1st Edition

John Dewey’s Ethical Theory The 1932 Ethics

Edited By Roberto Frega, Steven Levine Copyright 2021
    288 Pages
    by Routledge

    288 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book provides a wide-ranging, systematic, and comprehensive approach to the moral philosophy of John Dewey, one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century. It does so by focusing on his greatest achievement in this field: the Ethics he jointly published with James Hayden Tufts in 1908 and then republished in a heavily revised version in 1932.

    The essays in this volume are divided into two distinct parts. The first features essays that provide a running commentary on the chapters of the 1932 Ethics written by Dewey. Each chapter is introduced, situated within a historical perspective, and then its main achievements are highlighted and discussed. The second part of the book interprets the Ethics and demonstrates its contemporary relevance and vitality. The essays in this part situate the Ethics in the broader interpretive frameworks of Dewey’s philosophy, American pragmatism, and 20th-century moral theory at large. Taken together, these essays show that, far from being a mere survey of moral theories, the 1932 Ethics presents the theoretical highpoint in Dewey’s thinking about moral philosophy.

    This book features contributions by some of the most influential Dewey scholars from North America and Europe. It will be of keen interest to scholars and students of American pragmatism, ethics and moral philosophy, and the history of 20th-century philosophy.

    Part I. Introduction

    1. Contextualizing Dewey's 1932 Ethics

    Gregory Pappas

    2. Dewey’s Independent Factors in Moral Action

    Steven Fesmire

    Part II. Commentary on the Chapters of the 1932 Ethics

    3. Moral Holism and the Pragmatist Character

    Stéphane Madelrieux

    4. Forming New Ends Creatively

    Federico Lijoi

    5. Dewey, Kant, and the Problem of Moral Change

    Conor Morris

    6. What Exactly is the Place of Virtue in Dewey’s Ethics?

    Roberto Frega

    7. The Interplay Between Emotion and Reason: The Role of Sympathy in Moral Judgment

    Céline Henne

    8. The Identity of Self and Act: Pluralism, Growth, and our Social Interest

    Steven Levine

    9. Democracy and the Problem of Domination: A Deweyan Perspective

    Justo Serrano Zamora

    Part III. Historical and Systematic Perspectives

    10. Dewey’s Fully Embedded Ethics

    Robera Dreon

    11. Psychology, Moral Theory, and Politics: Dewey’s Mature Theory of Interest in the 1932 Ethics

    Matteo Santarelli

    12. Duties and the Ethical Space of Claims in Dewey’s 1932 Ethics

    Mathias Girel

    13. Moral Theory and Anti-Theory in Dewey’s 1932 Ethics

    Sarin Marchetti

    14. Rationality as a Moral Problem: Dewey and Williams on the Role of Theory in Moral Reflection

    Jörg Volbers


    Roberto Frega is Senior Researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research. He has published two monographs on John Dewey’s philosophy, a book on political epistemology, a book on social theories of normativity, a book on pragmatist moral and political philosophy, and more than thirty articles on contemporary moral and political philosophy. He is founder and co-executive editor of the European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy.

    Steven Levine is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He has published articles on the work of Sellars, Brandom, McDowell, and Davidson, as well as on a range of issues in classical and contemporary pragmatism. He is the author of Pragmatism, Objectivity, and Experience (2019).

    "Taken as a whole, these essays make the case that Dewey’s ethical thought can and should be placed alongside the ethical thought of other great moral philosophers like John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, and Aristotle. An important contribution to the literature on Dewey, this collection will benefit students and scholars alike. Summing Up: Highly recommended."

    CHOICE Library Reviews

    "This new collection of essays on John Dewey’s ethical theory achieves a helpful balance of breadth and depth. Taking the 1932 Ethics as its primary focus gives the volume a natural unity. Their editorial design is highly ambitious, and brings together established scholars and new voices to deliver a landmark collaboration in Dewey scholarship."

    European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy