“Dewey and Lewin: A Neglected Relationship and its Current Relevance to Psychology,” by Francesco Paolo Colucci and Monica Colombo. Abstract:
In this paper, we explore the neglected relationship between Dewey and Lewin. Adopting a historical and theoretical perspective, we offer an interpretative framework for explaining why both scholars and their legacies may have been insufficiently recognized or misunderstood within psychology. Their relationship is discussed with particular reference to a common theoretical basis and conception of activity. The connections of their work with the Cultural Historical School and with Gramsci’s thinking are suggested. We hold that from this perspective, Dewey and Lewin can be seen to contribute to contemporary psychology—action research in particular—by furthering its “emancipatory social relevance.”
150 years ago today influential American philosopher, educator, and psychologist John Dewey was born. Over the course of his 92 years, Dewey made significant contributions to a number of fields. Dewey’s predominant philosophical and psychological concern was the relationship between the individual and society. This interest led Dewey, in the late-nineteenth century, to advocate educational reform and open the Laboratory School at the University of Chicago, a venue where his education theories could be tested firsthand. Dewey was also a significant contributor to the philosophical system of pragmatism. In 1896, Dewey published what is now identified as the founding article of the functionalist school of psychology, “The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology.” More information on Dewey’s life and work can be found here and here. John Dewey died on June 1, 1952.
The full contents of the short lived journal Evolution: A Journal of Nature, have been made available online by Joe Cain, Professor in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, at University College London. Evolution was established by American supporters of evolution following the Scopes trial in 1925. The aim of the periodical was to promote the teaching of evolution in American schools, while providing educators with the means of responding to creationist arguments. Reprinted in the fifth issue of the first volume of the journal is a letter of support for the endeavor from psychologist and philosopher John Dewey:
Permit me to offer my congratulations on your periodical, Evolution. They apply both to the idea and its execution. The present state of the public mind and of discussion as well of projected legislation make it highly important that there should be issued statements regarding the various aspects of the evolutionary controversy which can be widely read and understood. You have been fortunate in enlisting as writers persons of unquestioned competency and having a clear style. I am impressed with the fact that the Journal is scientific as well as popular. You are rendering a public service and I wish you every success.
Among the contents of the each issue of the journal are political cartoons, like that pictured to the right. The evolution of the human mind and its distinctness from that of apes is also a periodic topic within the journal’s pages.
With all the talk of Darwin’s 200th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species, some of us have forgotten another big anniversary being celebrated in 2009: John Dewey’s 150th “birthday.”
I have come across a couple of events scheduled for the fall months that may be of interest to AHP readers: