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Faith in LifeJohn Dewey's Early Philosophy$
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Donald J. Morse

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823234707

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823234707.001.0001

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What We Know

What We Know

Chapter:
(p.113) Five: What We Know
Source:
Faith in Life
Author(s):

Donald J. Morse

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823234707.003.0006

This chapter discusses the nature of knowing proper, in which the conditions of knowledge examined are activated and begin to produce a world of known and meaningful objects. It shows how the mind builds up an entire universe of known objects out of its sensations. The key to Dewey's account of both knowledge and meaning is the notion of relational terms. The idea is that “meaning” always takes one beyond the bare presentation, to its connections and relations to the rest of experience”. Dewey argues that knowledge and meaning occur only when the self negates the given and takes it up into its own pre-existing system of interrelated meanings. Going beyond bare, isolated particulars, the self creates a meaningful whole of interrelated moments in which it can find a definite place for itself. It satisfies its deepest need to belong by constructing a world in which it does belong.

Keywords:   knowledge, universe, sensations, meaning, interrelated moments

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