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The Quest for Certainty by John Dewey

Narrated by: Fred Filbrich
Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Philosophy
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Summary

This volume provides an authoritative edition of Dewey's The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation Between Knowledge and Action. The book is made up of the Gifford Lectures delivered April and May, 1929 at the University of Edinburgh. Writing to Sidney Hook, Dewey described this work as "a criticism of philosophy as attempting to attain theoretical certainty."

In the Philosophical Review, Max C. Otto later elaborated: "Mr. Dewey wanted, so far as lay in his power, to crumble into dust, once and for all, the chief fortress of the classic philosophical tradition."

The book is published by Southern Illinois University Press.

©1984, 2008 Board of Trustees, Southern Illinois University (P)2013 Redwood Audiobooks

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  • Marcus
  • 03-01-19

Experimental Empiricism

Dewey’s thought is presented in this book with clarity and vigor. His concepts about philosophy, its role and meaning; the distinction between ideas (thought) and practice (experience); the epistemology of natural science and social science are exposed and discussed. The book in some way constitutes a history of philosophy, at least of the tradition of philosophy that identify knowledge with the concept of the ultimate things and values (the real). Dewey argues that knowledge is obtained in experience, provides one works with the proper method. Experience is contingent, unpredictable. Dewey insists that it provides knowledge. Abstract and universal ideas and values as such must be abandoned as a source of knowledge. Their utility in human endeavors is an indication of their epistemological value. This is a book worth reading, specially for students of philosophy and pragmatism.

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  • Josiah Rose
  • 18-01-16

Dewey is the man!!!!

John Dewey is one of the greatest minds in human natural history. Q for C is one the most intelligent and inclusive examinations knowledge and action available. It is must read for any budding philosophers, or anyone seeking pragmatic truth.

Other recommendations:
"Experience and Nature"
"Art as Experience"
"A Common Faith" ****

"The Varieties of Religious Experience"
William James.

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  • Anthony
  • 03-07-18

Excellent book, perfect delivery

Dewey is really hard to read out loud, but Filbrich performs the book perfectly. One really gets a sense that he understands the material enough to place emphasis correctly.

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  • Gaggleframpf
  • 28-12-16

What is Dewey saying, really?

Our true Quest for Certainty should begin with Dewey's own writing. I don't know how he manages to maintain such excellent prose and yet say so little. I think of Dewey as a leader of a certain type of thought, namely, that which must be experienced in order to be known.

Dewey's followers may take this tack farther than Dewey intended it to go. What can be experienced is known only by experience, yet the act of thinking about an experience is itself an experience, so that experience is never made more remote, nor is it compassed about, even though Dewey seems to think so. In order to suppose that certainty can be acquired only by and through experience, we have to consider all aspects of experience, not just the particular experience(s) in question.

Dewey takes no account of the intrinsically diadic relationship between an observing subject, and observed (that which is,) as to recognize that experience is diadic and not monadic would throw into question the integrity of his entire system. Should Dewey concede that logically, experience must be at least at base, a diad of entities locked in experience with each other, he would come dangerously close to admitting something outside experience as more basic and fundamental than experience itself.

Nevertheless, it's important to read Dewey (and any other philosopher, for that matter) with a critical eye and a trained nose. Good luck.

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