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Continuity in How We Think


by George Stanic & Dee Russell — 2002

Prawat (2000, 2001) claims that a major discontinuity appeared in John Dewey’s thinking in 1915, when Dewey moved away from the thinking of William James to that of Charles Peirce. The change is described as a “dramatic” and “stunning about face” in Dewey’s views. We look at one crucial part of Prawat’s evidence of discontinuity, the 1910 and 1933 versions of How We Think. Prawat cites passages from the 1933 version to make his case for discontinuity when, often, very similar (even identical) text can be found in the 1910 version. Focusing on Dewey’s views on the role of the teacher, the place of aesthetics and ethics in inquiry, the form of concepts, and the generation of ideas, we conclude that Prawat’s hypothesis of discontinuity cannot be sustained. The role of the imagination did become more explicit and important in Dewey’s work over time, but Prawat fails to see the imagination in Dewey’s early work and miscasts development and reconstruction as discontinuity.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 104 Number 6, 2002, p. 1229-1269
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10989, Date Accessed: 12/14/2017 1:30:42 AM

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About the Author
  • George Stanic
    University of Georgia
    E-mail Author
    GEORGE STANIC is an associate professor of elementary education at the University of Georgia. He and Jeremy Kilpatrick are coeditors of a two-volume history of school mathematics published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
  • Dee Russell
    Georgia College & State University
    E-mail Author
    DEE RUSSELL is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Early Childhood and Middle Grades Education at Georgia College & State University. His research on the role of the imagination in John Dewey’s work has appeared in Educational Theory and the American Educational Research Journal.
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