The quest for certainty individualism old and new philosophy and civilization



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BY JOHN DEWEY


THE QUEST FOR CERTAINTY

INDIVIDUALISM OLD AND NEW

PHILOSOPHY AND CIVILIZATION

ART AS EXPERIENCE

ART AS EXPERIENCE


BY JOHN

DEWEY

A PERIGEE BOOK


I934

TO ALBERT C. BARNES IN GRATITUDE

Perigee Books

are published by

The Berkley Publishing Group

200 Madison Avenue

New York, New York 10016


Copyright © 1934 by John Dewey

All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof,

may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

First Perigee printing 1980


Library of Congress Catalog

Card Number: 58-59756


ISBN 0-399-50025-I
Cover design by Robert Sullivan
Printed in the United States of America

29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38

PREFACE

IN THE winter and spring of 1931, I was invited to give a series of ten lectures at Harvard University. The subject chosen was the Philosophy of Art; the lectures are the origin of the present volume. The Lectureship was founded in memory of William James and I esteem it a great honor to have this book associated even indirectly with his distinguished name. It is a pleasure, also, te recall, in connection with the lectures, the unvarying kindness and hospitality of my colleagues in the department of philosophy at Harvard.

I am somewhat embarrassed in an effort to acknowledge indebtedness to other writers on the subject. Some aspects of it may be inferred from authors mentioned or quoted in the text. I have read on the subject for many years, however, more or less widely in English literature, somewhat less in French and still less in German, and I have absorbed much from sources which I cannot now directly recall. Moreover, my obligations to a number of writers are much greater than might be gathered from allusions to them in the volume itself.

My indebtedness to those who have helped me directly can be more easily stated. Dr. Joseph Ratner gave me a number of valuable references. Dr. Meyer Schapiro was good enough to read the twelfth and thirteenth chapters and to make suggestions which I have freely adopted. Irwin Ednian read a hrge part of the book in manuscript and I owe much to his suggestions and criticism. Sidney Hook read many of the chapters, and their present form is largely the result of discussions with him; this



vi

statement is especially true of the chapters on criticism and the last chapter. My greatest indebtedness is to Dr. A. C. Barnes. The chapters have been gone over one by one with him, and yet what I owe to his comments and suggestions on this account is but a small measure of my debt. I have had the benefit of con­versatlons with him through a period of years, many of which occurred in the presence of the unrivaled collection of pictures he has assembled. The influence of these conversations, together with that of his books, has been a chief factor in shaping my own thinking about the philosophy of esthetics. Whatever is sound in this volume is due more than I can say to the great educational work carried on in the Barnes Foundation. That work is of a pioneer quality comparable to the best that has been done in any field during the present generation, that of science not ex­cepted. I should be glad to think of this volume as one phase of the widespread influence the Foundation is exercising.

I am indebted to the Barnes Foundation for permission to reproduce a number of illustrations and to Barbara and Willard Morgan for the photographs from which the reproductions were made.

3. D.

CONTENTS

PREFACE vii


I. THE LIVE CREATURE 3
II. THE LIVE CREATURE AND “ETHERIAL THINGS” 20
III. HAVING AN EXPERIENCE 35
IV. THE ACT OF EXPRESSION
V. THE EXPRESSIVE OBJECT 82
VI. SUBSTANCE AN]) FORM io6
VII. THE NATURAL HISTORY OF FORM 234
VIII. THE ORGANIZATION OF ENERGIES 162
IX. THE COMMON SUBSTANCE OF THE ARTS 187
X. THE VARIED SUBSTANCE OF THE ARTS 224
XI. THE HUMAN CONTRIBUTION 245
XII. THE CHALLENGE TO PHILOSOPHY 272
XIII. CRITICISM AND PERCEPTION agS
XIV. ART AND CIVILIZATION 326
INDEX ss’

CHAPTER I

THE LIVE CREATURE
BY ONE of the ironic perversities that often attend the course of affairs, the existence of the works of art upon which forma­tion of an esthetic theory depends has become an obstruction to theory about them. For one reason, these works are products that exist externally and physically. In common conception, the work of art is often identified with the building, book, painting, or statue in its existence apart from human experience. Since the actual work of art is what the product does with and in experience, the result is not favorable to understanding. In addition, the very perfection of some of these products, the prestige they possess because of a long history of unquestioned admiration, creates conventions that get in the way of fresh insight. When an art product once attains classic status, it somehow becomes isolated from the human conditions under which it was brought into being and from the human consequences it engenders in actual life-experience.

When artistic objects are separated from both conditions of origin and operation in experience, a wall is built around them that renders almost opaque their general significance, with which esthetic theory deals. Art is remitted to a separate realm, where it is cut off from that association with the materials and aims of every other form of human effort, undergoing, and achievement. A primary task is thus imposed upon one who undertakes to write upon the philosophy of the fine arts. This task is to restore con­tinuity between the refined and intensified forms of experience that are works of art and the everyday events, doings, and suffer­ings that are universally recognized to constitute experience. Mountain peaks do not float unsupported; they do not even just rest upon the earth. They are the earth in one of its manifest oper­ations. It is the business of those who are concerned with the theory of the earth, geographers and geologists, to make this fact

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