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John Dewey (1859-1952), educator and philosopher: Home

This guide is a collection of resources that Ruth Baker compiled on behalf of members of the Faculty Learning Community on Critical Thinking (FLCoCT) -a year-long seminar on Dewey's How We Think (1910) at Community College of Philadelphia, 2010-11

Table of Contents

This interactive guide on John Dewey is divided into several sections indicated by tabs at the top of the screen. This initial version of the guide emphasizes Progressive Education, since this was the primary major focus of the FLCoCT seminar.  Future updates will include other areas of Dewey's prodigious thought and writings.


To navigate through the Guide, click on the tabs above to view those pages; the guide is divided into the following sections


Home: beginning page for this guide, with biographical and historical background on John Dewey


Books: monographs and reference sources on Dewey (available through the CCP Library)


Articles: online articles (via the Public or "Free Web") and Databases  (via the CCP Library, or "Fee-based Web")


Web Sites and Blogs: selected web sites and blogs dealing with Dewey and his writings


Do you have suggestions for resources to add to this guide?  or comments to make? Click on Comments in any of the content boxes and let us hear from you!


John Dewey (1859-1952)      

"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself."  ~John Dewey



John Dewey was a major contributor in the late-19th and early to mid-20th century to a number of academic disciplines including education, philosophy and psychology.  He "fought for civil and academic freedom, founded the Progressive School Movement...(and) promoted a scientific approach to intellectual development."(from Dover edition of How We Think (1910)). Dewey is also credited (along with William James) with being one of the developers of the philosophy of pragmatism and the founder of the field of functional psychology.  In addition, he was a long-term member of the American Federtion of Teachers (AFT).

Here are links to a few biographical articles (and sites) on John Dewey:

Historical Background

An important factor in our analysis of Dewey's How We Think was the historical context for Dewey's writings, particularly a consideration of what it meant to be 'scientific' in the early part of the 20th century.  Here are some historical highlights for Dewey's lifetime: the year that Dewey was born (1859), when he published How We Think (1910) and at the end of his life (1952).



  • Oregon became a state of the U.S.
  • Dickens: "A Tale of Two Cities" published
  • Washington Irving (American Author) born
  • Arthur Conan Doyle (English author) born
  • Charles Darwin: "On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection" published
  • J.S. Mill: "Essay on Liberty" published
  • First oil well drilled at Titusville, PA
  • Steamroller invented
  • Captain Francis Falcon Scott sets out to find the South Pole
  • Mexican Revolution, against President Porfirio Diaz, takes place
  • Notable deaths: O. Henry (aka William Sidney Porter, U.S. author), Mary Baker Eddy, John Henri Dunant (founder of Red Cross)


  • Frank Lloyd Wright becomes well-know and influential in Europe for his domestic architecture
  • Marie Curie: "Treatise on Radiography" published
  • Halley's comet observed
  • 122,000 telephones in use in Great Britain
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace established
  • The "week-end" becomes popular in the U.S.
  • Japan annexes Korea
  • China abolishes slavery
  • Father's Day first celebrated in Spokane, WA
  • Philadelphia (AL) defeats New York (NL) 4-2 to win World Series [OK, it was 1911 but I couldn't resist!--rb]
  • Notable deaths: King Edward VII of Great Britain, Mark Twain (aka Samuel L. Clemens),  Leo Tolstoy, Julia Ward Howe & William James (founder of Pragmatism)


  • Elizabeth Windsor becomes Queen of England
  • U.S. President Truman signs Japanese Peace Treaty, officially ending World War II;
  • John F. Kennedy elected to Senate seat; Eisenhower elected U.S. President in a landslide
  • allies make biggest air strike of Korean War
  • Eva Peron Dies; General Batista seizes power in Cuba
  • Mechanical heart first used in a human
  • U.S. dedicates world's first atomic submarine
  • G.M. offers cars with air cooling
  • British set record flying round-trip across Atlantic in 8 hours
  • Buckminster Fuller demonstrates the Geodesic Dome House
  • Albert Schweitzer awarded Nobel Peace Prize
  • Notable deaths: George Santayana, Maria Montessori (education pioneer)

[Sources: Timetables of History (1991), Chronicle of the 20th Century (1987 ed.)]


  • William Kingdon Clifford

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