John Dewey's theory of inquiry: an interpretation of a classical American approach to logic
Deters, Troy Nicholas
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During the 20th century, John Dewey introduced a new idea with respect to the nature of logical theory: He presented a portrait of logic as a theory about how organisms interact and maintain an integrated balance between themselves and their environment. He wrote many texts on what he called his theory of inquiry, including Essays in Experimental Logic (1916), Studies in Logical Theory (1903), and How We Think (1910). However, the book where he most closely detailed his theory of inquiry is in his Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938). These texts by Dewey have served as the source for much recent discussion and commentary in Dewey scholarship. Most of these interpretations on Dewey??s theory of inquiry, I maintain, misunderstand Dewey in some fundamental way. I argue that these commentators have gone wrong in interpreting Dewey and his works by failing to understand some aspect of his theory of inquiry. I illustrate the flaws in their interpretations and subsequently integrate the conclusions I reach into a single, cohesive perspective on Dewey??s account of inquiry. The final chapter presents a new interpretation of Dewey that emphasizes the role of phenomenal, contextual, and social factors in the foundations of his logical works.