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Reading As an Active Process

A respondent wrote:

« ... reading is not passive but an active process in which we construct a meaning based on our prior knowledge and experience.  Not to say that there isn’t a meaning in the text intended by the writer, in this case Dewey.  But a reader reconstructs her or his own meaning each time they read the text.  A reader is more like a singer lending their own interpretation to a piece of music than a listener in an audience.  It’s a collaborative process. »

Let’s strip the waffling qualifiers off this post-modernist baloney.  What it really means is this.  When you read:

“This is a spade.”

you may legitimately understand it to mean:

“This is a flower.”

if your mind tends in a floral direction at the time.  Or when you read this from Dewey’s book Liberalism and Social Action (1935):

“... when society through an authorized majority has entered upon the path of social experimentation leading to great social change, and a minority refuses by force to permit the method of intelligent action to go into effect.  Then force may be intelligently employed to subdue and disarm the recalcitrant minority.”

you can understand it to mean:

“When a majority vote to violate the rights of a minority, the state may use police force to subdue those who resist.”

or you can understand it to mean:

“Oh my maiden aunt.”

The respondent says

« Dewey is not my favorite pragmatist philosopher. ...  But a tyrant, emphatically no. »

Judging from Dewey`s own words, and the above is but a sample, Dewey allied himself with tyrants, or ... Oh my maiden aunt.