“John Dewey and the Mutual Influence of Democracy and Education,” Review of Politics 71 (Winter 2009): 7-19
For Dewey education is the growth of mental powers, where “growth” has no fixed content but involves the increasing harmonization of individuals with society. That harmonization must respect the uniqueness of each person and his capacity for intelligence. Education aims to develop a model democratic society, which Dewey sees as similar to an ideal community of scientific inquirers. That comparison is highly questionable, however. Dewey's curricular emphases include science, geography, history, literature, and fine arts, the last two of which promote a greater appreciation for all of human life—provided society is not too separated into classes. Related to social division is what he considers the false problems of epistemology, with its separation between mind and world. But Dewey's failure to think more rigorously about the relation of philosophy to science makes his philosophy a poor bulwark against postmodernism.