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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 3, 1999

Philosophy of Education

James Garrison
Pages 51-61

Philosophy as the General Theory of Critical Education

Dewey blurs the distinction between poetry and philosophy. This is clearest in his aesthetics where he affirms Matthew Arnold’s dictum that “poetry is criticism of life.” The maxim, though, fails to say “how poetry is a criticism.” The role of art in general is imagining and creating images of the actual beyond the possible that (from a moral perspective) ought to exist. One can derive an ought from an is if one understands the is of poetic possibility. Dewey asserts that “poetry teaches us as friends and life teach, by being, and not by express intent.” He affirms that it is “by way of communication that art becomes the incomparable organ of instruction.” Blurring the distinction between poetry and philosophy requires reconsidering the character—especially the moral character—of education as cultural criticism.

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