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Crossover QueriesDwelling with Negatives, Embodying Philosophy's Others$
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Edith Wyschogrod

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226061

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823226061.001.0001

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The Logic of Artifactual Existents

The Logic of Artifactual Existents

John Dewey and Claude Lévi-Strauss

(p.449) 29 The Logic of Artifactual Existents
Crossover Queries

Edith Wyschogrod

Fordham University Press

This chapter contends that John Dewey is in fact reaching for a new mode of inquiry, whose outlines are clearly visible in some richly suggestive passages in his later work, but that this method has in fact received full elaboration in the work of anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, as a paradigm for understanding the principles of thought operative in the mythological consciousness of non-literate societies. This particular thought form, bricolage, plays the role of negotiator between the competing claims of nature and culture. Dewey's “instrumentalism” contrasts sharply with Lévi-Strauss's view of the primacy of structure. It is all the more striking, therefore, that the concept of bricolage, the “science of the concrete”, proves useful in bringing to conceptual clarity the artifactual character of tools or apparatus in Dewey's work, the products of qualitative thinking. The term has, of course, entered literary discourse.

Keywords:   John Dewey, Claude Lévi-Strauss, bricolage, nature, culture, structure, instrumentalism

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