Democracy and Education

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Democracy and Education  (1916) 
John Dewey
Democracy and Education
New York: MacMillan 






New York



All rights reserved

Copyright, 1916,


Set up and electrotyped. Published March, 1916.

Norwood Press

J. S. Cushing Co.—Berwick & Smith Co.

Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.


The following pages embody an endeavor to detect and state the ideas implied in a democratic society and to apply these ideas to the problems of the enterprise of education. The discussion includes an indication of the constructive aims and methods of public education as seen from this point of view, and a critical estimate of the theories of knowing and moral development which were formulated in earlier social conditions, but which still operate, in societies nominally democratic, to hamper the adequate realization of the democratic ideal. As will appear from the book itself, the philosophy stated in this book connects the growth of democracy with the development of the experimental method in the sciences, evolutionary ideas in the biological sciences, and the industrial reorganization, and is concerned to point out the changes in subject matter and method of education indicated by these developments.

Hearty acknowledgments are due to Dr. Goodsell of Teachers College for criticisms; to Professor Kilpatrick of the same institution for criticisms, and for suggestions regarding the order of topics, of which I have freely availed myself, and to Miss Elsie Ripley Clapp for many criticisms and suggestions. The two firstnamed have also been kind enough to read the proofsheets. I am also greatly indebted to a long line of students whose successive classes span more years than I care to enumerate.

J. D.

Columbia University, New York City,
August, 1915.


Education as a Necessity of Life: page
Renewal of Life by Transmission 1
Education and Communication 4
The Place of Formal Education 7
Summary 11
Education as a Social Function:
The Nature and Meaning of Environment 12
The Social Environment 14
The Social Medium as Educative 19
The School as a Special Environment 22
Summary 26
Education as Direction:
The Environment as Directive 28
Modes of Social Direction 31
Imitation and Social Psychology 40
Some Applications to Education 43
Summary 47
Education as Growth:
The Conditions of Growth 49
Habits as Expressions of Growth 54
The Educational Bearings of the Conception of Development 59
Summary 62

Preparation, Unfolding, and Formal Discipline:
Education as Preparation 63
Education as Unfolding 65
Education as Training of Faculties 70
Summary 79
Education as Conservative and Progressive:
Education as Formation 81
Education as Recapitulation and Retrospection 84
Education as Reconstruction 89
Summary 92
The Democratic Conception in Education:
The Implications of Human Association 94
The Democratic Ideal 100
The Platonic Educational Philosophy 102
The "Individualistic" Ideal of the Eighteenth Century 106
Education as National and as Social 108
Summary 115
Aims in Education:
The Nature of an Aim 117
The Criteria of Good Aims 121
Applications in Education 124
Summary 129
Natural Development and Social Efficiency as Aims:
Nature as Supplying the Aim 130
Social Efficiency as Aim 138
Culture as Aim 142
Summary 144

Interest and Discipline:
The Meaning of the Terms 146
The Importance of the Idea of Interest in Education 152
Some Social Aspects of the Question 158
Summary 161
Experience and Thinking:
The Nature of Experience 163
Reflection in Experience 169
Summary 177
Thinking in Education:
The Essentials of Method 179
Summary 192
The Nature of Method:
The Unity of Subject Matter and Method 193
Method as General and as Individual 200
The Traits of Individual Method 203
Summary 211
The Nature of Subject Matter:
Subject Matter of Educator and of Learner 212
The Development of Subject Matter in the Learner 216
Science or Rationalized Knowledge 221
Subject Matter as Social 224
Summary 226

Play and Work in the Curriculum:
The Place of Active Occupations in Education 228
Available Occupations 230
Work and Play 237
Summary 241
The Significance of Geography and History:
Extension of Meaning of Primary Activities 243
The Complementary Nature of History and Geography 246
History and Present Social Life 250
Summary 255
Science in the Course of Study:
The Logical and the Psychological 256
Science and Social Progress 261
Naturalism and Humanism in Education 267
Summary 269
Educational Values:
The Nature of Realization or Appreciation 271
The Valuation of Studies 279
The Segregation and Organization of Values 285
Summary 291
Labor and Leisure:
The Origin of the Opposition 293
The Present Situation 298
Summary 305

Intellectual and Practical Studies:
The Opposition of Experience and True Knowledge 306
The Modern Theory of Experience and Knowledge 311
Experience as Experimentation 317
Summary 322
Physical and Social Studies: Naturalism and Humanism:
The Historic Background of Humanistic Study 324
The Modern Scientific Interest in Nature 328
The Present Educational Problem 333
Summary 338
The Individual and the World:
Mind as Purely Individual 340
Individual Mind as the Agent of Reorganization 343
Educational Equivalents 351
Summary 356
Vocational Aspects of Education:
The Meaning of Vocation 358
The Place of Vocational Aims in Education 360
Present Opportunities and Dangers 364
Summary 373
Philosophy of Education:
A Critical Review 375
The Nature of Philosophy 378
Summary 387

Theories of Knowledge:
Continuity versus Dualism 388
Schools of Method 395
Summary 400
Theories of Morals:
The Inner and Outer 402
The Opposition of Duty and Interest 407
Intelligence and Character 410
The Social and the Moral 414
Summary 418

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1952, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 60 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.