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Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 52, 2008

Teaching Philosophy

Ji-Aeh Lee
Pages 25-38
DOI: 10.5840/wcp2220085252

Evolutionary Love for Genuine Social Growth

My question in this paper started from how the goal of social growth in a democratic society can be a proper aim for the teaching of philosophy. Furthermore, I wondered what “genuine” social growth meant in our quest to build a theoretical foundation for the teaching of philosophy. For this investigation, I reviewed first the pragmatic notion of Dewey’s social inquiry and social growth. I realized that Dewey’s ideal communication for a democratic community has an aesthetic feature and even some characteristics we find in a religious faith. By means of such recognition, I could easily move to the inquiry of the Peircean conception of “progress,” which provides us a certain viewpoint of American philosophy in relation with Emersonian spirit. It is a mode of evolution based on a creative love of agapasm. From the point of Peirce’s “evolutionary love,” I come to conclude that genuine social growth toward which our teaching philosophy should aim is evolutionary creativity itself, rather than any given social goal under the name of national ethics or civic morality. Only “love” as a sympathetic power with purposive spontaneity can make genuine progress in communal life. A community cannot be substantially developed unless the creative love lives in the relationships among the members and their thoughts. This is to manifest again the main features of pragmaticism: interactive relationship, integrating process, and spontaneous continuity. Related to such pivotal characteristics, I think another mode of social inquiry in teaching philosophy creates the possibility of expanding our goal into a certain spiritual domain in reconsidering Peircean pragmatism within an evolving process. This kind of reconstruction of Pragmatism will help us to dig into a broad perspective of Philosophy Education in the 21st century.(*)