I’m curious what people think of John Dewey. Has anyone actually read his books and formed opinions? If memory serves, the classicalu materials are pretty negative on Dewey (progressive!), and at least one place claims he believed morality can’t and shouldn’t be taught.
Yet Adler dedicated books to Dewey, and Hutchins’ article offers Dewey’s picture and a multipage apology, saying Dewey was misunderstood.
My sense is that Dewey was right about “great books for all” (trade schools = bad; democracy requires the whole person to be educated), but that he wasn’t in any way Christian; he was a humanist. He and Hutchins shared a focus on “secular perennialism,” if I’m understanding that correctly (and perennialism is sort of an Aquinas thing…so that’s sorta good). But only Adler wrestled with God in any real way, and wound up professing Christianity in his later years (as a Catholic / Episcopalian, from what I can tell).
It is most interesting as Adler was influenced by Dewey (specifically the push for the democratization of education) but parted company with Dewey on numerous issues including the teaching of ethics. In other words, Adler wrote about, taught seminars on, and advocated for ethical instruction in schools.
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