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Experience and Nature

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  245 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Mr. Dewey believes that the method of empirical naturalism presented in this volume provides the way, and the only way by which one can freely accept the standpoint and conclusions of modern science. Contents: experience and philosophic method; existence as precarious and as stable; nature, ends and histories; nature, means and knowledge; nature, communication and as meani ...more
Paperback, 468 pages
Published July 26th 2003 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1925)
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Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Not many books deserve the hype heaped upon them. This one does. Oliver Wendell Holmes, the Supreme Court justice, said of this book that it's just what one would read if God Himself had tried to say how the world really is, but was incapable of expressing Himself clearly. I agree; the metaphysical vision of the continuity between "nature" and "mind" is correct, but Dewey is an awful writer. ...more
Apr 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What can I say? I think the world needs another John Dewey. Or three. He'd save us all with brilliant, clear philosophical prose just mysterious enough to keep us wondering and just hopeful enough to keep us from despair. His appreciation for the complexity of nature and human experience is almost as astounding as his ability to articulate it.

There are parts of this book that are outdated, but then it's almost a century old. He does a great job of predicting some of the problems faced by modern
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Fascinating, but difficult. This is Dewey working out his metaphysics; not for the faint-hearted, and might be difficult for someone without some grounding in the earlier, traditional philosophers such as Aristotle, Plato, Spinoza, Kant, and Hegel. That said, Dewey's point is clear: your worldview and approach to life, indeed, the ability to solve real world problems, will always be partial and distorted if you insist on seeing nature and experience as existing in separate realms rather than as ...more
Dec 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Notes from midterm:

The words we use, Dewey argues, would not be the words that we associate them with if it were not for our human associations. Sharing and interaction are an integral part of communication, and in fact, the sharing may well be what makes communication. In actuality, a word, in its abstract mechanic form, does not mean anything unless the word undergoes a transformation that, by way of cooperation, turns it into an autonomous object with meaning. While the object may seem to hav
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading this, it's obvious to me that the current neuroscientists like Antonio Damasio and William Connelly have built upon the pragmatic tradition of Dewey in decrying the separation of emotions and felt experience from the cognitive decision making process. Attachment theory owes a lot to Pragmatism as well. To understand the progression and evolution of modern thinking, this book should be mandatory reading. ...more
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you can stay awake in spite of Dewey's rather dull writing style, you may actually find this to be a book full of remarkable and thought provoking ideas. Highly recommended for anyone who needs a course in pragmatism. In many ways, his view of experience as an iterative process and of knowledge as grounded in the body(embodied) is something that neuroscience is just starting to discover with far less intellectual elegance. Also, this is a must read for anyone interested in constructivist psyc ...more
Sergio Gomez diaz-ureña
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dewey's humanistic naturalism at its best. His bio-anthropological method and his Jamesian double-barreled conception of experience are to me very relevant perhaps more today than in his own day. Though, I certainly agree his prose is not extremely felicitous, this book is living evidence that 'technical' philosophy and humanistic aims are more than compatible, but, in fact, they must work together for the former not to fall into pedantic isolationism and general irrelevance and for the latter t ...more
Apr 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
I've read this book several times, and it is worth re-reading. This is one of Dewey's finest books. At places, it is difficult, but it is always worth trying to make it through. The only work that might be superior is Art as Experience. ...more
Matthew Lukach
Dec 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look at the importance of experience in our lives. With particular emphasis on art, religion, democracy, and aesthetics, this book is surely to have an impact on the way you view the world.
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Students of life
Nothing is more stirring than pragmatism!
Helen Perks
Dec 22, 2010 is currently reading it
heavy going for me!
Kurt Xyst
Jan 14, 2015 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.
Christian Schwoerke
I was very ambitious back in the summer of 1974, when I transferred colleges to begin my junior year as a philosophy major. I was in the bookstore of Trinity University (San Antonio, TX), and I was drooling at the philosophy texts. I had no clear vision of what I wanted, other than that I liked the ponderous jargon—rationalism, empiricism, idealism, pragmatism, existentialism, phenomenology, ontology, epistemology, deontology, teleology, noetic—and I was already beginning to collect all the phil ...more
Jim Hurley
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
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. What results from that concept is only the simplification of Philosophy, and its ret
Anthony DeFalco
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good overview Rereading it for the first time
"Because it takes the form of an epic journey, Experience and Nature is modeled on one of the books cherished by the young Dewey: Homer’s Odyssey. Empirical naturalism is the boat that takes the questers on their journey, with the dangers of wishing for “certainty,” “security,” or “stability,” “permanence,” “faith,” or “universality,” paralleling the dangers faced by the classic questing heroes—to stay with the lotus eaters, to embrace the sirens, to
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-read
One to read again. Ebbs and flows with creative energy of radical empiricism.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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? - if that were AT ALL true, if there weren't essential conditions of use (pertaining to an organism, perhaps), then successful communication would necessarily literally be a miracle - do ...more
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Read as part of a Senior Seminar as an undergrad.
Phoenix Fawkes
Nov 26, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i am not smart enough yet to understand this book, hence 1 star. one day i will go back and read it again, hopefully understanding something because i believe the book was revolutionary.
Frank D'hanis junior
Dec 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
A work of enormous insight.
Marco Bitetto
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Marco by: Curiosity
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...
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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 ...more

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