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The Undiscovered Dewey: Religion, Morality, and the Ethos of Democracy Hardcover – 23 Jan 2009


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Review

The Undiscovered Dewey wrestles intelligently with a central question regarding John Dewey's political thought-his optimism and holism-and defends a view that's both controversial and interesting. -- Eric MacGilvray, Ohio State University If you don't know much about John Dewey's writings on religion, ethics, and politics, this book is the ideal place to start. If, on the other hand, you think you have Dewey pegged, you should still read the volume, for every chapter will surprise and instruct. Melvin L. Rogers has provided a bold, fresh, exhaustively researched reinterpretation of America's greatest democratic theorist. -- Jeffrey Stout, Princeton University, and author of Democracy and Tradition If John Dewey too seldom dwelt on the darker dimensions of human experience and the necessary limits within which we struggle to enrich our lives, he well knew they were there. Melvin L. Rogers rescues Dewey from the brightly lit, ever-smiling caricature drawn by his critics, ably portraying him in chiaroscuro and giving us a democratic philosopher not of na ve optimism but of chastened hope. Precisely what we need. -- Robert Westbrook, University of Rochester, and author of Democratic Hope: Pragmatism and the Politics of Truth The book is a welcome and thoughtful contribution... Recommended. Choice A significant contribution to the growing literature on Dewey's religious and political thought. -- Shane Ralston Journal of Politics Melvin Roger's articulate, timely work helps make audible once again Dewey's voice in this fateful conversation. -- Robert W. King Journal of American Studies Rogers offers a revisionist reading of Dewey to recover what he considers lost intellectual and moral resources for a revitalized politics in a pluralist society... A great virtue of this work is the breadth of his engagement with Dewey across his entire, vast corpus, and the careful pitting of Dewey in conversation with contemporary thinkers such as Walter Lippmann, Hannah Arendt, William James, and George Herbert Mead. This book matters precisely because of its ambitions. -- Matthew S. Hedstrom Journal of the American Academy of Religion [Rogers] pushes engagement with democratic theory further, defending Dewey not only against such trenchant critics as Reinhold Neibuhr, Christopher Lasch, and John Patrick Diggins, but also against [Robert] Westbrook, Hillary Putnam, and Cornel West... Rogers presents his 'undiscovered Dewey' through a reinterpretation of Darwinian evolution's influence on Dewey's conception of 'inquiry,' which Rogers places at the very center of Dewey's epistemology as well as his moral and political philosophy. Rogers situates Dewey in the context of Darwin's broader 'impact on the American religious imagination,' arguing that Dewey was more deeply engaged in theological controversy than is sometimes recognized, and that this engagement left an indelible mark on later developments in his thinking. -- Jason Frank Political Theory An impressive achievement... essential for anyone interested in pragmatism and of value for anyone working on democratic theory. -- Colin Koopman Perspectives on Politics Roger's book is a welcome addition to the literature on Dewey... suitable for suggested reading on syllabi for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Education and Culture

About the Author

Melvin L. Rogers is assistant professor of philosophy at Emory University, where he teaches political theory.


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