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The Gleam of Light: Moral Perfectionism and Education in Dewey and Emerson


reviewed by Jim Garrison 2006

coverTitle: The Gleam of Light: Moral Perfectionism and Education in Dewey and Emerson
Author(s): Naoko Saito
Publisher: Fordham University Press, New York
ISBN: 0823224627, Pages: 210, Year: 2005
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The goal of Naoko’s Saito’s inspired book is to use Ralph Waldo Emerson and Stanley Cavell to “revive and critically to reconstruct John Dewey’s ideals of growth, democracy, and education, in dialogue with Emersonian moral perfectionism—a perfectionism without final perfectibility” (p. 3). To accomplish this reconstruction, Saito relies on Cavell’s interpretation of Emerson in conjunction with some of his criticisms of Dewey.1  It is a very Deweyan and Emersonian project and first-rate philosophy of education. This thoroughly engaging book eventually conveys the reader to questions concerning the very limits of reason and the bottomlessness of human being.  Saito is not a timid thinker. Saito positions herself as “a foreigner” who is often received as “a stranger.” Growth for Emerson and Dewey involves forever allowing otherness and strangeness to call us out of ourselves into the actualization of new possibilities.  This Emersonian perfectionism provides a provocation to continuous meaning making in a... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 108 Number 8, 2006, p. 1650-1655
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12288, Date Accessed: 10/23/2017 7:19:07 AM

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About the Author
  • Jim Garrison
    Virginia Tech
    E-mail Author
    JIM GARRISON is professor of Philosophy of Education at Virginia Tech. Forthcoming papers include: "Dewey on Metaphysics, Meaning Making, and Maps" in The Transactions of the Peirce Society and "Food from Thought" in The Journal of Speculative Philosophy. A book co-edited with Eric Bredo and Ronald L. Podeschi, William James and Education, Teachers College Press (2002) has recently been translated into Chinese.
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