David L. Hildebrand, Ph.D., Philosophy

Spring 2006 Phl 4812 Dewey

Seminar on John Dewey, Spring 2006

PHIL 4812 001/PHIL 5812 001

TR 04:00PM - 05:15PM, PL 112

Dr. David Hildebrand, UCDHSC

Description and Text:

John Dewey was one of the most important of the American philosophers of the twentieth century. A leading American Pragmatist (the first genuinely American school of philosophical thought), Dewey extended the application of his form of pragmatism (instrumentalism) beyond the boundaries of academic philosophy—into public affairs, politics, art, religion, and of course, education. Dewey’s influence included and transcended academia.

As historian Henry Steele Commager wrote of Dewey:

“… it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that for a generation [of Americans] no major issue was clarified until Dewey had spoken.”

This course will undertake a close examination of Dewey’s philosophy and may include topics such as: the influence of Darwin on philosophy, nature and experience, aesthetics, religion, technology, and democracy.

Course Objectives:

• Familiarization. Gain a good sense of what is at stake in issues of course.
• Comprehension. Be able to comprehend the arguments offered by various philosophers.
• Critical analysis. Be able to criticize those arguments by pointing out where they lack evidence, make an unreasonable leap, hold a false assumption, etc.
• Demonstration of (1) - (3) through writing.
• Verbalization. Be able to summarize a philosophical position, without notes, using your own words. Be able to criticize a position this way.
• Conversation and Debate. Be able to discuss issues in a focused and informed way with others in the class. This will involve listening closely to their points, then responding in a way that moves the discussion ahead.

Required Texts:

Books are available at Auraria and Big Dog Textbooks (1331 15th Street). Also, if you desire, online (see, for example, http://used.addall.com). If you buy your book online, make sure (1) that it is the correct edition, and (2) that you have it in time for class. See also http://www.bigdogtextbooks.com here in Denver.


(1) The Philosophy of John Dewey : Volume 1. The Structure of Experience. Volume 2: The Lived Experience (Paperback) by John Dewey, John J. McDermott (Editor), (University Of Chicago Press; 2 Vls in 1 edition, 1981) ISBN: 0226144011

*(2) ONLY AT AURARIA: Volume 10: 1934, Art as Experience, from series The Later Works, The Collected Works of John Dewey, 1882-1953, edited by Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1969-1991. ISBN 0-8093-1578-5. NOTE: THIS BOOK WILL BE IN LATE JANUARY AT AURARIA BOOKSTORE.
* You might try to find this online, too. The earlier edition from Putnam/Capricorn (much cheaper) is ok.


Occasionally there will be readings at one of the following places:
(a) at Auraria library online reserves (ONLINE, password is banjo)
(b) on my website: www.davidhildebrand.org
(c) at our Blackboard site www.blackboard.cudenver.edu

Course Requirements:

Blackboard/Website: There are two online sites related to this course. Familiarize yourself with them right away. Both will offer you access to information about the course such as study questions, announcements, grades, extra credit assignments.

1. The first and most important one is our course Blackboard site: https://blackboard.cudenver.edu. On this page are INSTRUCTIONS TO ENROLL. Please make sure you enroll right at the beginning of the class.

2. The second site is my home page at http://www.davidhildebrand.org. Here there are a variety of general study tips and resources in philosophy.


15%--Attendance/Participation/Presentation----20%--Short Writings (10 total)----30%--Paper #1 (Due March 9, 5-7 pages)----35%--Paper #2 (Due 5/10, Undergrads: 5-7 pages; Grads: 8-10)

Note: Graduate students will be graded as graduate students. See me with any questions about this.

Attendance + Participation: Intellectual inquiry requires verbal discussion as much as written argument. There will be ample opportunity for active and well prepared participation, which I value and which will affect the final grade. "Participation" includes the following kinds of things: attendance, ability and willingness to contribute to class discussion and group activities, e-mail dialogue, etc. Missing more than two classes during the semester will depreciate your participation grade.

Readings: It is expected that you have done the readings before we discuss them. As you read, copy out important points and questions you have onto a separate sheet of paper. (These will help you with your short reflection papers.) You may also want to note problem passages (e.g., with a "?" or "Q.") in your text as you read. These are good points for class discussion. You should come to each class able to discuss the main issues of the reading and you could be asked during class to present the main points to the class. Please see the Tips for Understanding Philosophy and for Writing Philosophy Papers on my home page. See also this page for tips on participating and reading.

Very important: please try to set aside about 10 minutes shortly before class to look back over (skim-review) the readings and whatever you have written for that day.

Short Papers (10 total; one paper must be a full 2 pages and presented)

The purpose of these assignments is to help you clarify your understanding of the readings and to help you think critically about the issues. These assignments should be:
1. One page, typewritten reactions or questions about some specific issue which you find compelling in the readings. Your paper must not simply sum up the reading or repeat points made there. (I.e., no book reports, please.) Rather, you must try to raise a question or discuss some original insight. You may use these papers to demonstrate your application of a concept/idea in the readings to an experience you have with media or technology. See the website link "Writing short, critical papers" for further hints about how to write a good paper.
2. The first paragraph should state in 1-2 sentences a summary of what the paper is about.
3. You must do 10 papers total and you may not hand in more than one paper on the same date.
4. Only papers that are written on a reading or topic that will be discussed in the class immediately coming up are acceptable.
5. You must come to class for a paper to be accepted.
6. This will be a “graded” assignment only in a loose sense; in other words it will be either S-satisfactory (100) or U-unsatisfactory (50). A zero (0) will be awarded if nothing (or next to nothing) is turned in.
7. TWO MAKE-UPS: If you get a Unsatisfactory on up to two papers, you may revise and resubmit them. The old grade will be dropped in favor of the revised paper's grade.

