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[xmca] Dewey, culture, experience

On Mon, 2 Nov 2009, Michael Glassman wrote:

Hi Andy and anyone else interested

Sorry, got it wrong, it wasn't activity instead of experience is was culture instead of experience.  I'm trying to find the specific reference.


Here's from Dewey's Later Works, v. 1, p. 361 ff

Joseph Ratner: "When Dewey at long last returned in January 1951 to where he left off in August 1949, he transformed the task of finishing the Introduction into a formidable new problem."

the following is now included in Appendix I to E&N in the Collected (later) Works:

Dewey: Page lw.1.361
	Were I to write (or rewrite) Experience and Nature
today I would entitle the book Culture and Nature and the
treatment of specific subject-matters would be correspondingly
modified. I would abandon the term "experience" because of my
growing realization that the historical obstacles which prevented
understanding of my use of "experience" are, for all practical
purposes, insurmountable. I would substitute the term "culture"
because with its meanings as now firmly established it can fully
and freely carry my philosophy of experience.
Dewey: Page lw.1.361
	I am not convinced that the task I undertook was totally
misguided. I still believe that on theoretical, as distinct from
historical, grounds there is much to be said in favor of using
"experience" to designate the inclusive subject-matter which
characteristically "modern" (post-medieval) philosophy breaks

[Page lw.1.362]
up into the dualisms of subject and object, mind and the world,
psychological and physical. If "experience" is to designate the
inclusive subject-matter it must designate both what is
experienced and the ways of experiencing it.
Dewey: Page lw.1.362
	There is, assuredly, nothing novel in holding that philosophy
is distinguished from other intellectual or cognitive undertakings
by the comparative comprehensiveness of its subject-matter; nor
is it innovative to maintain that a linguistic expression is needed
to name philosophy's singular distinction. But by an ironical
twist of events which I failed to comprehend, the theoretical
grounds that can be cited for using "experience" as the needed
name are historically identical with the obstacles that effectively
stand in the way of the name being understood in the senses I
Dewey: Page lw.1.362
	The historical obstacles are now so conspicuous that I can at
times but wonder how they came to be overlooked. There was a
period in modern philosophy when the appeal to "experience"
was a thoroughly wholesome appeal to liberate philosophy from
desiccated abstractions. But I failed to appreciate the fact that
subsequent developments inside and outside of philosophy had
corrupted and destroyed the wholesomeness of the appeal--that
"experience" had become effectively identified with
experiencing in the sense of the psychological, and the psychological had
become established as that which is intrinsically psychical,
mental, private. My insistence that "experience" also designates
what is experienced was a mere ideological thundering in the
Index for it ignored the ironical twist which made this use of
"experience" strange and incomprehensible.
Dewey: Page lw.1.362
	The name "culture" in its anthropological (not its Matthew
Arnold) sense designates the vast range of things experienced in
an indefinite variety of ways. It possesses as a name just that
body of substantial references which "experience" as a name has
lost. It names artifacts which rank as "material" and operations
upon and with material things. The facts named by "culture"
also include the whole body of beliefs, attitudes, dispositions
which are scientific and "moral" and which as a matter of
cultural fact decide the specific uses to which the "material"
constituents of culture are put and which accordingly deserve,
philosophically speaking, the name "ideal" (even the name
"spiritual," if intelligibly used).

[Page lw.1.363]
Dewey: Page lw.1.363
	It is a prime philosophical consideration that "culture"
includes the material and the ideal in their reciprocal
interrelationships and (in marked contrast with the prevailing use of
"experience") "culture" designates, also in their reciprocal
interconnections, that immense diversity of human affairs, interests,
concerns, values which compartmentalists pigeonhole under
"religion" "morals" "aesthetics" "politics" "economics" etc., etc.
Instead of separating, isolating and insulating the many aspects
of a common life, "culture" holds them together in their human
and humanistic unity--a service which "experience" has ceased
to render. What "experience" now fails to do and "culture" can
successfully do for philosophy is of utmost importance if
philosophy is to be comprehensive without becoming stagnant."3
Dewey: Page lw.1.363
	Culture "comprises inherited artifacts, goods, technical
processes, ideas, habits, values. Social organization cannot be
really understood except as a part of culture." Even this brief
quotation indicates the inclusive or comprehensive summarizing
of the conditions and aspects of human life designated by the
word. Artifacts include habitations, temples and their rituals,
weapons, paraphernalia, tools, implements, means of
transportation, roads, clothing, decorations and ornamentations, etc.,
etc. They, together with the technical processes involved in their
use, constitute the "material aspect of culture." But then follows
the significant statement: "The material equipment of culture is
not, however, a force in itself. Knowledge is necessary in the
production, management and use of artifacts . . . and is
essentially connected with mental and moral discipline, of which
religion, laws and ethical rules are the ultimate source. The handling
and possession of goods imply also the appreciation of their
value." The kind of cooperation involved in production of goods
and the common modes of enjoyment of the products "are
always based on a definite type of social organization." In short,
"material culture requires a complement . . . consisting of the
body of intellectual knowledge, of the system of moral, spiritual,
and economic values, of social organization and of language."
Dewey: Page lw.1.363
	The intimate connection of philosophical systems with culture
is further clarified by the fact that "the formation of sentiments

[Page lw.1.364]
and thus of values is always based on the cultural apparatus in a
society," the sentiments and values defining man's attitudes
"toward the realities of his magical, religious or metaphysical
Weltanschauung." And while I cannot dwell upon its
implications here, I cannot refrain from quoting the statement that
"Culture is at the same time psychological and collective.""4

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