Creative Intelligence, Essays in the Pragmatic Attitude - John Dewey (1917)

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    EATIVE INTELLIGENCE;SSAYS IN THE PRAGMATIC ATTITUDE

    BYJOHN DEWEYADDISON W. MOORE

    HAROLD CHAPMAN BROWNGEORGE H. MEADBOYD H. BODEHENRY WALDGRAVE STUARTJAMES HAYDEN TUFTSHORACE M. KALLEN

    NEW YORKHENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

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    COPTBISHT, 1917,BT

    HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

    Pnbliahed January, 1917

    THE QUINN 4 BODEN CO. ntiSRAHWAY, H. I.

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    f

    PREFATORY NOTEThe Essays which follow represent an attempt at

    intellectual cooperation. No effort has been made,however, to attain unanimity of belief nor to proffer aplatform of " planks " on which there is agreement. Theconsensus represented lies primarily in outlook, in con-viction of what is most likely to be fruitful in methodof approach. As the title page suggests, the volumepresents a unity in attitude rather than a uniformityin results. Consequently each writer is definitivelyresponsible only for his own essay. The reader willnote that the Essays endeavor to embody the commonattitude in application to specific fields of inquirywhich have been historically associated with philosophyrather than as a thing by itself. Beginning with philos-ophy itself, subsequent contributions discuss its appli-cation to logic, to mathematics, to physical science, topsychology, to ethics, to economics, and then again tophilosophy itself in conjunction with esthetics and re-ligion. The reader will probably find that the signifi-cant points of agreement have to do with the ideas of thegenuineness of the future, of intelligence as the organfor determining the quality of that future so far as itcan come within human control, and of a courageouslyinventive individual as the bearer of a creatively em-ployed mind. While all the essays are new in the formin which they are now published, various contributors

    ili?an

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    iv PREFATORY NOTEmake their acknowledgments to the editors of thePhilosophical Review, the Psychological Review, andthe Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and ScientificMethods for use of material which first made its appear-ance in the pages of these journals.

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    CONTENTSPAGEThe Need foe a Recovery of Philosophy . 3

    John Dewey, Columbia University.Reformation of Logic ..... . .., 70Addison W. Moore, University of Chicago.Intelligence and Mathematics . . . 118

    Harold Chapman Brown, Leland Stanford,Jr., University.

    Scientific Method and Individual Thinker . 176George H. Mead, University of Chicago.

    Consciousness and Psychology . . . 228Boyd H. Bode, University of Illinois.

    The Phases of the Economic Interest . . 282Henry Waldgrave Stuart, Leland Stanford,

    Jr., University.The Moral Life and the Construction of / >Values and Standards 354James Hayden Tufts, University of Chicago.V

    Value and Existence in Philosophy, Art, andReligion 409

    Horace M. Kallen, University of Wisconsin.

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    CREATIVE INTELLIGENCE

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    THE NEED FOR A RECOVERY OFPHILOSOPHYJOHN DEWEY

    Intellectual advance occurs in two ways. Attimes increase of knowledge is organized about oldconceptions, while these are expanded, elaboratedand refined, but not seriously revised, much less aban-doned. At other times, the increase of knowledge de-mands qualitative rather than quantitative change;alteration, not addition. Men's minds grow cold totheir former intellectual concerns ; ideas that wereburning fade; interests that were urgent seem remote.Men face in another direction; their older perplexitiesare unreal; considerations passed over as negligibleloom up. Former problems may not have been solved,but they no longer press for solution.

    Philosophy is no exception to the rule. But it isunusually conservativenot, necessarily, in profferingsolutions, but in clinging to problems. It has been soallied with theology and theological morals as repre-sentatives of men's chief interests, that radical altera-tion has been shocking. Men's activities took a de-cidedly new turn, for example, in the seventeenth cen-tury, andhit seemed as if philosophy, under the lead ofthinkers like Bacon and Descartes, was to execute anabout-face. But, in spite of the ferment, it turned out3

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    4 CREATIVE INTELLIGENCEthat many of the older problems were but translatedfrom Latin into the vernacular or into the new termi-nology furnished by science.The association of philosophy with academic teach-

    ing has reinforced this intrinsic conservatism. Scho-lastic philosophy persisted in universities after men'sthoughts outside of the walls of colleges had movedin other directions. In the last hundred j^ears intel-lectual advances of science and politics have in likefashion been crystallized into material of instructionand now resist further change. I would not say thatthe spirit of teaching is hostile to that of liberal in-quiry, but a philosophy which exists largely as some-thing to be taught rather than wholly as somethingto be reflected upon is conducive to discussion of viewsheld by others rather than to immediate response. Phi-losophy when taught inevitably magnifies the historyof past thought, and leads professional philosophers toapproach their subject-matter through its formulationin received systems. It tends, also, to emphasize pointsupon which men have divided into schools, for theselend themselves to retrospective definition and elabora-tion. Consequently, philosophical discussion is likelyto be a dressing out of antithetical traditions, wherecriticism of one view is thought to afford proof of thetruth of its opposite (as if formulation of views guar-anteed logical exclusives). Direct preoccupation withcontemporary difficulties is left to literature and poli-tics.

