Vietnam National University, Hanoi University of Social Sciences and Humanities Faculty of Philosophy Hoang Thi Thuy An Subject: THE CONCEPT OF ???DEMOCRACY??? OF JOHN DEWEY IN ???DEMOCRACY AND EDUCATION??? ABSTRACT GRADUATION THESIS MAJOR IN HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY Training degree: Mainstream Year: QH ??“ 2008 – X Hanoi ??“ 2012INTRODUCTIONReasons for the subject In recent years, the issue on ???democracy??? as well as ???future of democracy??? have become a great concern and opened discussions in academic forum in all over the world. Facing this global phenomenon, it is necessary to reconsider doubts about the future of democracy. Whether modern democracy is a prospect sketched by the Western nations and can be established successfully in the non-Western cultures or not. Whether ???democracy??? is a common ethical value to be acknowledged necessarily or not.
International conflicts, which are arised from encouragement with democracy, make many people optimistic or disappointed, even doubtful about true value as well as the future of democracy. However, this is an opportunity to look at, research and explain more profoundly about “democaracy???, also application of “democracy” in other aspects in society. In accordance with the common bachground, it is essential to notice some other reasons when referring to the urgency of the subject.
Firstly, facing new opportunities and challenges in the intergrating and globalizing period with the explosion of knowledge – based economy, our Government and Party have realized the necessity of intergrating, communicating, learning and acquiring the Western values and newly international achievements about researching the basic thereotical issues which are suitable with Vietnam??™s outlook and circumstance. One of them is ???democracy??? and ???democratic promotion???. The XI National Party Congress developed deeper and more comprehensive awareness of ???democracy??? through asserting more fiercely the targets in the coming years. One of them is to build ???the wealthy, powerful, democratic, fair and civilized society???, in which ???democracy??? is the fundamental target, democracy associates with the sovereignty of the mass ??“ the mass is the ???root???, the ???subject??? and the ???sovereign???. The targets, which are set above in building and developing our country, has required the research in the thoughts of ???democracy??? in the world in general and the United Stated of America??™s learning in particular. Secondly, the US is one of the key partner in both economic and diplomatic relation with Vietnam after joining in the World Trade Union (WTO).
With many people, the US is also the ???young??? nation with 236 years of history. But, this nation has done many things making all mankind surprised – leading the world in term of total domestic product for over haflt of the century, bringing people on the moon and developing aerospace technology, researching and applying nuclear weapon…Moreover, they also emphasize and give prominence to the concept of ???freedom, democracy??? in the programs of national level as well as the global agenda.
Hence, what is ???democracy??? Who lays the foundation and develops the concept of democracy in the US Which are differences in democracy implemention in the US compared with other countries Researching the US culture and social ??“ political philosophy, especially John Dewey??™s political philosophy, one of three representatives of pragmatism ??“ the school of philosophy characterizing and imbuding with American spirit, will help us answer these questions above to have more comprehensive outlook in American country and its people, at the same time, to realize the impact of Dewey??™s political philosophy on Amercian academic aspect as well as social, cultural, political life. Deriving from the situations above, the author chooses “The concept of Democracy of John Dewey in Democracy and education??? as the subject for my essay. Besides introduction, conclusion and reference, the content of essay consists of 2 chapters and 5 sections.CHAPTER 1: PREMISES ON THE SOCIAL ??“ POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY OF JOHN DEWY1. The cultural, social and economic premises for the emergence of the social ??“ political philosophy of John Dewey American history after the Civial War witnessed many enormous changes in economy. The rise of giant industrial cooperations in American economy are marked by merging a range of the independent industrial companies into the trusts.
Agriculture transfered from manual to machine labour and from subsistence to commodity production. In the end of the 19st and the early of the 20st, financial sector contributed largely to economic development with the join of John Pirepont Morgan??™s private bank. The role as an informal central bank of Morgan bank helped American industry stable, decreased competition between firms and launched the merging tend for firm union. American politic in this period also experienced the upheavals of presidents with the victory of the Democratic Party than the Republician Party.
In this period, the US transferred from a young republic to an imperialist nation with the tendency for expanding the effect scale on Asian ??“ Pacific and American – Latin area with a series of policies like purchasing Alaska from Russia (1867), controlling Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba and the Philipines archipelago, merging Hawaii island (1893)…
Rapidly economic development and the continous expansion of the US??™s influence on other nations brought social – cultural changes. Fast industrialization, modernlization and urbanization created the large network of business firms, towns and cities, at the same time, helped to dissolve isolated existing communities. Territorial expansion to the remote West caused conflicts with local communities – the Indian tribes, the consequences of racial discrimination against African Americans has still persisted longer posing serious influence until a later period. Since the end of the 19st century, public education has been implemented widely and free, education system has been built to ensure some characteristics like compulsory, comprehensive, professional and decentralized. Liberty of press and liberty of opinion have been ensured, liberty of religion has been remained.
Sciences as geology and surveying, agriculture, ocean research gained significant achievements. Along with the continuous changes in most aspects, progressive reformers in efforts to provide solutions to the economic, politic and social challenges have created a vibrant academic space with the rise of “neo Hegelism.” The typical form of neo Hegelism in America was launched by James Edwin Creighton (1861 ??“ 1924). The appearance of the philosophical trend created ???Amarican spiritual specialtities??? ??“ ???pragmatism??? and ???social Darwinism???. Pragmatism was launched by Charles Sander Pierce from 1871 to 1874 in “Metaphysical club” in Havard University with the join of some other representatives like William James, C.Wright, O.W.
Holmes, J.Fiske, N.J.Green and J.
Warner. Pragmatism developed strongly in the 20st century, particularly in the years after the Second World War. “Social Darwinism” – a method of applying the evolutionary biology of Charles Darwin to explain the evolution of social life by biological laws through natural selection and existing struggle also affected widely on contemporary scholars.
The delegates to this trend in America were Herbert Spencer (1820 – 1903) and William Samnher (1840-1910). The economic, political, cultural, and social, science context had a profound effect to the emergence of John Dewey??™s social ??“ polotical philosophy.2. The thought premises for the emergence of political ??“ social philosophy of John Dewey The emergence of John Dewey??™s social ??“ political philosophy is under the influence of former philosophers??™ philosophical thinking, including W.Humblolt, Charles Sander Pierce, William James and John Stuart Mill.1.
The philosophical thought of W.Humbolt Wilhelm (Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand) von Humbolt (1767 ??“ 1835), who was born and grown up in Postdam (Germany), is well ??“ known as a German educational reformer under Napoleon Age. In his educational doctrine, Humbolt criticized all efforts of government and society forcing individuals under their own goals and direction.
According to Humbolt, the main duty of the government is to ensure sercurity and support positively but not to interfere too deeply in education. With the desire to create the spiritual power for the German, Humbolt suggested the establishment and empowerment of financial autonomy for Ministry of education and universities. However, the suggestion was not implemented.The greatest contribution of Humbolt is to establish Berlin University (Humbolt University now).
Humbolt university model is built on the spirit of combining teachinng and research. Univeristy must set up general education, teach all sciences, not focus on training. University must form a kind of science community and relations between teachers and learners in which students not only take part in studying, but also carry out their own research under teacher??™s direction and support. Fredoom of science and the autonomy of teaching staffs are considered by Humbolt as the fundamental principles for a progressive university and for building universities. Thanks to Humblolt??™s education reform, Dewey could shape the role and importance of a democratic education with the ideal of academic freedom and self-learning attitude promotion and the respect for citizens intellectual. 2. The philosophical thought of C.
S. Peirce Charles Sander Peirce (1839 ??“ 1914) with ???belief ??“ doubt??? theory written in The fixation of belief and How to make our ideas clear is considered the first representative of pragmatism. ???Belief??? is researched and analyzed in comparative relation to ???Doubt???. Each person??™s life is directed by the guiding principles for you to choose an approach, a method for solving the problems which we have to face in daily life. These principles derive from the concious habits formed by ???belief???. Later, Dewey acquired and developed the concept of ???belief??? of Peirce in the completely different ways. Dewey assumes that individuals??™ importance is not fixing their own belief as Peirce??™s thinking, it is fixing the situation. And the logical forms used by individuals in ???inquiry??? will be the ideal tools for us to find out and solve the problems.
The influence of Peirces thought on Dewey is written mainly in Democracy and Education when Dewey analyzed the relation beween individual and world applied in educational theory. The knowledge that learners acquire in the process of doubt to belief which is the self ??“ reformation of knowledge and circumstance to achieve desired results. Since then, it is asserted that a democratic education is necessary to promote intellectual freedom in cognition, personality and human uniqueness. 3. The philosophical thought of W.James William James (1842 ??“ 1910), who is the psychologist, predecessor of pramagtism, makes all over the world know American pragmatism as philosophical doctrine. The thinking of ???truth??? becomes the core issue in James??™ works. With the concept of ???truth???, James declares to the world that pramagtism is the doctrine in ???truth???.
In James thinking, the truth is identical with usefulness. An idea is only considered as the truth when it brings something useful to us. The truth associates with individual??™s experience. Later, Dewey developed the concept of the truth more when emphasizing on variability of the truth, besides usefulness.
Applying the concept of “truth” in education in Democracy and Education, Dewey also alerts that educators must be aware of the “truth” which the students expects to receive in learning is completely different. This occurs because of age as well as perception. Hence, the role of teachers is guiding, helping the students find the “useful truth” expected by themselves, not to impose the “truth of the adult or the teachers to the childrens ideas. Therefore, the characteristic of a democratic education in Deweys thought is that teachers and students are together on the way of discovering knowledge and finding the truth. 4. The social ??“ political doctrine of J.
S.Mill Mill John Stuart Mill (1806 ??“ 1873) is an Bristish philosopher, political economist. Mill??™s social ??“ political philosophy is built on the foundation of liberal ideas as the primacy of civil and democratic state model. Citizens??™ liberties protected fiercely by Mill is liberty of conscience including liberty of thought and feeling, liberty of opinion and libery of sentiment, liberty of tastes and pursuits to show the own personality and liberty of association. In above primary liberties, libery of conscience is the alienable right while the two remaining rights can be limited if they carry dangerous consequences for other citizens. Mill adds ??“ ???the democratic institutions??? is the only political state having capacity to ensure the above rights. Mill??™s representative institution has three elements: Citizens, delegates and national policy researching council.
The core factor in Mill??™s political philosophy is emphasizing on the importance of education in building the democratic government. Education and training is the most important condition for implementing democratic state. Enlightment through education is the prerequisite for self ??“ liberation of human in freedom. Later, Dewey absorbed and asserted again in Democracy and Education ??“ Democracy must become the moral value and education is neceesary to hold this value.3. John Dewey and ???Democracy and Education??? 1. John Dewey: biography and work John Dewey (1850 ??“ 1952) is a great pramagtist after Peirce and James.
He contributes largerly to expanding the influence of pragmatism in the US as well as in the the world. Dewey studied at Philadenphia University in 1875. He was a philosophy postgraduate in John Hopkins in 1882. At the teaching time, he was under the profound influence of Peirce. Dewey taught philosophy in Michigan University during 10 years in 1884 and was affected by neo Hegelism. He found an independent educational faculty of college of practical pedagogy at Chicago University in which educational practices and theories suggested by psychology and philosophy can be under challenges in 1894. He visited and taught philosophy in many places in the world from 1919s until the end of his life. Dewey went to Japan, China in Ngutu campaign, Mexico, Turkey and former Soviet Union.
In all his life, Dewey is well ??“ known as a tireless social activitist besides academic efforts. He joined in the programs such as campaigning for the voting right of women, establishing the American Association of University professors, helping management of the American Civil Liberties Union??¦ The famous works of John Dewey are How We Think (1910), Experience and Nature (1925), Essays in Experimental Logic (1916), Reconstruction in Philosophy (1920), The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action (1929), Problems of Men (1946), Knowing and the Known, by Dewey and Arthur F. Bentley (1949). The works relating education are Democracy and Education (1916), Experience and Education (1938), The school and society (1899). ? 2. The structure and content of ???Democracy and Education??? Democracy and Education was published by John Dewey in 1916 in years of American progressive era lasting from 1890s to 1920s.
However, in contrast with the hustle and bustle pace of the economy, American school still remained an old educational way emphasizing on grind and stuffing. Hence, in the end of the 19st century, a pedagogic reform movement appeared in America was called progressive education. With publishing Democracy and Education, Dewey is considered as the father of the pedagogic reform movement rupturing with a traditional school model and building a newly educational philosophy for American public school. Democracy and Education was translated by Pham Anh Tuan and published by Tri Thuc Publishing House in 2008 in the efforts in implementing Vietnam??™s educational reforms as well as arousing discussions around Vietnams educational system according to the Party and Government??™s policy on reforming basically our education today.
The translation consists of 26 chapters, besides preface, translators saying, grossary of terms, biography and works of John Dewey. The main content of the work is around the newly educational philosophy giving prominence to variability in character and abiity of the children and lauching social intellectual development and judgement for the children to enjoy communal life because of communitty??™s general goal. School is the place for the children to pratice for a democratic society??™s life. This book is a result of the effort to discover and present the concepts of the democratic society and apply these concepts into educational issues.CHAPTER 2: THE CONCEPT OF DEMOCRACY IN JOHN DEWEY??™S SOCIAL ??“ POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IN ???DEMOCRACY AND EDUCATION??? 2.1. The concept of freedom ??“ the foundation for John Dewey??™s social ??“ political philosophy ???Freedom??? is the basic concept for the whole political philosophy. Its nature is the newly concept of individuals in which individuals are considered in relation with community.
Their happiness and benefit associate with those of others, hence, freedom of individuals becomes a positive factor contributing to society??™s moral order. Moreover, ???freedom??? can be divided into freedom of mind or freedom of intellectual and freedom of body or freedom of movement in which freedom of movement is the necessity and base for freedom of intellectual. Finally, the particularly important characteristics of ???freedom??? are reflective, social and enjoyed. The equally important theory in Dewey??™s political ??“ social philosophy is applying the concept of ???inquiry??? in epistemic into evaluating potitics ??“ society. Inquiry??™s nature is a temporary and inevitable solution which its core object is to solve the issues in theory as well as practice.
Inquirys characteristics are problem ??“ solving, historical and progressive and communal. 2.2. The concept of ???Democracy??? in John Dewey??™s political ??“ social philosophy In spite of discussing much about ???democracy???, Dewey understands this concept in many different ways in different periods with specific changes. However, when analyzing and explaining the concept of democracy of Dewey, it is noticed that the key point is applicability of democracy??™s characteristics in practical life. ???Democracy??? is the concept having quite large connotation and it is difficult to define in detail. Dewey gives over 30 different ways to define ???democracy??? in his working life and participation in political ??“ social activities. Democracy is an educational process/principle/system, democracy is an economic system or democracy is a belief, or a way to organize sociey.
Firstly, in the early years of academic career, Dewey thought democracy as a state form. Secondly, in later works, Dewey believed ???democracy??? was the ideal of community life itself. And finally, in the end of philosophical career, Dewey expanded the connotation of democracy continously.
Democracy became the spititual and moral value which need to be existed in each individual and community life. A democratic society needs to have democratic citizens. Dewey also discussed about the solution to popularize and bring up ???democracy??? as the moral value for each individual in society through education. The first requirement for educational theory associating with democratic idea is that democratic education is learning from life itself. The second noted by Dewey is that democratic education is an education about ourselves and our humanity. The last is that democratic education is to accept all members contributing to reconstruct a fairer and more humane world.
2.3. The concept of democracy and democratic society of John Dewey in ???Democracy and Education??? In Democracy and Education, the concept of ???democracy??? is developed into a way of life, a form of associating members in society as well as a personal moral value achieved through practicing and improving individuals uinique skills in education. Democracy is also each person??™s experiential process to cultivate, vary and contribute individuals??™ experience to community??™s experience. Later, the connotation of ???democracy??? is expanded and applied by Deweyt to political ??“ social philosophy to construct a democractic society with the following details: Firstly, the democratic society is the society depending on, respecting and using individuals variable and specific characters in process of operating organs of social structure. This aspect is developed by Dewey when he criticized Platons educational philosophy and analysed the relation between individuals and the world. Secondly, the democratic society always creates conditions for its citizens to work and to have leisure to enjoy the achievement of labor because all members are equal opportunity for education.
The division between labor and leisure as the distribution of value, just as the split between goals and values ??existing in former democratic societies is explained by Dewey as the result of the split between general education or thereotical education and training vacation or practical education. Thirdly, the democratic society helps citizens join in the process of controlling activity and encouraging social continuity, become more freedom. According to Dewey, the unity between social efficiency and human??™s dignity, one of which is ???freedom??? ??“ firstly, freedom of intellectual, freedom of contributing idividuals??™ experiences to expand and enrich community??™s experience, afterthat, freedom of assemble and opinion, can exist in the democratic society. Fourthly, the democratic must develop an epistemic theory acknowledging the following point: ???epistemology always includes the method by which one experience is made available in giving direction and meaning to another???.
