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John Dewey

Philosopher / Educator

Born: 20 October 1859
Died: 2 June 1952
Birthplace: Burlington, Vermont
Best known as: Pragmatist educator of the early 20th century
Although he is no longer widely known, John Dewey was a writer, lecturer and philosopher whose theories had a profound influence on public education in the first half of the 20th century, especially in the United States. During his distinguished academic career, which began in 1884 at the University of Michigan, Dewey was a strong promoter of what was called instrumentalism (related to the pragmatism of Charles Pierce and William James) and the radical reform of the public education system. His view held no room for eternal truth outside human experience, and he advocated an educational system with continued experimentation and vocational training to equip students to solve practical problems. In his career he also worked at the University of Minnesota, the University of Chicago and Columbia University, and lectured all over the world, including in China, Japan and Scotland. His works include Democracy and Education (1916), Art as Experience (1934) and a series of lectures collected as Experience and Nature (1925).

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