<< Home page

Man, Society, and the State

“Man” is an abstraction.  It abstracts out the various differences between real, individual, men, like height and weight and so forth so that we can think of the essence of human beings.

Abstractions, or to use a synonym, concepts, have a hierarchy;  some depend on others, and “society” depends on “man.”  Society is the collection of men.

A respondent takes issue with my statement that Dewey doesn’t see individual men and that Dewey wants to deny credit to creative people.  He quotes Dewey’s preface to Use of the Self, where Dewey praises the achievements of Alexander.

Read the Dewey quotes in my previous articles.  That Dewey did not consistently apply his ideas is his contradiction, not mine.  The fact remains Dewey says that men (e.g. Edison, Carnegie, etc.) do not deserve credit for their accomplishments and that their wealth should be expropriated by society which really created it.  Dewey does not acknowledge that in practice “society” here means the state.

This respondent goes on to say that my views:

« are very much in the minority and ... the mainstream educated public will probably  and in my view rightly  regard Dewey as an important and positive influence on contemporary thought »

I am in the minority, but judging from the success of the homeschooling movement, the educated public is turning away from the consequences of Dewey’s educational ideas.