Volume 53, Issue 3, September 2013
Charles A. Hobbs
Reconsidering John Dewey’s Relationship with Ancient Philosophy
There has been little scholarly attention to the tension within Dewey’s comments on the ancients. On the one hand, Dewey’s polemics condemn the lasting influence of Greek philosophers as deleterious. He charges the Greeks with originating a quest (“the quest for certainty”) that has led Western philosophy into such dualisms as reason and emotion, mind and nature, individual and community, and theory and practice. On the other hand, Dewey often has many sympathetic things to say about the Greeks. Taking account of the limited scholarship done on this topic, this essay articulates the dimensions of the tension and tries to put it into a Deweyan perspective.