John Dewey, American Pragmatist

A wing of the Pragmatism Cybrary

John Dewey (1859-1952) was an American psychologist, philosopher, educator, social critic and political activist. He was born in Burlington, Vermont, on 20 October 1859. Dewey graduated from the University of Vermont in 1879, and received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University in 1884. He started his career at the University of Michigan, teaching there from 1884 to 1888 and 1889-1894, with a one year term at the University of Minnesota in 1888. In 1894 he became the chairman of the department of philosophy, psychology, and pedagogy at the University of Chicago. In 1899, John Dewey was elected president of the American Psychological Association, and in 1905 he became president of the American Philosophical Association. Dewey taught at Columbia University from 1905 until he retired in 1929, and occasionally taught as professor emeritus until 1939. During his years at Columbia he traveled the world as a philosopher, social and political theorist, and educational consultant. Among his major journeys are his lectures in Japan and China from 1919 to 1921, his visit to Turkey in 1924 to recommend educational policy, and a tour of schools in the USSR in 1928. Of course, Dewey never ignored American social issues. He was outspoken on education, domestic and international politics, and numerous social movements. Among the many concerns that attracted Dewey's support were women's suffrage, progressive education, educator's rights, the Humanistic movement, and world peace. Dewey died in New York City on 1 June 1952.

Editions of Dewey's writings          Writings by Dewey         Books about Dewey         Websites about Dewey


His Lasting Influence

Dewey made seminal contributions to nearly every field and topic in philosophy and psychology. Besides his role as a primary originator of both functionalist and behaviorist psychology, Dewey was a major inspiration for several allied movements that have shaped 20th century thought, including empiricism, humanism, naturalism, contextualism, and process philosophy. For over 50 years Dewey was the voice for a liberal and  progressive democracy that has shaped the destiny of America and the world.

Dewey ranks with the greatest thinkers of this or any age on the subjects of pedagogy, philosophy of mind,  epistemology, logic, philosophy of science, and social and political theory. His pragmatic approaches to ethics, aesthetics, and religion have also remained influential.

Dewey's stature is assured as one of the 20th Century's premier philosophers, along with James, Bradley, Husserl, Russell, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Sartre, Carnap, and Quine.

A Philosopher's Faith
Inspired by John Dewey

My person returns to unwind all its threads,
Woven by language into the habits of heads;
An old wearied head must bow down one final eve,
But my lively thought shines in cloth I helped to weave.

Your gift by my leave is but some seeds yet to grow,
Whose value was found in times of need long ago;
Sow all of these seeds in our vast garden with care,
Protect and defend the greater harvest to share.

To view such swift change, see truths melt under new suns,
To watch how scared souls kept on refining their guns;
My nation was home despite such strife with no cease,
My freedom was here while humbly searching for peace.

By trial did I live, by more trial find my thought’s worth,
My death you will get if you conceive no new birth;
No life without doubt, for the best fail now and then,
No rest for my faith, that each new day tests again.

--John Shook         


Recent editions of Dewey's writings


The Collected Works of John Dewey, 1882-1953. 37 volumes.
Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1967-1987.
The Early Works, 1882-1898.
The Middle Works, 1899-1924.
The Later Works, 1925-1953.

Electronic edition of the Collected Works on CD-ROM, published by Intelex in its Past Masters Collection.



The Correspondence of John Dewey. 3 volumes. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1999-2004.
Available on CD-ROM, published by Intelex in its Past Masters Collection.
Volume 1: 1871-1918; Volume 2: 1919-1939; Volume 3: 1940-1953.




The Essential Dewey. Two volumes.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.

Vol. 1, Pragmatism, Education, Democracy.
Vol. 2, Ethics, Logic, Psychology




The Moral Writings of John Dewey, rev. ed.
Edited by James Gouinlock. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1994.






The Political Writings of John Dewey.
Edited by Debra Morris and Ian Shapiro. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993.






