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  • >>RICHARD RORTY: My uncle and aunt who taught at the University of Wisconsin were friendly

  • with Max Otto, who was a disciple of Dewey's, and who tried to write a sort of practical

  • version of pragmatism, bringing pragmatism more closely in touch with public life.

  • I read Otto at the time that I met him but I don't remember his works very well now.

  • The only other philosophy professor who I was in touch with in my teens was Sidney Hook,

  • who was a friend of my parents. So, as it happened, the only philosophy professors I

  • met when young were disciples of Dewey.

  • At an early age I knew there was such a thing as pragmatism, but as soon as I got to Chicago

  • I was told that it was a bad thing because people like Robert Maynard Hutchins, who was

  • chancellor of the university, and Mortimer Adler, who was an influential figure on the

  • Chicago scene, were inclined to say that Dewey was a relativist, and that we needed moral

  • absolutes.

  • There was a lot of neo-Thomism in the air, and Leo Strauss was also an opponent of pragmatism.

  • So, between Adler's neo-Thomism and Strauss's quasi-Platonism, there was a good deal of

  • anti-pragmatism around.

  • So I suppose at Chicago I learned more what was wrong with pragmatism than what was right

  • about it.

  • Until he was thirty he was still a believing Christian and tried to arrange his philosophical

  • thoughts around the truths of Christianity.

  • After he broke with the Christian religion, between the ages of, let's say, thirty and

  • eighty, he produced a series of books on various topics, which I don't think fall neatly into

  • periods.

  • Everyone has his favorite Dewey books.

  • My favorite is Reconstruction in Philosophy and A Common Faith, which, separated by a

  • considerable period.

  • Other people like Experience and Nature.

  • I don't.

  • His prose is remarkably boring.

  • It's very difficult to assign Dewey to students because they go to sleep halfway through the

  • assignment.

  • He wasn't exactly a bad writer and there are occasionally some vivid phrases and some quotable

  • bits, but compared either to James or Royce, he's a bore.

  • I think that if you ask about the influence of Hegel in the period after Darwin, there

  • are various figures who tried to put Hegel and Darwin together and of these Dewey was

  • perhaps the most successful.

  • That is, he shared Hegel's historicism and Darwin's naturalism and managed to synthesize

  • the two.

  • I think that James and Schiller and Dewey thought of themselves as fomenting an intellectual

  • revolution, which was partially successful in the culture as a whole, but not particularly

  • successful within the boundaries of philosophy departments.

  • I'm not sure that the philosophical world was much interested in this enterprise so

  • Dewey has never been very popular among his fellow philosophy professors, but he happened

  • to be the intellectual who best spoke up in public for the social democratic measures

  • of the progressive era and New Deal.

  • So he was an important figure in American public life even though the philosophy professors

  • didn't have any great use for him.

  • He kept up a steady stream of articles on the political issues of the day, trying to

  • see the events of his time as leading up to a better America of the future.

  • He had a utopian vision of social democracy and, indeed, participatory social democracy,

  • a dream that will probably never come true.

  • But by keeping that utopian vision before the public he did influence the public mood

  • to some extent.

  • It's true that the United States didn't approach the kind of welfare state that became the

  • norm in Europe in the period after the Second World War.

  • On the other hand the difference between this U.S. in 1905 as the progressives were getting

  • started and in 1965 after Johnson had gotten the civil rights legislation passed is enormous.

  • So there was a very considerable shift toward the political left in the first half of the

  • twentieth century and Dewey had as much with that as any other American intellectual.

  • I don't think you can single Dewey out as having made a particular political contribution.

  • He just stood for the right causes for a long, long time.

  • He was in favor of women's suffrage.

  • He was against racial discrimination.

  • He was in favor of increasing the power of the trade unions.

  • These were all things that came to pass more or less in the course of his lifetime.

  • I don't think you can find much of a connection between what Dewey said to the philosophy

  • professors and what he said to the general public.

  • The questions that he took up in response to people like Russell or Royce are just too

  • remote from politics for one to claim that the one presupposed or entailed the other.

  • In general I don't think there's much connection between the kinds of things philosophy professors

  • talk about to their colleagues and the kinds of things they talk about when they play a

  • role in public affairs.

  • Philosophical ideas are confined to one percent of the population and they tend to be cosmopolites

  • who are not easily identified with their country.

  • I think democratic governments are run by experts.

  • The only question is which experts are going to be in power at any given moment.

  • Dewey's dreams of participatory democracy will never come true.

  • I think American universities and Western universities generally have served society

  • very well indeed.

  • They've supplied experts who could then be associated with politicians who were voted

  • in or voted out by the masses.

  • That's the best we can expect.

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B1 中級 美國腔

理查德-羅蒂談約翰-杜威 (Richard Rorty on John Dewey)

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    耀梅林 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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