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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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Beyond Modernist Culture

Beyond Modernist Culture

(p.190) Seven: Beyond Modernist Culture
Faith in Life

Donald J. Morse

Fordham University Press

This chapter shows how the early Dewey conceives of the concept of a community ideal, and how he uses it in particular to combat the modernism considered as a problematic form of cultural life. Modernist thought insists on the socially detached individual, one who must draw on his or her own inner resources alone to determine how to live. Armed with his new idealism, in which the negation of one term leads to another, or in which the movement between the two terms gives them their meaning, Dewey argues for a new form of social life that relies on the interplay and continual movement between individual and society. The key to overcoming pessimism is to find joy in life in the struggle to create this meaningful world. This is the ultimate message of Dewey's early philosophy: life is worth living in the pursuit of this ideal of community life.

Keywords:   modernism, cultural life, social life, individual, society, philosophy

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