    If changing conduct and expanding knowledge everrequired a willingness to surrender not merely old solu-

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    A RECOVERY OF PHILOSOPHY 5tions but old problems it is now. I do not mean thatwe can turn abruptly away from all traditional issues.This is impossible ; it would be the undoing of the onewho attempted it. Irrespective of the professionalizingof philosophy, the ideas philosophers discuss are stillthose in which Western civilization has been bred. Theyare in the backs of the heads of educated people. Butwhat serious-minded men not engaged in the profes-sional business of philosophy most want to know iswhat modifications and abandonments of intellectual in-heritance are required by the newer industrial, politi-cal, and scientific movements. They want to knowwhat these newer movements mean when translated intogeneral ideas. Unless professional philosophy canmobilize itself sufficiently to assist in this clarificationand redirection of men's thoughts, it is likely to getmore and more sidetracked from the main currents ofcontemporary life. ;^

    This essay may, then, be looked upon as an attemlptto forward the emancipation of philosophy from toointimate and exclusive attachment to traditional prob-lems. It is not in intent a criticism of various solu-tions that have been offered, but raises a question as tothe genuineness, under the present conditions of scienceand social life, of the problems.The limited object of my discussion will, doubtless,

    give an exaggerated impression of my conviction asto the artificiality of much recent philosophizing. Notthat I have wilfully exaggerated in what I have said,but that the limitations of my purpose have led me notto say many things pertinent to a broader purpose. A

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    6 CREATIVE INTELLIGENCEdiscussion less restricted would strive to enforce thegenuineness, in their o\\ti context, of questions now dis-cussed mainly because they have been discussed ratherthan because contemporary conditions of life suggestthem. It would also be a grateful task to dwell uponthe precious contributions made by philosophic systemswhich as a whole are impossible. In the course of thedevelopment of unreal premises and the discussion ofartificial problems, points of view have emerged whichare indispensable possessions of culture. The horizonhas been widened ; ideas of great fecundity struck outimagination quickened ; a sense of the meaning of thingscreated. It may even be asked whether these accompani-ments of classic systems have not often been treated asa kind of guarantee of the systems themselves. Butwhile it is a sign of an illiberal mind to throw away thefertile and ample ideas of a Spinoza, a Kant, or aHegel, because their setting is not logically adequate,it is surely a sign of an undisciplined one to treat theircontributions to culture as confirmations of premiseswith which they have no necessary connection.

    A criticism of current philosophizing from the stand-point of the traditional quality of its problems mustbegin somewhere, and the choice of a beginning is arbi-trary. It has appeared to me that the notion of experi-ence implied in the questions most actively discussedgives a natural point of departure. For, if I mistakenot, it is just the inherited view of experience commonto the empirical school and its opponents which keeps

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    A RECOVERY OF PHILOSOPHY 7alive many discussions even of matters that on theirface are quite remote from it, while it is also this viewwhich is most untenable in the light of existing scienceand social practice. Accordingly I set out with a briefstatement of some of the chief contrasts between theorthodox description of experience and that congenialto present conditions.

    (i) In the orthodox view, experience is regardedprimarily as a knowledge-aifair. But to eyes not look-ing through ancient spectacles, it assuredly appearsas an affair of the intercourse of a living being withits physical and social environment, (ii) Accordingto tradition experience is (at least primarily) a psy-chical thing, infected throughout by " subjectivity."What experience suggests about itself is a genuinelyobjective world which enters into the actions and suf-ferings of men and undergoes modiifications throughtheir responses, (iii) So far as anything beyond abare present is recognized by the established doctrine,the past exclusively counts. Registration of what hastaken place, reference to precedent, is believed to bethe essence of experience. Empiricism is conceived ofas tied up to what has been, or is, " given." But ex-perience in its vital form is experimental, an effort tochange the given; it is characterized by projection, byreaching forward into the unknown; connexion witha future is its salient trait, (iv) The empirical tradi-tion is committed to particularism. Connexions andcontinuities^ are supposed to be foreign to experience,to be by-products of dubious validity. An experiencethat is an undergoing of an environment and a striv-

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    8 CREATIVE INTELLIGENCEing for its control in new directions is pregnant withconnexions, (v) In the traditional notion experiencei^nd thought are antithetical terms. Inference, so faras it is other than a revival of what has been given inthe past, goes beyond experience; hence it is either in-valid, or else a measure of desperation by which, usingexperience as a springboard, we jump out to a worldof stable things and other selves. But experience, takenfree of the restrictions imposed by the older concept,is full of inference. There is, apparently, no consciousexperience without inference ; reflection is native andconstant.

    These contrasts, with a consideration of the effectof substituting the account of experience relevant tomodern life for the inherited account, afford the sub-ject-matter of the following discussion.

    Suppose we take seriously the contribution made toour idea of experience by biology,not that recentbiological science discovered the facts, but that it hasso mphasized them that there is no longer an excusefor ignoring them or treating them as negligible. Anyaccount of experience must now fit into the considera-tion that experiencing means living; and that livinggoes on in and because of an environing medium, notin a vacuum. Where there is experience, there is aliving being. Where there is life, there is a double con-nexion maintained with the environment. In part, en-vironmental energies constitute organic functions ; theyenter into them. Life is not possible without suchdirect support by the environment. But while allorganic changes depend upon the natural energies of

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    A RECOVERY OF PHILOSOPHY 9the environment for their origination and occurrence,the natural energies sometimes carry the organic func-tions prosperously forward, and sometimes act counterto their continuance. Growth and decay, health anddisease, are alike continuous with activities of the nat-ural surroundings. The difference lies in the bearingof what happens upon future life-activity. From thestandpoint of this future reference environmental inci-dents fall into groups : those favorable to life-activities,and those hostile.The successful activities of the organism, those

    within which environmental assistance is incorporated,react upon the environment to bring about modificationsfavorable to their own future. The human being hasupon his hands the problem of responding to what isgoing on around him so that these changes will take oneturn rather than another, namely, that required by itsown further functionin...

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