John Dewey’s Logic: A Select Bibliography

Compiled by Ralph Dumain

Bedford, David. “John Dewey’s Logical Project,” Journal of Pragmatics 19, no. 5 (May 1993): 453-468.

Bedford, David; Workman, Thomas. “Ilyenkov and the Immanence of Logic,” Marxism & Sciences, vol. 3, no. 1, 2024, pp. 27-48.

I was initially disappointed by this article, but I was happy to see Ilyenkov’s lapses discussed, and the notion of entification is at least intriguing. Just as important is the author’s insistence that the application of dialectics must be concretized to specific objects of inquiry, and not left as mere generalizations, which would replicate the formalism of the traditional notion of logic. Also, I think Spinoza is useless in all this, for even more reasons than Spinoza is criticized here.

The exposition of Dewey here was initially more interesting than that of Ilyenkov. Both thinkers point to the fact that formal logic is not the organon of knowledge, as science does not progress via the mere formalism of logic. Beyond this aspect of both thinkers’ perspective, though, I am not enormously impressed. And we have to understand what we mean by logic. Is ‘logic’ coextensive with reasoning or just one aspect of it?

Take this statement: “The fundamental movement in Ilyenkov’s Dialectical Logic is from ontology to logic via epistemology.” It appears that logic and epistemology are not one and the same, but later we learn that they are. The pathway from the object to its subjective conceptualization via epistemology/logic (as one thing or two interrelated aspects) is not all that clear. I am not really impressed by Ilyenkov’s ostensibly ontological orientation. Whatever ‘contradiction’ there is in the objective material world and its alleged reflection in conceptual appropriation has to be examined more deeply than it has been. First and foremost, dialectic must posit the objectivity of the subject-object relation, revealing the dynamic interchange between the material and the ideal, and in this we come closer to determining in what sense we can posit the contradictory character in the basis of the material world.

From this article we can see how Dewey and Ilyenkov converge from apparent opposite directions viz. the general perspective of how theoretical knowledge grows from engagement with material reality. I do not see exactly how logic in the narrow sense figures into this. Logic as well as its cousin mathematics develops historically as well, in relation to engagement with the objective world but also deviating from it into its own distinct realm. We have to see whether Dewey or Ilyenkov measure up here and then develop their frameworks further as needed. [RD]

Bedford, David; Workman, Thomas. Marx, Engels, and the Philosophy of Science. London: Routledge, 2023.

Burke, Tom. Dewey’s New Logic: a Reply to Russell. The University of Chicago Press, 1994.

Dewey, John. Essays in Experimental Logic (1916), edited by D. Micah Hester and Robert B. Talisse, introduction by Tom Burke, commentaries by Dewey’s contemporaries, selected bibliography by John R. Shook. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2007. Contents of 2007 ed.

Dewey, John. Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1938.

Dewey, John. Studies in Logical Theory. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1903.

Dewey’s Logical Theory: New Studies and Interpretations, edited by F. Thomas Burke, D. Micah Hester, and Robert B. Talisse; foreword by Larry Hickman. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2002.

Johnston, James Scott. John Dewey’s Later Logical Theory. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2020.

Russell, Bertrand. “Pragmatism and Logic,” The Nation, 11 (May 18, 1912), pp. 258-259. Review of F.C.S. Schiller, Formal Logic: A Scientific and Social Problem.

Russell, Bertrand. “Professor Dewey’s ‘Essays in Experimental Logic’” [review], The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods, Vol. 16, No. 1, January 2, 1919, pp. 5-26.

See also Bertrand Russell vs William James & the Will to Believe.

Thayer, H. S. The Logic of Pragmatism: An Examination of John Dewey’s Logic (1952). New York: Greenwood Press, 1969.

John Dewey's Foreword to Paul Radin's Primitive Man as Philosopher

John Dewey’s Theory of Valuation reviewed
by Herbert Marcuse

Ushenko (Logic), Frye & Levi (Logic), Wood (Knowledge) reviewed
by Herbert Marcuse

Organized Labor and the Dewey Philosophy
by Mark Starr

Dialectic by Harold I. Brown

Evald Ilyenkov & Activity Theory: Bibliography of Writings in English

Bertrand Russell vs William James & the Will to Believe

Pragmatism and Its Discontents: Annotated Selected Bibliography

American Philosophy Study Guide


John Dewey” by David Hildebrand
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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