John Dewey (October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer whose thoughts and ideas have been greatly influential in the United States and around the world. Dewey, along with Charles Sanders Peirce and William James, is recognized as one of the founders of the philosophical school of pragmatism. He is also one of the founders of functional psychology and was a leading representative of the progressive movement in U.S. schooling during the first half of the 20th century.
Although Dewey is best known for his works on education, he also wrote on a wide range of subjects, including experience and nature, art and experience, logic and inquiry, democracy, and ethics.
In his advocacy of democracy, Dewey considered two fundamental elements—schools and civil society—as being key areas needing attention and reconstruction to encourage experimental intelligence and plurality. In the necessary reconstruction of civil society, Dewey asserted that full democracy was to be obtained not just by extending voting rights but also by ensuring there exists a fully-formed public opinion, accomplished by effective communication among citizens, experts, and politicians, with the latter being held accountable for the policies they adopt.
Dewey was born in Burlington, Vermont of modest family origins. Like his older brother, Davis Rich Dewey, he attended the University of Vermont, from which he graduated (Phi Beta Kappa) in 1879. After three years as a high school teacher in Oil City, Pennsylvania, Dewey decided that he was unsuited for employment in primary or secondary education. After studying one year under G. Stanley Hall, working in the first American laboratory of psychology, Dewey received his Ph.D. from the School of Arts & Sciences at Johns Hopkins University in 1884, he took a faculty position at the University of Michigan (1884-1888 and 1889-1894) with the help of George Sylvester Morris. His unpublished and...