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American Pragmatism - Literature review Example

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This paper "American Pragmatism" examines John Dewey’s writings which promoted the combination of aesthetic experiences with education to build on the concept of an idea-based experience, a pragmatic approach. Everyone agrees that education should enhance students’ overall development…
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American Pragmatism
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Download file to see previous pages Pragmatists propose that the value of ideas is ultimately determined by the end result. The fundamentals of pragmatism include “an insistence that propositions be tested by their consequences, by the difference they make and if they make none, set aside” (Posner, 1991, p. 35). When applying this concept to education, pragmatism stresses the point that the actual value of education is its capability to provide students with an ever increasing ability to gain knowledge. John Dewey’s pragmatic philosophy is specifically relevant to this issue. “The experience should be not only the means of education but its end” (Dewey, 1933). Dewey understood the role that scientific concepts play in the overall aesthetic educational experience. For example, art and music class has the ability to “quicken us from the slackness of routine and enables us to forget ourselves by finding ourselves in the delight of experiencing the world about us in its varied qualities and forms” (dewey, 1958a, p. 104). According to Dewey, the influence of the arts allows students to more fully expand their areas of learning outside their own environment. The purpose of the arts is not to provide students with a temporary diversion from reality but rather allows for a more profound understanding and appreciation of the educational experience. The arts act to transport the student “into a world beyond this world which is nevertheless the deeper reality of the world in which we live our ordinary experiences” (dewey, 1958a, p. 195).

While students participate in artistic endeavors, they undergo what Dewey referred to as an ‘experience.’  This experience, more than the physical act of performing the art itself, is at the center of Dewey’s aesthetic viewpoint.  The arts simply serve as a method for understanding what it means to sense the experience.   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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