8. Presentation. One of your short papers must be presented to the class. This means (a) providing everyone with a copy, (b) reading it aloud to the group and (c) taking about 5-10 minutes of questions. It is expected that students not presenting in a given class will make themselves ready to ask questions of the presenter.


There will be two longer papers required for this class. You will need to start thinking about paper topics soon. NO late papers without prior arrangements. You may email me at any time to discuss your progress on ALL papers/assignments or we can discuss them in office hours.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a form of stealing. It occurs when an author uses the words or ideas of others as if they were the author’s own original thought. (It may include word-for-word copying, interspersing one’s own words with another’s, paraphrasing, inventing or counterfeiting sources, submitting another’s work as one’s own, neglecting quotation marks on material that is otherwise acknowledged.) Plagiarism is often unintentional. It can be avoided by always acknowledging one’s debt to others by citing the exact source of a quotation or paraphrase. Since plagiarism is such a serious violation of academic honesty, the PENALTY for it may be an AUTOMATIC “F” FOR THIS COURSE. The CU handbook has a more complete description of plagiarism and academic dishonesty.
Grades: I use the plus/minus system. Values for those letters, as well as the policies regarding other grades such as Incomplete, are available in the CU Academic Policies and Regulations section of the handbook.

Contact Information

Phone : 303-556-8558
E-mail: hilde@yahoo.com; Website: http://davidhildebrand.org
Office and Hours: Plaza M108;

Hours M 11:30a.m. -12:30 p.m.; T 12-1p.m., and by appointment and by appointment.

Purpose: I strongly encourage you to participate by dropping by during office hours. We can talk about the class readings and lectures, exams and papers, your progress, or just philosophy in general. Note: If you are a student with a disability, I will make myself available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations. Before accommodations will be made, you may be required to provide documentation. Students with disabilities will be accommodated. Students with disabilities are required to register disabilities with the UCD Disability Services Office, and are responsible for requesting reasonable accommodations at the beginning of the term.

Schedule of Readings

A rough schedule. Subject to revision. I will let you know in EACH class what is coming up. Special Note: I fully expect that we will not get through all these readings. They form a reading list that, while integrated, may fill more than a semester of time. In order to get the most from these readings, we will likely dwell on some for more time than indicated below, and will have to cut others later on. This does not mean you cannot read the other pieces—or write on them, if you choose, for your larger papers.

KEY: Readings come from four places
1. Book. McDermott's Dewey anthology. Readings with a number before them, "9. The reflex arc." Etc. are from McDermott anthology.
2. Book. Art as Experience
3. Online. Things with "ED" are ONLINE at Auraria e-reserves (from another anthology called "The Essential Dewey")
4. Online. There are a couple other readings that just say ONLINE. They are at Auraria e-reserves.



17 Introduction/Context No readings; Editor's Introduction (if possible)
19 Introduction/Context 5. The Development of American Pragmatism; 1. From Absolutism to Experimentalism

24 Introduction/Context 4. The Influence of Darwinism on Philosophy
26 Education Philosophy and Civilization,(ONLINE, from ED 1)

31 Education 9. The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology; 28. The Child and the Curriculum;


2 Education 26. My Pedagogic Creed; Creative Democracy—The Task Before Us (ONLINE, from ED 1)

7 Education 29. Education as Growth
9 Education 30. Experience and Thinking; 32. Criteria of Experience

14 Inquiry/knowledge 12. The Experimental Theory of Knowledge; The Superstition of Necessity (ONLINE, from ED 2)
16 Inquiry/knowledge The Problem of Truth (ONLINE, from ED 2: Part 2) A Short Catechism Concerning Truth (online: http://spartan.ac.brocku.ca/~lward/Dewey/Dewey_1910b/Dewey_1910_06.html)

21 Inquiry/knowledge Analysis of Reflective Thinking(ONLINE, from ED 2); The Place of Judgment in Reflective Activity (ONLINE, from ED 2)
23 Inquiry/knowledge 16. The Postulate of Immediate Empiricism

28 Reality (“Experience,” “Nature,” and Philosophical Method) 17. Experience and Philosophic Method


2 Reality Time and Individuality (ONLINE, from ED 1: Part 3)

7 18. Existence as Precarious and Stable

14 Reality Does Reality Possess a Practical Character? (ONLINE, from ED 1)
16 Reality Nature Communication and Meaning (ONLINE, from Experience and Nature, ch. 5)


28 Reality The Existential Matrix of Inquiry: Cultural (ONLINE, from ED 2)
30 Art Selection from Thomas Alexander's John Dewey’s Theory of Art, Experience and Nature: The Horizons of Feeling (ONLINE, 183-198)


4 Art 33. The Live Creature (Art as Experience, ch. 1)
6 Art 34. The Live Creature and "Etherial Things" (Art as Experience, ch. 2)

11 Art 35. Having an Experience (Art as Experience, ch. 3) Suggested reading: Alexander, (online, 198-213)
13 Art The Act of Expression (Art as Experience, ch. 4)

18 Art The Expressive Object (Art as Experience, ch. 5)
20 Art Substance and Form (Art as Experience, ch. 6)

25 Art 20. Existence, Value and Criticism
27 Religion 22. Philosophy's Search for the Immutable; What I Believe (ONLINE, from ED 1)


2 Religion Religion vs. the Religious (ONLINE, from ED 1) 43. The Human Abode and the Religious Function
4 Religion Faith and Its Object (ch. 2, A Common Faith)

Final paper due Wed. May, 10th in Philosophy department office by noon.

Last updated Dec 13, 2010 06:11:AM