Advertisement

Change in Dewey’s and Aristotle’s Metaphysics

  • Clara Fischer
Chapter
  • 51 Downloads
Part of the Breaking Feminist Waves book series (BFW)

Abstract

In this chapter, the metaphysics of change takes center stage as I continue to investigate Aristotle’s thought, and examine how his hylomorphism1 overcomes the difficulties raised by Parmenides’ theorizing of opposites with its juxtaposition of mutability and immutability, Being and Not-Being, and singularity and plurality.2 Since the overarching focal point of this book lies in a depiction of selfhood that endows selves with agency, and hence with the capacity to effect change as morally responsible beings, one must first ascertain what kind of world this self exists in. A world that does not allow for mutability must also preclude mutable beings, and the ability of beings to bring about change. I therefore establish whether the world is permanent, stable, precarious, or mutable, as this provides a basis from which to theorize the self as it exists in the world.

Keywords

Natural Object Aristotelian Logic Productive View Teleological Account Divine Plan 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 2.
    Randall Jr., J. H., “Dewey’s Interpretation of the History of Philosophy” in The Philosophy of John Dewey, Schilpp, P. A. (ed.), Tudor Publishing Company, New York, 1951, p. 80.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    For an in-depth study of Aristotelianism in Dewey’s metaphysics, see Boisvert, R. D., Dewey’s Metaphysics, Fordham University Press, New York, 1988. Change plays an important role in Boisvert’s analysis.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Ratner, J. (ed.), Intelligence in the Modern World: John Dewey’s Philosophy, Random House, Inc., New York, 1939, p. 210.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Dewey actually uses the word “sin” in his critique of Aristotle’s philosophy—see Dewey, J., “Intelligence and Morals” in The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy and Other Essays, Henry Holt & Co., New York, 1910, p. 50.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Tiles, J. E., “John Dewey, 1859–1952” in John Dewey: Critical Assessments, Vol. 1, Tiles, J. E. (ed.), Routledge, London, 1992, p. xxvii.Google Scholar
  6. 13.
    My analysis will draw predominantly on texts written during the Aristotelian phase, and hence post-“Aristotelian turn”—for more on this see Sleeper, R., The Necessity of Pragmatism: John Dewey’s Conception of Philosophy, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 1986.Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    Dewey, J., Reconstruction in Philosophy, Henry Holt & Co., New York, 1920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 17.
    See, amongst others, Dewey, J., Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education in John Dewey: The Middle Works, 1899–1924, Vol. 9: 1916, Boydston, J. A. (ed.), Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale & Edwardsville, 2008, pp. 82–85.Google Scholar
  9. 29.
    Plato’s theory of knowledge posits forms as universals, knowledge of which we are born with, yet forget. This needs to be recollected, lest we be subject to a certain blindness, never able to see things as they really are, a scenario aptly depicted by the allegory of the cave—for more on this see Plato, Republic, Waterfield, R. (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1998.Google Scholar
  10. 32.
    For more on this see Droege, P., “Reclaiming the Subject, or A View from Here” in Feminist Interpretations of John Dewey, Seigfried, C. H. (ed.), The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA, 2002.Google Scholar
  11. 33.
    Dewey, J., Logic: The Theory of Inquiry in John Dewey: The Later Works, 1925–1953, Vol. 12: 1938, Boydston, J. A. (ed.), Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale & Edwardsville, 1986, p. 15.Google Scholar
  12. 34.
    Boisvert, R. D., “From the Biological to the Logical: John Dewey’s Logic as a Theory of Inquiry” in Classical American Pragmatism: Its Contemporary Vitality, Rosenthal, S. B., Hausman, Carl R., and Anderson, Douglas R. (eds.), University of Illinois Press, Urbana & Chicago, 1999, p. 50.Google Scholar
  13. 42.
    Dewey, R. E., The Philosophy of John Dewey: A Critical Exposition of his Method, Metaphysics, and Theory of Knowledge, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1977, p. 104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 49.
    For more on this see Boisvert, R. D., “Dewey’s Metaphysics: Ground-Map of the Prototypically Real” in Reading Dewey: Interpretations for a Postmodern Generation, Hickman, L. A. (ed.), Indiana University Press, Bloomington & Indianapolis, 1998;Google Scholar
  15. and Dewey, J., The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action in John Dewey: The Later Works, 1925–1953, Vol. 4: 1929, Boydston, J. A. (ed.), Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale & Edwardsville, 1984.Google Scholar
  16. 52.
    Craig Cunningham details some of the traits identified by Dewey “in Experience and Nature and elsewhere,” which number “at least 30”—see Cunningham, C. A., “The Metaphysics of Dewey’s Conception of the Self,” Philosophy of Education Society, Urbana, 1995, p. 2.Google Scholar
  17. 58.
    A more detailed account of Aristotle’s metaphysics would be misplaced here, see however, Reeve, C. D. C., Substantial Knowledge: Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Hackett Publishing, Indianapolis, 2002;Google Scholar
  18. and Broadie, S., Aristotle and Beyond: Essays on Metaphysics and Ethics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 61.
    Guthrie, W. K. C., The Greek Philosophers: From Thales to Aristotle, Routledge, London, 1997, p. 127. Emphasis mine.Google Scholar
  20. 68.
    Dewey, J., “Some Stages of Logical Thought” in The Middle Works, 1899–1924, Vol. 1: 1899–1901, J. A Boydston (ed.), Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale & Edwardsville, 2008, p. 162.Google Scholar
  21. 72.
    For a reading of Aristotle’s philosophy wherein the elevation of contemplation is somewhat mitigated, see Broadie, S., Ethics With Aristotle, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1991, esp. Chapter 7, section XI entitled “The Best Life.”Google Scholar
  22. 74.
    Dewey, J., “Philosophy” in John Dewey: The Later Works, 1925–1953, Vol. 5: 1929–1930, Boydston, J. A. (ed.), Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale & Edwardsville, 1984, p. 166.Google Scholar
  23. 121.
    For more on Dewey and Darwin see Dewey, J., The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy and Other Essays, Henry Holt & Co., New York, 1910.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Clara Fischer 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clara Fischer

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations