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Quotes of the day: John Dewey

Published Monday, October 19, 2015 @ 11:24 PM EDT
Oct 19 2015

John Dewey, FAA (October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher, psychologist, Georgist, and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey is one of the primary figures associated with the philosophy of pragmatism and is considered one of the founders of functional psychology. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Dewey as the 93rd most cited psychologist of the 20th century. A well-known public intellectual, he was also a major voice of progressive education and liberalism. Although Dewey is known best for his publications about education, he also wrote about many other topics, including epistemology, metaphysics, aesthetics, art, logic, social theory, and ethics. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Anyone who has begun to think, places some portion of the world in jeopardy.

Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.

As long as politics is the shadow cast on society by big business, the attenuation of the shadow will not change the substance.

Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.

Democracy means the belief that humanistic culture should prevail.

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

Education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.

Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination.

Every thinker puts some portion of an apparently stable world in peril and no one can wholly predict what will emerge in its place.

Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.

It is a familiar and significant saying that a problem well put is half-solved.

It is our American habit, if we find the foundations of our educational structure unsatisfactory, to add another story or a wing.

Just as a flower which seems beautiful and has color but no perfume, so are the fruitless words of the man who speaks them but does them not.

Legislation is a matter of more or less intelligent improvisation aiming at palliating conditions by means of patchwork policies.

Luck, bad if not good, will always be with us. But it has a way of favoring the intelligent and showing its back to the stupid.

Man is not logical and his intellectual history is a record of mental reserves and compromises. He hangs on to what he can in his old beliefs even when he is compelled to surrender their logical basis.

Man lives in a world of surmise, of mystery, of uncertainties.

Nature is the mother and the habitat of man, even if sometimes a stepmother and an unfriendly home.

No man's credit is as good as his money.

One lives with so many bad deeds on one's conscience and some good intentions in one's heart.

Skepticism: the mark and even the pose of the educated mind.

Such happiness as life is capable of comes from the full participation of all our powers in the endeavor to wrest from each changing situations of experience its own full and unique meaning.

The belief that all genuine education comes about through experience does not mean that all experiences are genuinely or equally educative.

The good man is the man who, no matter how morally unworthy he has been, is moving to become better.

The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs.

The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.

Time and memory are true artists; they remold reality nearer to the heart's desire.

To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.

We only think when we are confronted with problems.

Without some goals and some efforts to reach it, no man can live.


(October 20 is also the birthday of Art Buchwald, Joyce Brothers, and Lewis Grizzard.)

Categories: John Dewey, Quotes of the day


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