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The approach of John Dewey to philosophy, while influenced by many of the same factors which were important to Russell, and despite his agreement with Russell on many social issues, takes a radically different direction. Dewey sees a person's philosophy as more intimately and internally related to the social processes than does Russell. Instead of viewing it as primarily a means of analysis and clarification, Dewey sees the role of philosophy as a method of social reconstruction, and logic as a method of inquiry rather than a means of exploring the implications of analytical definitions and empirical facts. It is therefore not surprising that his categories for dealing with different philosophies are conservative and progressive, rather than critical and constructive or idealistic and materialistic. How he arrived at his instrumentalist philosophy can best be understood by tracing briefly his own long intellectual pilgrimage. [excerpt]


This is a part of Section XXII: Philosophical Meaning. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.