The Philosophy of John Dewey. Two volumes in one.
Edited by John J. McDermott. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989.





Writings by John Dewey


Psychology (New York: Harper, 1887; revised, 1889; revised, 1891).

Leibniz's New Essays Concerning the Human Understanding: A Critical Exposition (Chicago: Griggs, 1888).

Applied Psychology: An Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Education, by Dewey and James Alexander McClellan (Boston: Educational Publishing Company, 1889).

Outlines of a Critical Theory of Ethics (Ann Arbor: Michigan Register Publishing Company, 1891).

The Study of Ethics: A Syllabus (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Inland, 1894).

The Psychology of Number and Its Applications to Methods of Teaching Arithmetic, by Dewey and McClellan, International Education Series, volume 33 (New York: Appleton, 1895; London: Edward Arnold, 1895).

Interest in Relation to Training of the Will, National Herbart Society Supplement to the Yearbook for 1895 (Bloomington, Ill.: Public School Publishing Company, 1896); revised as Interest as Related to Will, edited by Charles A. McMurry (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1899).

The School and Society: Being Three Lectures by John Dewey, Supplemented by a Statement of the University Elementary School (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1899; London: P. S. King, 1900; revised and enlarged edition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1915; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1915).

The Child and the Curriculum (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1902).

Studies in Logical Theory, by Dewey and others (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1903; London: Unwin, 1909).

Ethics, by Dewey and James H. Tufts (New York: Holt, 1908; London: Bell, 1909; revised edition, New York: Holt, 1932).

How We Think (Boston: Heath, 1910; London: Harrap, 1910); revised as How We Think, a Restatement of the Relation of Reflective Thinking to the Educative Process (Boston, New York & London: Heath, 1933; London: Harrap, 1933).

The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy, and Other Essays in Contemporary Thought (New York: Holt, 1910; London: Bell, 1910).

German Philosophy and Politics (New York: Holt, 1915; revised edition, New York: Putnam, 1942).

Schools of To-Morrow, by John Dewey and Evelyn Dewey (New York: Dutton, 1915; London: Dent, 1915).

Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education (New York: Macmillan, 1916; New York: Free Press / London: Collier-Macmillan, 1944).

Essays in Experimental Logic (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1916).

Reconstruction in Philosophy (New York: Holt, 1920; London: University of London Press, 1921; enlarged edition, with a new introduction by Dewey, Boston: Beacon, 1948).

Human Nature and Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology (New York: Holt, 1922; London: Allen & Unwin, 1922; republished, with a new introduction, New York: Modern Library, 1930).

Experience and Nature (Chicago & London: Open Court, 1925; revised edition, New York: Norton, 1929; London: Allen & Unwin, 1929).

The Public and Its Problems (New York: Holt, 1927; London: Allen & Unwin, 1927); republished as The Public and Its Problems: An Essay in Political Inquiry (Chicago: Gateway, 1940).

Art and Education, by Dewey, Albert C. Barnes, Laurence Buermeyer, and others (Merion, Pa.: Barnes Foundation Press, 1929; revised and enlarged, 1947; revised and enlarged, 1954).

The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action (New York: Minton, Balch, 1929; London: Allen & Unwin, 1930).

Individualism, Old and New (New York: Minton, Balch, 1930; London: Allen & Unwin, 1931).

Art as Experience (New York: Minton, Balch, 1934; London: Allen & Unwin, 1934).

A Common Faith (New Haven: Yale University Press / London: Oxford University Press, 1934).

Liberalism and Social Action (New York: Putnam, 1935).

Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (New York: Holt, 1938; London: Allen & Unwin, 1939).

Theory of Valuation, volume 2, no. 4 of International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, edited by Otto Neurath, Rudolf Carnap, and Charles W. Morris (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1939).

Freedom and Culture (New York: Putnam, 1939; London: Allen & Unwin, 1940).

Knowing and the Known, by Dewey and Arthur F. Bentley (Boston: Beacon, 1949).


Shorter Works, Pamphlets, Essays

The Ethics of Democracy, University of Michigan Philosophical Papers, second series no. 1 (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Andrews, 1888).

Hegel's Philosophy of Spirit: Lectures (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1897).

The Significance of the Problem of Knowledge (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1897).

My Pedagogic Creed (New York & Chicago: E. L. Kellogg, 1897).

Psychology and Philosophic Method: The Annual Public Address Before the Union, May 15, 1899 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1899).

The Method of the Recitation: A Partial Report of a Course of Lectures Given at the University of Chicago by Professor John Dewey, Privately Printed for the Use of Classes in Theory at the Oshkosh Normal School (N.p., 1899).

Psychology and Social Practice, University of Chicago Contributions to Education, no. 11 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1901).

The Educational Situation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1902).

Ethical Principles Underlying Education (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1903).

Logical Conditions of a Scientific Treatment of Morality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1903).

Education, Direct and Indirect (Chicago, 1904).

Moral Principles in Education (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1909).

The Pragmatic Movement of Contemporary Thought: A Syllabus (New York, 1909).

Interest and Effort in Education (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1913; Bath, U.K.: Chivers, 1969).

Creative Intelligence: Essays in the Pragmatic Attitude, by Dewey and others (New York: Holt, 1917)-- includes "The Need for a Recovery of Philosophy," by Dewey.

Enlistment for the Farm, Columbia War Papers, series 1 no. 1 (New York: Division of Intelligence and Publicity of Columbia University, 1917).

Letters from China and Japan, by John Dewey and Alice Chipman Dewey; edited by Evelyn Dewey (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1920; London: Dent, 1920).

China, Japan, and the U.S.A.: Present-Day Conditions in the Far East and Their Bearing on the Washington Conference, New Republic Pamphlet, no. 1 (New York: Republic Publishing, 1921).

Ideals, Aims, and Methods in Education, by Dewey and others (London & New York: Pitman, 1922)-- includes "Aims and Ideals of Education," pp. 1-9, by Dewey.

Outlawry of War: What It Is and Is Not (Chicago: American Committee for the Outlawry of War, 1923).

What Mr. John Dewey Thinks of the Educational Policies of México (Mexico City: Talleres Gráficos de la Nación, 1926).

Impressions of Soviet Russia and the Revolutionary World: Mexico-China-Turkey (New York: New Republic, 1929).

The Sources of a Science of Education (New York: Liveright, 1929).

Contrasts in Education (New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1929).

Construction and Criticism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1930; London: Oxford University Press, 1930).

American Education Past and Future (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1931).

Context and Thought, University of California Publications in Philosophy, volume 12, no. 3 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1931; London: Cambridge University Press, 1932).

The Way Out of Educational Confusion (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1931; London: Oxford University Press, 1931).

Are Sanctions Necessary to International Organizations? by Dewey and Raymond Leslie Buell, Foreign Policy Pamphlet, nos. 82-83 (New York: Foreign Policy Association, 1932).

Education and the Social Order (New York: League for Industrial Democracy, 1934).

The Teacher and Society, by Dewey, William H. Kilpatrick, George H. Hartmann, Ernest O. Melby, and others (New York: Appleton-Century, 1937).

The Case of Leon Trotsky: Report of Hearings on the Charges Made Against Him in the Moscow Trials by the Preliminary Commission of Inquiry, by Dewey and others (New York: Harper, 1937; London: Secker & Warburg, 1937).

Not Guilty: Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Charges Made against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trials, by Dewey, Suzanne La Follette, and Benjamin Stolberg (New York: Harper, 1938; London: Secker & Warburg, 1938).

What Is Democracy? Its Conflicts, Ends and Means, by Dewey, Boyd H. Bode, and T. V. Smith (Norman, Okla.: Cooperative Books, 1939).


Edited Collections and Posthumous Publications

The School and the Child: Being Selections from the Educational Essays of John Dewey, edited by J. J. Findlay (London: Blackie, 1906).

Educational Essays, edited by J. J. Findlay (London: Blackie, 1910)--comprises Ethical Principles Underlying Education; Interest in Relation to Training of the Will; and Psychology and Social Practice.

The Philosophy of John Dewey, edited by Joseph Ratner (New York: Holt, 1928; London: Allen & Unwin, 1929).

Characters and Events: Popular Essays in Social and Political Philosophy, edited by Joseph Ratner, 2 volumes (New York: Holt, 1929; London: Allen & Unwin, 1929).

Philosophy and Civilization (New York: Minton, Balch, 1931; London: Putnam, 1933).

Experience and Education (London & New York: Macmillan, 1938).

Intelligence in the Modern World: John Dewey's Philosophy, edited, with an introduction, by Ratner (New York: Random House, 1939).

Education Today, edited, with a foreword, by Ratner (New York: Putnam, 1940; abridged edition, London: Allen & Unwin, 1941).

Problems of Men (New York: Philosophical Library, 1946); republished as Philosophy of Education (Problems of Men) (Ames, Iowa: Littlefield Adams, 1956).

The Wit and Wisdom of John Dewey, edited, with an introduction, by A. H. Johnson (Boston: Beacon, 1949).

John Dewey: His Contribution to the American Tradition, edited by Irwin Edman (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1955).

The Child and the Curriculum; and, The School and Society, introduction by Leonard Carmichael (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956).

Dewey on Education, selected, with an introduction and notes, by Martin S. Dworkin (New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1959).

Dictionary of Education, edited by Ralph B. Winn with a foreword by John Herman Randall Jr. (New York: Philosophical Library, 1959).

On Experience, Nature, and Freedom: Representative Selections, edited, with an introduction, by Richard J. Bernstein, Library of Liberal Arts, no. 41 (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1960).

Theory of the Moral Life, introduction by Arnold Isenberg (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1960).

Philosophy, Psychology and Social Practice: Essays, edited, with a foreword, by Joseph Ratner (New York: Putnam, 1963).

Selected Educational Writings, edited, with an introduction and commentary, by F. W. Garforth (London: Heinemann, 1966).

Lectures in the Philosophy of Education, 1899, edited, with an introduction, by Reginald D. Archambault (New York: Random House, 1966).

Lectures in China, 1919-1920, translated and edited by Robert W. Clopton and Tsuin-Chen Ou (Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1973).

Moral Principles in Education, preface by Sidney Hook (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press / London: Feffer & Simons, 1975 ).

Lectures on Psychological and Political Ethics, 1898, edited, with an introduction, by Donald F. Koch (New York: Hafner / London: Collier-Macmillan, 1976).

John Dewey: The Essential Writings, edited by David Sidorsky (New York: Harper & Row, 1977).

The Poems of John Dewey, edited with an introduction by Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press / London: Feffer & Simons, 1977).

The Philosophy of John Dewey. Two volumes in one. Edited by John J. McDermott. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989.

John Dewey on Education. Edited by Reginald D. Archambault. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Dewey on Education. Edited by Martin Dworkin. New York: Teachers College Press, 1990.

The School and Society; and, The Child and the Curriculum, introduction by Philip W. Jackson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990).

Lectures by John Dewey: Moral and Political Philosophy, 1915-1916. Edited by Warren J. Samuels and Donald F. Koch. Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology: Archival Supplement No. 1. London: JAI Press, 1990.

Lectures on Ethics, 1900-1901, edited, with an introduction, by Donald F. Koch (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1991).

John Dewey: The Political Writings, edited, with an introduction, by Debra Morris and Ian Shapiro (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993).

Philosophy and Education in their Historic Relations. Transcribed from Dewey's 1910-11 lectures by Elsie Ripley Clapp. Edited by J. J. Chambliss. Boulder: Westview Press, 1993.

The Moral Writings of John Dewey, edited, with an introduction and notes, by James Gouinlock (New York: Hafner, 1976; revised edition, Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus, 1994).

Principles of Instrumental Logic: John Dewey's Lectures in Ethics and Political Ethics, 1895-1896, edited by Donald F. Koch (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1998).

The Essential Dewey, edited by Larry A. Hickman and Thomas M. Alexander, 2 volumes (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998)--comprises volume 1, Pragmatism, Education, Democracy and volume 2, Ethics, Logic, Psychology.

How We Think: A Restatement of the Relation of Reflective Thinking to the Educative Process, foreword by Maxine Greene (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998).


A Partial Dewey Bibliography, 1882-1921

by Robert Throop and Lloyd Gordon Ward


Books about John Dewey

Works about John Dewey, 1886-1995, by Barbara Levine. (1995)
The definitive bibliography of secondary literature on Dewey.

The Center for Dewey Studies provides a update list of additional works
about Dewey.



The Philosophy of John Dewey. Volume One of The Library of
Living Philosophers Series. (1939. 3rd ed., 1989)
Contains the most comprehensive bibliography of Dewey's writings.




Selected works on a variety of aspects of Dewey's philosophy
----Just a sampling of the enormous commentary on Dewey of recent years. See the Dewey Center's Works about Dewey 1995-present.

Websites about John Dewey


Books and articles by John Dewey from 1886 to 1916.

Democracy and Education (1916).

My Pedagogic Creed, by John Dewey - Early essay by John Dewey outlining his theory of education. Progressive education in brief.

Impressions of Soviet Russia, by John Dewey - Complete text of the first six chapters of Dewey’s book, covering Dewey’s visit to Soviet Russia in 1928.

Inquiry into charges against Trotsky - A complete transcription of the famous commission Dewey chaired in 1937, held in Mexico: “The Case of Leon Trotsky, Report of hearings by the Preliminary Commission of Inquiry into the charges made against him in the Moscow trials.”

The Humanist Manifesto (1933) signed by John Dewey.


Center for Dewey Studies at Southern Illinois University. Larry Hickman, Director.

Manuscript Collections at the Morris Library, Southern Illinois University. The John Dewey Papers are located here, along with the papers of many other pragmatists and progressive educators.

Chronology of Dewey's Life and Works provided by the Dewey Center.

Dewey Discussion Group explained by Tom Burke at the University of South Carolina. by David Hildebrand.

Dewey's Moral Philosophy by Elizabeth Anderson at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Dewey's Aesthetics by Tom Leddy at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Dewey's Political Philosophy by Matthew Festenstein at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

John Dewey, article by Jim Garrison at the Encyclopaedia of Philosophy of Education

John Dewey, by Richard Field at the Internet Encyclopedia of Encyclopedia

"Thought and Action: John Dewey at the University of Michigan" by Brian Williams

John Dewey in Hamburg / Germany by Glen Pate. A collection of materials relating to the strange history of the Dewey reception in Germany.

John Dewey by Pam Ecker for the American Culture Studies project, "The American 1890s: A Chronology," at Bowling Green State University. Includes links to pages about Dewey and pragmatism, and progressive education.

Essays on Dewey's political philosophy by Gordon L. Ziniewicz.

John Dewey: American Pragmatic Philosopher by Shawn Olsen


John Dewey: Philosophy of Education

The Philosophy of Education Society.

The John Dewey Society for the Study of Education and Culture.

Educational Theory publishes work in the philosophy of education and other disciplines. The journal is co-sponsored by the John Dewey Society, the Philosophy of Education Society, and the Colleges of Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign and the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Education and Culture: The Journal of the John Dewey Society

The University of Chicago's Laboratory Schools.

The Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation at Teacher's College, Columbia University.

The John Dewey Project on Progressive Education at the University of Vermont.

John Dewey and the Alexander Technique.

The John Dewey and F. Matthias Alexander Homepage.

The Unknown Dewey: John Dewey vs. the Alexander Technique