Essay 2 - Chris Baxter Philosophy Exam 2 Essay # 1 A...

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Chris Baxter February 4, 2008 Philosophy Exam 2 Essay # 1 A Critical Analysis of John Dewey’s Theories of Knowledge In John Dewey’s essay Theories of Knowledge he concentrates on previous notions set down by Descartes of the dualism of mind vs. body. Dewey believes that the archaic beliefs that mind is separate from the body was spawned from the different social classes where you have one class that is “controlled by direct concern with things” (the body) and another class that is “free to cultivate themselves” (the mind). Dewey felt that these dualistic views have led to an education system that is wrought with confusion for the students and an unrealistic view of what knowledge is and how it is used for everyday life. What Dewey offers in this essay is continuity between the mind and body; knowledge alone is insufficient without experiences to apply the knowledge and to then use both knowledge and experience to look toward the future. I will attempt to unpack Dewey’s criticism of varying theories of knowledge and what he proposes as his own “Theory of Knowledge”. Let us first start with the differing views of empirical vs. rational. What Dewey says about the empirical view of knowledge is that it is connected with everyday affairs and works to serve the person who has no pursuit of intellectual knowledge. What Dewey
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believes is the downfall of the empirical view of knowledge is that it is grounded in purely experiential learning that comes from observation and waiting for life to happen to you rather than the individual using gained knowledge to see what is going to happen in life and react to it. The other side of Dewey’s argument brings up the view of the rationalist and their beliefs that knowledge is an art and is rational and thoughtful. Dewey believed that this conservative view of knowledge led the individual away from life experience and into a search of knowledge for its own sake. Dewey says that these varying views of knowledge correspond to the “intelligence used by the working classes” compared to the “class remote from concern with means of living”. What this means is that the empirical view of knowledge has continued to emphasize the lower class to be devoid of real knowledge and only concentrate on the useful and practical knowledge used in everyday life when they should be pursuing knowledge that may benefit their life experiences and help them to formulate new experiences based on their knowledge and their past experiences together, he felt that this combination would help them to look toward the future and be free to advance themselves. In contrast the rational view of knowledge has encouraged the higher class to seek knowledge for its own sake and remove the importance of life experiences to formulate knowledge from everyday occurrences. The higher class has turned this knowledge for the sake of it into an art so to speak. They have held that knowledge is something that is artful
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This essay was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course PHIL Intro taught by Professor Terezaskis during the Spring '08 term at RIT.

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Essay 2 - Chris Baxter Philosophy Exam 2 Essay # 1 A...

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