Dewey points the reasons for the limits in implementing democracy in practice. Two main reasons are experience??™s various origin and social devision into isolated communities. 2.4. The relationship between democracy and educaion in ???Democracy and Education??? Education is necessary for democracy to become the moral value appearing in each person, country in every days, months and years. Democracy is placed in the close relationship with education, school education in detail. Democratic ideal affects on education??™s nature and content, unity between educations content and method.
In contrast, because democracy is raised as the moral value of humand and community, it is essential for education to communicate this value. Equality which is the education??™s nature affected by democratic ideal should be always ensured by government in Dewey??™s thinking. Equality in opportunity for approaching education as well as participating in teaching and learning must be considered as the most important factor of democracy. Since, only equality, regardless of labor, achievement of labor leisure as well as new intellectual abilities allowing freedom of communication and experience exchange between its members, the way of association life is established. Under Dewey??™s outlook, school is considered as laborlatory in which students experience to develop and organize the society.
School is the place deleting class division for all citizens to inherit the right for equal education. The democratic society will set up schools respecting difference between members, creating condition to enhance and use these variable capicities in constructing and improving society. 2.5. The remarks about the values and limitations of John Deweys concept of democracy Pramagtism under Dewey??™s efforts produces the social ??“ political theory in which the focus is the doctrine of ???democracy???.
It resonates, contributes the great values to the development of modern political thought. Firstly, the concept of democracy of John Dewey in Democracy and Education is the development of democracy doctrine in general in his philosophical lifetime. ???Democracy??? advanced as the way of associating community??™s life is the remarkable idea in the chain of Dewey??™s different statements (on democracy). ???Democracy??? is not the outside state ruling and controlling people.
Secondly, Deweys democracy focuses on respecting for individuals freedom of mind, creating conditions for individuals to participate in the process of sharing community??™s general interest. Especially, democracy respects and promotes difference in member??™s capacity, beliefs aims and opinion. Thirdly, ???democracy??? associating with the process of constructing and reorganizing experience can be considered as the newly expansion of ???experience??? from epistemology to social – political research. Moreover, ???democracy??? comes with ???education??? in which ???education??? is not only the way to direct citizens??™ essential characters in democratic society, but also the process to maintain social continuity and equality.
Besides the significant contribution to the development of social ??“ political thought in history of human thought, John Dewey??™s “democracy” in Democracy and Education also shows some specific limitations. At first, although the ideal of democracy as the way of association is progressive, Dewey was not put it in the relationship with temporary political institutions. Hence, his democratic doctrine wasnot given prominence and applied in a long time. Although finding out one of the risks impacting on democracy implementation in practice is the social division into isolated groups, in Democracy and Education Dewey only analyzed the division appearing due to different interests, leisure and discipline??¦He did not explain the division basing on economic inequality.
This is the serious limitation in the concept of democracy. Because Dewey propose social reform in educating democracy??™s citizens, without giving any measure of economic improvement to achieve equality in production and social products, the social reform to gain democratic society basing on education is not efficient. Futhermore, “democracy” associates with “experience” in which experience is understood as the whole life, including consciousness and processes experienced, but Dewey did not notice production in experience. This limits the concept of “experience??? in general and “experience??? in democracy in particular.
CONCLUSION John Dewey??™s social ??“ political philosophy in general and the domocratic doctrine in particular presented in Democracy and Education has contributed the great value to international learning as well as common understanding about ???democracy???. The concept of democracy is the result of the historical period experiencing the dramatic changes in all aspects of American society. At the same time, ???democracy??? associating with human education is also the result of inheriting and acquiring carefully and critically political thought of John Stuart Mill, Wilhelm von Humbolt, Charles Sanser Peirce and William James. In Democracy and Education, Dewey mentioned and analyzed the core category of social ??“ political philosophy as “freedom??? and ???democracy???. Education is necessary for democracy to become the moral value appearing in each person, country in every days, months and years. ???Democracy??? as Dewey??™s assertion is possible and necessary to become the global moral value, not just the national value.
???Democracy??? promotes discovery, communication and understanding, builds inter-cultural exchange to solve unnecessary conflicts between nations and constructs “an international democracy”. Although Dewey??™s democracy and social – political philosophy are the result of the specific historical period, their right aspects still can be utilized and applied in the continuously changing world today.The study of this concept is not only signification for cognitive theory in general, but also importance in the perception of the problems existing in Vietnam??™s society in industrializing, modernizing and constructing the “democratic, fair and civilized society”./.