing and suffering.
We are about something, and it is well to know what we are about, as the common phrase has it. To be intelligent in action and in suffering enjoy- ment too yields satisfaction even when conditions cannot be controlled. But when there is possibility of control, knowledge is the sole agency of its realization.
Given this element of knowledge in primary experience, it is not diffi- cult to understand how it may develop from a subdued and subsidiary factor into a dominant character. Doing and suffering, experimenting and putting ourselves in the way of having our sense and nervous system acted upon in ways that yield material for reflection, may reverse the original situation in which knowing and thinking were subservient to action-undergoing.
And when we trace the genesis of knowing along this line, we also see that knowledge has a function and office in bettering and enriching the subject- matters of crude experience. But knowledge that is ubiquitous, all-inclusive and all-monopolizing, ceases to have meaning in losing all context; that it does not appear to do so when made supreme and self-sufficient is because it is literally impossible to exclude that context of non- cognitive but experienced subject-matter which gives what is known its import.
While this matter is dealt with at some length in further chapters of this volume, there is one point worth mention- ing here. When intellectual experience and its material are taken to be primary, the cord that binds experience and nature is cut. That the physiological organism with its structures, whether in man or in the lower animals, is concerned with making adaptations and uses of material in the interest of maintenance of the life-process, cannot be denied.
The brain and nervous system are primarily organs of action-undergoing; biologically, it can be asserted without contravention that primary experience is of a cor- responding type. Hence, unless there is breach of historic and natural continuity, cognitive experience must originate within that of a non-cognitive sort. And unless we start from knowing as a factor in action and undergoing we are inevitably committed to the intrusion of an extra-natural, if not a supernatural, agency and principle. That pro- fessed non-supernaturalists so readily endow the organism with powers that have no basis in natural events is a fact so peculiar that it would be inexplicable were it not for the inertia of the traditional schools.
But so deeply grounded is the opposite position in the entire philosophic tradition, that it is probably not surprising that philosophers are loath to admit a fact which when admitted compels an extensive reconstruction in form and content. We have spoken of the difference which acceptance of empirical method in philosophy makes in the problem of subject-object and in that of the alleged all-inclusiveness of cognitive experience. When real objects are iden- tified, point for point, with knowledge-objects, all affec- tional and volitional objects are inevitably excluded from the "real" world, and are compelled to find refuge in the privacy of an experiencing subject or mind.
Thus the notion of the ubiquity of all comprehensive cognitive ex- perience results by a necessary logic in setting up a hard and fast wall between the experiencing subject and that nature which is experienced. The self becomes not merely a pilgrim but an unnaturalized and unnaturalizable alien in the world. The only way to avoid a sharp separation between the mind which is the centre of the processes of experiencing and the natural world which is experienced is to acknowledge that all modes of experiencing are ways in which some genuine traits of nature come to manifest realization.
It would be hard to find a more complete recognition, although an unavowed one, of the fact that in reality the account given concerns only. Reflective analysis of one element in actual experience is undertaken; its result is then taken to be primary; as a consequence the subject-matter of actual experience from which the analytic result was de- rived is rendered dubious and problematic, although it is assumed at every step of the analysis.
Genuine empirical method sets out from the actual subject-matter of primary experience, recognizes that reflection discriminates a new factor in it, the act of seeing, makes an object of that, and then uses that new object, the organic response to light, to regulate, when needed, further experiences of the subject- matter already contained in primary experience. The topics just dealt with, segregation of physical and mental objects, will receive extended attention in the body of this volume. Reference to the primacy and ultimacy of the material of ordinary ex- perience protects us, in the first place, from creating arti- ficial problems which deflect the energy and attention of philosophers from the real problems that arise out of actual subject-matter.
In the second place, it provides a check or test for the conclusions of philosophic inquiry; it is a constant reminder that we must replace them, as secondary reflective products, in the experience out of which they arose, so that they may be confirmed or modi- fied by the new order and clarity they introduce into it, and the new significantly experienced objects for which they furnish a method.
In the third place, in seeing how they thus function in further experiences, the philosophigal re- 1 Chapters. Nothing is more stirring than pragmatism! Dec 22, Helen Perks is currently reading it. Jan 14, Kurt Xyst rated it it was amazing. Rightfully included in the pantheon of extraordinary texts alongside Being and Time and Phenomenology of Spirit. The cornerstone of American philosophy. Shelves: epistemology , philosophy , favorite. For now, my new bible. John Dewey brings Philosophy back to its roots.
The roots where Socrates states that the sole purpose of Philosophy is to show the right way to live or words to that effect. He does this by grounding Philosophy right where it belongs - in Nature. He also brings along the Human Species for a ride. That simple concept, that Humankind is a part of Nature, not apart from it, is all it takes.
DEWEY, John. Experience and Nature (1929)
What results from that concept is only the simplification of Philosophy, and its ret For now, my new bible. What results from that concept is only the simplification of Philosophy, and its return to its rightful place. Dewey brings this all to head with his stridently impassioned final chapter. It is not an easy read, but it is well-written and artfully structured. To the determined, nuggets of wisdom await. They populate this book like clams at low tide, awaiting to be dug out and eventually savored in a nutritious chowder.
Such nuggets as: science is an art; all knowledge stems from belief; "The characteristic human need is for the possession and appreciation of the meaning of things Please excuse the bad poetry above I like clam chowder , but this is one of the most important works in the School of Philosophy. Read it, and be nourished. Mar 26, spencer rated it it was amazing Shelves: read.
One to read again. Ebbs and flows with creative energy of radical empiricism. Anyone who has had training in philosophy will tell you that Dewey was not a clear writer Cornell West: "What can I say about Dewey? The man couldn't write! Moreover, I personally will tell you that this is because Dewey was not a clear thinker what in the world can it mean to say that meaning lies in use? Fun to read when you're sleepy, this book becomes infuriating when you're alert. Perhaps because Dewey's thought is, on principle, unprincipled.
Unfortunately, this means that Dewey's thought is, you guessed it, unthinkable. Dewey sometimes will, however, thrill you with his rhapsodic invocations of just how differently the Ancient Greeks thought from how we do. Well, the Ancient Greeks, whom Dewey seemingly knew so well though definitely not in detail , had a word for truth: aletheia. Literally translated, it means "unforgettable. Jul 27, Tom rated it really liked it. Read as part of a Senior Seminar as an undergrad. Dec 05, Frank D'hanis junior rated it really liked it. A work of enormous insight. Sep 01, Marco Bitetto rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: All.
This is another excellently written philosophical presentation of the art of teaching and learning. As such, it is both readable and understandable by anyone that has at least a GED Silver rated it liked it Sep 21, Adam rated it liked it Jun 30, Throwaway rated it it was amazing Mar 10, Lucas rated it it was amazing Jan 09, Mario Negrello rated it liked it Feb 11, Jamie Killorin rated it really liked it Oct 05, Bud Ruf rated it it was amazing Aug 19, Nolan J.
Burris rated it it was amazing Oct 26, Edward rated it liked it Mar 27, Darren m-p rated it really liked it Apr 16, Bryce rated it it was amazing Jun 11, David rated it really liked it Jul 30, There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Readers also enjoyed. About John Dewey. John Dewey. John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey, along with Charles Sanders Peirce and William James, is recognized as one of the founders of the philosophy of pragmatism and of functional psychology.
He was a major representative of the progressive and progressive populist philosophies of schooli John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform.