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John Dewey: The United States (1859-1952) (Audio Classics: The Giants of Philosophy)
John Dewey: The United States (1859-1952) (Audio Classics: The Giants of Philosophy)
by Prof John J Stuhr
Edition: Audio CD

5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable Introduction to a Great Man's Thinking, 6 Feb. 2015
Dewey is one of the primary figures associated with philosophy of pragmatism. Pragmatists developed their philosophy around the idea that the function of thought is as an instrument or tool for prediction, action, and problem solving.

William James (1842-1910) convinced Dewey to treat consciousness pragmatically and scientifically as an active objective human trait and James and Dewey insist that the value and truth of a theory depend on its results rather than its source. Dewey says that philosophy cannot provide certainty; its truths aren't perfect, final or eternal and that philosophy has to become primarily a method rather than a system.

In pragmatisms, truth means the same thing as it does in science; Ideas which themselves are but parts of our experience become true just in so far as they help us to get into satisfactory relations with other parts of our experience. What in short is the truth's cash value in experiential terms? True Ideas are those we can assimilate, validate, corroborate and verify! Truth happens to an idea it becomes true is made true by events - its verity is in fact an event a process `its verification', "Truth is made and inquiry makes it". We seek truths that are justified by inquiry - the essential difference between truth and dogma

"Human beings think, reason and inquire in an effort to reach their goals". Dewey argues that Inquiry is an iterative process and that we cannot derive the way we ought to think from some laws of logic or rules of reason. Instead our logic and rules must be derived from actual inquiries. Any deficiencies of inquiry can be corrected only by further inquiry. Inquiry can improve itself by itself. A pattern of inquiry may illuminate and improve actual inquiries but it cannot abstractly deduce or prejudge them

Philosophical issues must be framed in terms drawn from actual experience, conclusions must be stated in terms of experience and they must be verified or falsified in experience. "Philosophy is inherently criticism, a criticism of criticism as it were".

Pragmatists believe that "experience is neither the object experienced nor the subject that experiences. Subject and objected are unified and related; they are partial features within the ongoing unity that is experience." An organism does not live in an environment it lives by means of an environment.

Dewey says that "Democracy is belief in the ability of Human experience to generate the aims and methods by which further experience will grow in ordered richness. Democracy is faith that the process of experience is more important than any special result obtained"

Democracy is a way of life rather than a form of government and seeks and requires its citizens to have freely shared lives & values. He believes that philosophy is one with education and experience and that education, inquiry and democracy mutually imply each other. Democracy doesn't perpetuate itself automatically it demands persistent social inquiry, imaginative vision and courageous action.

Dewey believes we educate when we meaningfully renew social life through communication and that the success of any social institution is its effect in enlarging and improving experience. Dewey says that "the ultimate goal of education is growth"

Dewey says that we must revamp our idea of liberalisation by developing historical prospective & acknowledging that today's social conditions have made liberal's traditional theories obsolete, using renascent liberalism to reconstruct traditional liberal values in light of current social realities and actively reconstructing social institutions practices and relations.

Dewey believes that Liberalisation is made up of theories and actions that support Intelligence, Individualism and Freedom and opposes ignorance mere authority and violence. He considers that individuality is "the self-realisation and the continuous development of one's potential", that freedom is "the power to act in accord with choice". Dewey's renascent liberalism is committed to developing the social conditions that permit real individuality and freedom to develop.


The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad
The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad
by Fareed Zakaria
Edition: Audio CD

5.0 out of 5 stars The future of Democracy is at risk because of too much democratisation and decentralisation, 21 Aug. 2014
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This book is essentially about the notion that, too much democratisation and decentralisation, two beliefs that are often hailed as universally good, can be disastrous. Fareed Zakaria brilliantly analyses both foreign and domestic policy under the umbrella of what he calls "Illiberal Democracy." His analysis is both simple and convincing, and covers topics such as Islamic Fundamentalism, the decline of USA Congressional prestige on the national political stage, the advantages of an `undemocratic' Council of the European Union in Brussels and the virtual disintegration of good governance in the state of California.

Zakaria dismantles the view that democracy, in and of itself, is a cure-all for mankind's social ills. In fact, he highly praises countries like Chile and Singapore, which liberalised their economies first and their political systems later. Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman, who worked closely with Chile in liberalising their economy in the seventies and eighties, claimed the experience changed his mind about the priority of political freedom in relation to economic liberty. He says that he came to realise that economic freedom was the foundation of all other liberties.

Zakaria's argument that "The deregulation of democracy has gone too far" is also supported by the fact that, in poll after poll, when Americans are asked what public institutions they most respect, three bodies are always at the top of their list: the Supreme Court, the armed forces, and the Federal Reserve. All three have one thing in common: they are insulated from public pressures and operate undemocratically. He argues convincingly that the future of democracy would be considerably strengthened if we embraced similar forms of delegation for the health service, the environment and taxation where a long-term perspective insulated from `short-term interest pressure groups is essential. As far back as 1789, James Maddison and other USA Federalists recognised that popular government would be plagued by one problem above all else - that of special interests. Madison said `By the delegation of Government to a group of citizens, elected by the rest, it would be possible to refine and enlarge the public views by passing them through a medium of a chosen body of citizens who's wisdom may discern the interests of their country and who's patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations" For Maddison delegation was a mechanism by which to temper narrow interests and short term perspectives, precisely the problem faced today!

The "The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad" is both an enthralling examination of the development of democracy and extraordinarily timely in today's troubled world.


Landscape Plants of Arabia
Landscape Plants of Arabia
by Julian Lee
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every bit as complete as the Royal Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants!, 28 Feb. 2014
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This must be one of the most complete encyclopedias of plants, let alone plants specific to arid regions of the world, since the Royal Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. A spectacular book that is a must buy for anyone in the least bit interested in horticulture.
Rarely has such a complete study of one man's passion been compiled let alone published. A truly great and indispensable reference for all serious gardeners and horticulturists.


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